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Easy Ways to Make Your Home Energy Efficient This Winter

Samantha Wikoff, CMA,  Regional Manager

January 7, 2021 — 4 min read

Welcome to 2021! In honor of the upcoming National Cut Energy Cost Day on January 10, 2021, we wanted to share a few best practices with you. Winter is an excellent time to review your home and make sure that you are energy conscious. Did you know something as simple as swapping out incandescent bulbs with green bulbs around your house could save an average of $240 a year, just on your electricity bill?

Lower Your Thermostat

There's no need to keep the heat running while you're away. According to Energy.gov, lowering the thermostat by 10 to 15 degrees during the workday could save homeowners between five and 15 percent every year.

Wash Clothes in Cool Water

Treehugger.com recently reported that 90% of the energy used by your washer is used only to heat the water, and the other 10% is used to run the machine. So, if at all possible, try to wash your clothes with cool water rather than hot.

Defrost Your Freezer & Fridge

Over time, ice can build up in these appliances up to 1/4 of an inch thick. To ensure they remain working properly, unplug and defrost before the ice reaches this point.

Unplug Unused Chargers

Did you know that the average charger consumes 0.26 watts of energy when not in use and 2.24 watts when connected to your phone? Consider unplugging chargers around your home when they're not in use to save energy over time. Pro Tip: Don't leave your phone plugged in overnight. The average smartphone only takes a few hours to reach a full battery.

Utilize Appliances at Night

Peak energy usage hours typically fall between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. on the weekdays. To save money and energy, run appliances, such as a dryer or dishwasher, later at night or on the weekends.

Turn Off Your Lights

This may seem obvious, but a habit as small as turning off the lights in rooms that aren't being used has the potential to save homeowners significant money. Lighting alone accounts for 12 percent of household energy usage.

Check for Air Leaks

A significant source of heat and air loss comes from small air leaks, especially in the winter. One of the most common places this happens is in the garage, where doors and windows aren't sealed well. To combat this, install a door sweep between the bottom of the door and the threshold. Pro Tip: Old or outdated windows could also be slowly letting air inside. Homeowners can choose a cost-efficient solution, such as weather stripping the windows, or replacing them altogether with a more energy-efficient option.

Go Paperless

When you take into consideration the number of bills and statements you receive in the mail, a simple way to go green would be to switch to online services. Most homeowners can access payment portals with their energy provider for a hassle (and paper) free experience.

Turn Off Your Computer

For hours not in use, your computer should be turned off to save energy. Don't forget about the accessories you use alongside your computer, such as the printer or fax machine. Pro Tip: Some tech experts recommend switching from a desktop computer to a laptop because laptops use up to 80% less electricity and run on less energy. Laptop computers typically peak at a maximum energy draw of only 60 watts, whereas most desktops peak around 175 watts.

Replace Outdated Furnaces

A furnace built before 1992 will waste an average of 35 percent of the fuel it uses. According to Green Home Guide, ACEEE recommends early replacement with a condensing furnace with annual efficiency of at least 90 percent. This type of furnace wastes no more than 10 percent of the natural gas you buy and may save you as much as 27 percent on your heating bill.

Are you ready to find your dream (green) home? Contact a Mortgage Advisor today to learn more.

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