how you can cut your home energy costs
Healthy Living

How to Reduce Energy Costs in Your Home

Don’t let your gas and electricity bills rival the mortgage payments. Our guide shows how you can cut your home energy costs.

  1. Never overheat your house. Every 1°C rise in temperature will increase your heating costs by 3 percent or more.
  2. Heat only rooms you use. However, bedrooms do not need heating. Extra blankets should keep you warm.
  3. When heating one room, keep doors to adjoining rooms closed so as not to waste heat and fuel.
  4. Dress carefully when indoors. If it’s cold, no need to run your heaters at full levels – wear a few warm clothes and turn down the heaters. Or, in summer, wear light clothes and cotton and take some of the strain off an air-conditioner.
  5. At night close curtains over large glass windows in order to cut heat loss.
  6. Seal unused fireplaces and use a weather-strip for doors and windows.
  7. Use your home as a solar collector. On fine winter days, keep curtains open to allow sunshine to enter the house. Close both tightly at night to keep the warm air, trapped during the day, inside your house. In summer, shut windows and draw curtains during the day to keep hot air from entering your house. Open them around twilight to catch the cool evening breeze, lowering cooling costs.
  8. Consider buying awnings to reduce the amount of sunlight hitting your windows in summer. External shading is more effective than internal shading.
  9. Another way of cutting down the amount of sunlight entering your house in summer is to coat the windows with the reflective film available at most hardware stores or use reflective blinds.
  10. Plant a row of deciduous trees in front of your north-facing windows. In summer the trees have a full covering of leaves and will protect your house from the sun. In winter, when the trees lose their leaves, sunlight will reach and warm your house, cutting fuel bills.
  11. If you live in a particularly cold area, a good idea is to build a greenhouse adjoining the north wall of your house. The greenhouse will store the sun’s heat during the day and help to warm the house at night.
  12. In winter, unless you have windows that let in the sun’s heat, cover cold surfaces in your home, such as floors, with rugs or mats.
  13. If you have a timer on your heater, use it. Instead of leaving your heater on all night to warm the house, set the timer to switch on the heater just before your family rises in the morning.
  14. Use fans instead of air-conditioners. Use fans instead of air-conditioners. They require much less energy and cool your body by evaporating perspiration.
  15. Clean your oil or gas heater regularly, and keep the reflector in your radiator shining. Your heaters will work much more efficiently. Clean fan-blades on forced-air heaters at least once a year.
  16. Hot water is one of the most expensive energy-related commodities you can buy. Try turning the thermostat on your hot water system down to about 60°C increasing the temperature only when needed. Check thermostat is working.
  17. Make sure your water-heater suits your needs, and that you are not using valuable energy to heat water you don’t need. Low-pressure gas and off-peak heaters are the cheapest to run and require less maintenance.
  18. Load your washing machine and dishwasher fully – partial loads waste both energy and water.
  19. Don’t wash in running hot water. Use a sink of hot water. Rinse in cold water.
  20. If you are putting in a new hot-water system, locate it as near to your most frequently used taps as possible – the kitchen and the laundry.
  21. The wattage of a light globe does not measure the amount of light it produces, but rather the amount of energy required to operate it. A single 100-watt globe gives 50 percent more light than four 25 watt globes, for the same amount of energy. Only lightroom areas you use. Turn off unnecessary lights.
  22. Fluorescent lights last up to 10 times longer than normal globes, are cooler, and give three times the light of globes.
  23. If your brick house has brick-cavity walls, it is unlikely to be practicable to insulate them.
  24. Before you insulate your house, block all air leaks. These occur mainly at the junctions of walls and floor, electrical outlets, where pipes enter the house from the outside, and windows and doors. Plugging these leaks with caulking substance or weatherproofing will increase your heating cooling efficiency.
  25. If you insulate your house yourself, check with your hardware store for the best types of insulation for different parts of your house. Always wear face mask and goggles when insulating, as fibers and dust may be very harmful.
  26. Ceiling insulation is the most cost-effective, accessible and efficient method of reducing heat loss and gain. Check the level of insulation recommended for your climate with the appropriate State authority.
  27. The roof should be a light color to reduce radiant heat gain in summer.
  28. Insulate windows with heavy curtains and closed pelmets. Curtains should be larger than windows to block circulating air from touching windows and becoming cool.
  29. When building a home, align it so the longer side faces in a northerly direction, if possible. This gives a low, window-penetrating winter sun and shade from the roof overhang in summer. Avoid, if possible, windows on east and west, because they receive prolonged low angle summer sun, which can overheat your home.
  30. Take advantage of prevailing winds which will assist in cooling your house – with windows and air-vents.
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