Thursday, 8 October 2015

How to Save Water and Energy - 15 Cost Effective Ways

There are many things that you can do to save energy that will pay you back very quickly, some within just a few months. Here are fifteen energy saving products and strategies that will save you hundreds of dollars every year.

1.      Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL's): Replace any incandescent bulb in your house that you use ½ hour or more per day immediately. These will pay for themselves in a year or less, that's at least a 100% return on your investment. Replace the remaining incandescent bulbs as they burn out. Two words of caution: many CFL's don't work too well in cold or wet locations, and CFL's contain mercury, so dispose of the burned out ones properly.

2.      Weatherize Your House: Plug all the cracks in the exterior walls of your house, they can be found around doors & windows, pipes & wires that poke through the wall, and between different siding materials. Also seal all of the outlets, switches and light fixtures that are in any exterior walls or ceilings below an attic. There are a multitude of products that can be used to accomplish this: weather stripping, door sweeps, sealant, foam insulation, outlet and switch gaskets, and aluminum tape, to name several.  is a little more complicated, foam insulation is an additional choice here. In your basement, fiberglass batts are typically the insulation of choice.

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3.      Insulate, insulate, insulate: Walls, attics and basements should all have adequate insulation. Adding insulation to your walls and attic is one of the most cost effective ways to save energy. First determine how much insulation is recommended in your area, and then add insulation to your attic, walls and then basement to the recommended levels. Fiberglass and cellulose are two of the best insulation choices for your attic. Determining the correct insulation for your walls

4.      Light up the Night: LED (Light Emitting Diode) nightlights are the most cost effective way to add a little bit of light in just the right places throughout your home. LED bulbs are about 10 times more efficient than incandescent bulbs and 50% more efficient than fluorescent bulbs. By using LED nightlights you can turn off many of the lights that you might leave on so that you can safely walk around your house at night. Consider using a couple of 1 watt night lights instead of a 10 watt fixture.

5.      Programmable Thermostat: Turning down the thermostat every night in the winter, turning it up in the morning, down again while you are gone at work and up again when you get home is a great way to save on you heating bills, but can become a real hassle. It's easy to forget to adjust it, and even when you do remember, it's a bit chilly in the morning when you wake up. A programmable thermostat will remember to adjust the thermostat for you, and can be set to warm things up a little before you have to get up in the morning. Programmable thermostats: saving energy made easy.

6.      Low-Flow Showerheads: Not only will you save water with these water misers, but you will save the energy that heats the water for a double savings on your utility bills.

7.      Water Heater Insulation: Another thing that you should consider insulating is your hot water heater, especially if it is warm to the touch.

8.      Solar Lighting: Install a few miniature photovoltaic systems to provide accent light in your garden and security lights where needed. Solar powered fixtures have made great strides lately with the advances in battery, LED and solar panel technologies. The increased efficiency of the collectors, smaller size of the batteries and the increased bulb life and output of LED lamps and the decrease in cost of all three will allow the solar powered lights of today to shine brighter and longer than those made just a few years ago.

9.      Window Fans: You may want to consider a Window Fan to cool your house during the night when the temperatures are significantly lower than they are in the day.  Many times your house or apartment can be cooled off to such an extent that you can close your windows in the morning and the temperature inside will stay quite comfortable for most if not all of the day.  Window fans create a great cool breeze throughout the house and can even lower the temperature inside lower than an air conditioner would.

10.  Clothes Dryer Heat: There is a handy gadget available that attaches to your dryer vent and directs the warm humid air from your electric clothes dryer back into your laundry room instead of outside through the dryer vent.  It has a screen that is easy to clean and a movable damper so that the hot air can be directed outside during the cooling season.

11.  Radiant Insulation: More than half of the heat lost up through your roof in the winter and that comes down into your house in the summer is radiant (infrared) heat.  Traditional fiberglass bat and cellulose insulation work well to slow conductive and convective heat flow, but don't do much to stem the radiant heat flow.  Radiant insulation reflects the heat back down into your house in the winter and back up through the roof in the summer so that it never has the chance to heat up your attic.  Hence, it keeps your attic much cooler in summer and warmer in winter, greatly reducing the difference in temperature between the inside of your house and the attic and in the size of your energy bills both in summer and winter.

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12.  Drip Irrigation System: Spraying water all over an entire garden might simulate natural rainfall, but it is not the most efficient way to water your plants. Drip irrigation is a method of watering plants by which pipes and/or hoses are run through the garden and emitters or holes in the hoses for water to leak out are placed at the bases of the plants. This way, water is delivered only where it is needed, at the roots. Very little water is wasted through evaporation and none should run down your driveway and make it into the local storm sewer. These systems are very inexpensive and fairly easy to install.

13.  Furnace Filter Whistle: Not only will a dirty furnace filter reduce your furnaces efficiency, it will also increase the wear and tear on your furnace.  Thus, it pays to replace your furnace regularly, but when should you change your filter?  Some say that you should change it once a month, others say once a quarter.  Regardless of how often, it is very easy to forget.  A Furnace Filter Whistle takes away all of the guess work, and remembering by telling you when your filter needs to be replaced.

14.  Space Heater: In the cold of winter it's great to feel warm and cozy, but you don't have to turn up the thermostat and heat your entire house.  Use a space heater or two to heat the few spaces that you are actually using and save on your heating bills.

15.  Hot Water Pipe Insulation: With this strategy you can save energy and water.  Pre-slit foam insulation is easy to install, just cut it to length and fasten in place with a little duct tape.  By insulating your hot water pipes you will not have to wait as long for hot water to reach the faucet and you can also make sure your pipes don't freeze in your unheated crawl space.

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