5 Things Every New Homeowner Should Do to Start Conserving Energy at Home
As a new homeowner you may be a little overwhelmed with everything that goes into managing your own household. For one thing, you now have a lot more expenses that renters don’t have to deal with, including property tax, homeowners insurance, and annual maintenance, just for example. But you also have to deal with some maintenance tasks. While you’ll probably want to hire a plumber to flush your water heater and snake your drains and an HVAC tech to service your furnace and AC unit, you could find yourself trying to save money by taking on tasks like cleaning the gutters and downspouts, maintaining your landscaping, and dealing with common issues like clogged drains yourself. So energy conservation is probably the last thing on your mind. But considering you can often conserve for free and you stand to save on your monthly energy bill by doing so, it might be worth your while to consider some of these strategies for cutting consumption when you buy your first home.
- Become aware of waste. The place to begin when you want to practice conservation in the home is with understanding your own wasteful ways. Are you the type that leaves lights on throughout the house without a second thought? Do you leave the TV on while you shower, even though you’re not watching it? Perhaps you let your computer idle endlessly, even if you’re sleeping or out of the house for the day. All of this usage can add up to astronomical electric bills. Addressing your wasteful habits can go a long way towards correcting excessive energy use.
- Unplug. Once you’ve trained yourself to turn things off when you leave a room, the next step is to stop phantom drain by unplugging. When electronics are plugged in and powered down, many continue to draw a small amount of energy. You can curb this simply enough. In truth, you don’t actually have to unplug them. All you have to do is hook them up to a power strip with a switch so that you can easily turn them off and on without hassling with a bunch of cords.
- Conduct a home energy audit. When you move into a new home, you’ll almost certainly have a home inspection first. But these inspectors are not trained to look for the same things an energy auditor will. This professional will inspect and test your structure with energy efficiency in mind, producing a report that details all the areas where energy is being wasted (through leaks, inadequate insulation, and so on). This will provide you with the information you need to make your house as energy efficient as possible.
- Program your thermostat. If you happen to have a programmable thermostat in your new home, for goodness sake, learn how to set it! When you take the time to schedule decreases in demand while you’re away at work or sleeping, you stand to significantly cut the energy required for heating and cooling your home, lowering your bills in the process.
- Get on board with Energy Star. There are things you should know when replacing your AC, furnace, refrigerator, and other appliances, such as the size of space these models will fit in, the capacity they offer your household, and of course, the cost to own and operate them. Energy Star takes some of the burden of knowledge off your plate by giving their seal of approval to nearly everything that can affect the energy efficiency of your home, including appliances, electronics, light bulbs, windows, doors, and roofing, just for example. They take the guess work out of upgrading to the most energy-efficient products.
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