Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Decrease Your Energy, Increase Your Savings


Decreasing your energy may not sound like much fun, but when you’re talking about the energy you use in your home, you could save a lot by cutting back on your consumption. And not only will you see a positive effect when it comes to your utility bill, you’ll also be doing your part to reduce your carbon footprint. But how do you go about cutting down on the electricity you’re using in your home? Are there ways to stop altogether? Will you have to spend a lot of money for upgrades and installations in order to secure these savings? These are all valid questions that need to be addressed before you can go ahead with slashing your energy usage (and the cost that comes with it). Here are a few helpful hints to get you on your way.

For starters, you need to assess how you’re using energy and where it’s being wasted. You should think about having an energy audit done. Often, your utility provider has technicians that can come to your house and test for leaks around doors, windows, and other potential problem areas and then give you a full report. You can also contact an independent company to secure this service, and many will fix any problems they find (if you so desire). Of course, you may be able to do the same thing on your own. You can check for leakage of air around doors and windows yourself by shining a light around the seams and having someone else see if there is any bleed-through. If there is, you might want to consider installing some weather stripping (which is pretty simple and inexpensive). Other problem areas, such as insulation around walls and pipes, may be harder to check on your own (and repair).

And you can always cut down on heating and air-conditioning costs by using a little common sense. Set the timer on your thermostat to power off when you’re not going to be home. And during extreme weather, take measures that will allow you to moderate the temperature. For cold weather, throw on a sweater. And when it gets warm, open the windows to let in a breeze (unless it is unbearably hot, in which case you should shut windows and curtains to keep the house cooler). You can also consider creative landscaping. Trees can provide shade in the summer and act as a wind-break against winter gales.

As for other areas, you can almost certainly cut back on lighting costs by relying on natural light as much as possible (and installing energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs, or CFLs). Old appliances can be replaced with energy-star models and you can look into a tankless water heater that only needs energy when you’re using hot water. And cut phantom drain (the energy your electronics are sucking up even when powered off) by attaching power cables to one easy-to-unplug power strip.

If you want to go all out, you can even look into alternative sources of energy. Solar, wind, water, and geothermal power are all options, although you will likely have to install some pretty expensive equipment to harness them. However, government rebates and tax breaks will help to recoup some of your initial cost. And the fact that you have no electricity bill to pay each month (not to mention the excess power you can sell back to the grid) will have you earning money from your green energy choices before long.



Kyle Simpson writes for Southern States, the quality name in high voltage switching. Whether you are in need of high voltage disconnect switches, power fuses, or anything for your electrical power transmission and distribution needs, Southern States will tailor a custom solution for you .
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