You have a nearly limitless number of projects you can do around your home to improve your energy efficiency.
Many are easy that you can do yourself. Others require great skill and either a lot of time, or the willingness to hire a contractor.
You can do small things like turning down the brightness on your smartphone. But, did you know that’s only going to save you one lousy dollar over the course of a year?
It’s okay to do if you need to save your smartphone’s battery. However, you really don’t gain much financially.
So if you’re going the DIY route, and want the best savings for your time, here’s where to focus:
1. Space Heating
This chart from the US Energy Information Administration reveals how Americans use energy:
It’s pretty clear “space heating,” “water heating,” and “appliances and electronics” use the largest amounts of electricity. Note that “space heating” doesn’t refer to heating your home only with a space heater. It means the cost of heating areas in your home.
You can instantly reduce your heating costs with ease. Simply turn down your thermostat one degree to save around $86 per year. Get a smart thermostat, which pays for itself in just months to increase your savings without noticing any difference in your own comfort. Or, just put on another layer of clothes to keep yourself comfortable.
2. Appliances and Electronics
Smart power strips make all the difference here. Much of the energy use from appliances and various electronics comes from vampire energy drain or sleep modes.
Instead of turning off entirely, your appliances and devices actually remain on and consume power when not necessary. To remedy that, you can get smart power strips that turn power to your devices off for you when not in use.
Don’t worry because these power strips also can come with outlets that aren’t smart – they always remain on. So, simply plug your device or appliance into the outlet where it makes most sense for your needs.
3. Water Heating
Forget taking shorter showers! Put a blanket around your water heater to keep your water warm so it requires less heating before use. Those pay for themselves within a year.
Install low-flow water fixtures which can cut your water use by 25-60%. Using less water means you have much less to heat, and lower heating costs as a result.
Those are some of your biggest, easiest areas for reducing your energy costs as the weather cools down and turns to winter.