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Energy Efficiency Tips for Your Home without Breaking the Piggy Bank

As temperatures soar in Houston, so do our utility bills.  When I was a child, my grandfather was conscientious about wasting energy and constantly reminded us to “turn off the light when you aren’t in the room” and “shut the refrigerator door when you get what you want”. These may seem like small details, but there was a time when we not only worried about every penny spent, but we also worried about running out of energy at one point.

I think we have discovered that we will probably not run out of energy any time soon, but we should all be aware of energy efficiency, not just for our pocket books, but also the planet. “A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned”. Why throw those pennies away when they can go into a savings account? Below are some economical tips to help make your home more energy efficient and save you some “pennies” this summer:

  • Add ceiling fans to every room.
  • Replace air filters regularly-when dirty, your AC has to work harder to cool your home, and can even stop working, costing you even more $$.
  • Install a programmable thermostat so that the temperature adjusts to 75-78 degrees when no one is home. This can save you 10% on your cooling costs.
  • Change light bulbs to LED– the average household dedicates 11% of it’s energy costs to lighting and this small change can save you 50%-70% on your lighting bill. Better yet, use natural light!
  • Add insulation to your attic. Over time, the insulation in our attic loses efficiency and volume. You can purchase batt insulation at your local hardware store and install yourself. You should have 10 to 14 inches of insulation in your attic.
  • Use electronics responsibly. Refrigerators and freezers should not be near a stove, direct sunlight, or in the garage. Most of us put an extra refrigerator or freezer in the garage, and this is one of our largest energy suckers. Also unplug phones and computers when not charging. Get in the habit of turning off all electronics, including your computers when not in use. Electronics and appliances consume 20% of our electric costs.
  • Cook smart! An enormous amount of energy is wasted when cooking. Use lids to cook faster and put pans on the proper size burners. Try not to use your oven during the heat of the day. Better yet, barbecue on the grill during the summer.
  • Change the way you do laundry. Only wash when you have a full load, and clean your lint trap every time. This will not only prevent a fire, but also help your dryer to work more efficiently.     
  • Seal and insulate your home. Your local energy provider may send an auditor to your house to help determine leakages in your home. The most common leakages occur here:
  • electrical receptacles/outlets;
  • mail slots;
  • around pipes and wires;
  • wall- or window-mounted air conditioners;
  • attic hatches;
  • fireplace dampers;
  • inadequate weather-stripping around doors;
  • baseboards;
  • window frames; and
  • switch plates.

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