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Whether you’re concerned about our environment or you’re wanting to save some money on your electric bill, it’s a good idea to determine just how energy efficient your St. Louis home is. Solar panels are not the only way to cut down your energy usage – there are some simple things you can do on a daily basis that will save you time and money with an added bonus of benefiting the environment.
Eliminate Any Drafts
Do you feel any drafts in your home during the winter months? If so, your heating, as well as your money, are going out the window. Check your doors and windows to verify that the weather stripping and caulking doesn’t need replacing. Make sure you have proper insulation – not only in the walls of your home, but also in the basement and attic. Insulation blankets your home, keeping the heat inside in the winter and the AC inside in the summer. Without proper insulation, your HVAC unit will work nonstop to reach the temperature desired on the thermostat. This isn’t energy efficient and will take a toll on your heating and air conditioning system unless you look to get this fixed.
Change Your Window Treatments
Adding energy efficient windows to your home will definitely save you money on your electric bill, however, replacing your windows is quite costly and winter may not be the best time to do it. If your home didn’t come with new windows, you can treat your windows by tinting them. Adding a tint to your windows basically insulates them, preserving the heat in winter and the cool air in the summer. In addition to the energy savings, window tinting also reduces interior glare, reduces the UV damage to your furnishings, and adds additional privacy.
Check Your Appliances
If your appliances are more than ten years old, you may want to consider splurging on new, energy efficient ones. When shopping for new appliances, do your research and choose the ones that are “Energy Star Certified.” When replacing toilets and washing machines, look for the low flow options which will save water. Once you have your energy efficient appliances, be mindful of your usage. For example, when using the washing machine or dishwasher, make sure you have a full load prior to running it. If you aren’t using an appliance, unplug it – energy is wasted by simply having them plugged in.
Replace Your Lightbulbs
This tip is pretty simple and inexpensive. Replace all of your incandescent lightbulbs with halogen bulbs, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), or light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs. They are a bit more pricey, but they last longer and are more energy-efficient in the long run.
Adjust the Thermostat
It really can save you money to adjust your thermostat just a bit. Consider getting into the habit of lowering the temperature when you’re away from home in the winter and raising it in the summer. Adjusting the temperature by just three degrees will make a difference on your bill and you usage.
Plant a Tree
Planting trees is not only good for the environment, but it can also save you energy and money. Carefully positioned trees around the perimeter of a home will provide shade in the summer months, keeping your house cooler. If the trees you planted lose their leaves in the winter, that will allow the sun to shine on the home making it warmer. If you’re prone to evergreens, they can be good insulation for a home during the winter months, acting as a wind blocker.
There are so many things you can do to your home to become more energy efficient. Even if you’re not able to purchase the higher ticket items such as solar panels, new appliances, or windows, the small changes really do make a difference. If you can make some small adjustments to your lifestyle, you’ll be able to save some money, energy, and help to benefit the environment.