How Will You Cut Energy Costs for 2020?
A Great Starter Pack to Help You Save Energy and Money!
By: Meagan Baron
January 10, 2020
It’s that time of the year again—new year’s resolutions. For Mosaic Insurance Alliance, 2020 is going to be an entirely new learning experience that we cannot wait to dive into. We are going to be creating even more content for our readers, helping raise awareness for the little things in your life that can make the biggest difference.
Saving energy is one of those causes to invest in, especially as a kick-off to a new year.
Did you know that practicing energy saving steps for your home, business, and car can…
- Save you money
- Increase the value of your property
- Result in less repairs/replacements
- Help the planet
When it comes to energy, less is more essentially. When you use less power, you are opening up the possibility of saving more money on power and water bills, as well as increasing the life of an appliance. If you are purchasing items that are Energy Star rated and good quality, your property tends to be worth more and be more appealing to buyers, resulting in a higher price value if you go to sell later down the road. Energy Star rated appliances tend to have longer lifespans, which means less repairs and replacements. Also, if you practice energy saving steps, your appliances—Energy Star rated or not—will be less likely to be overworked, which can result in less repairs and replacements as well. All these factors add up to a great overall result too: using less energy and having cleaner energy leads to helping the environment.
How do you implement this win-win situation? Well, to save energy, you can really do an unlimited number of things, but below are some great starter steps to get you going.
Below are a handful of common things to keep up maintenance on for your vehicle, followed by other common questions that are good to ask yourself. Vehicles are dynamic beasts but are not as temperamental as you might think. Learning to keep them happy is possible.
How to Save Energy Without New Purchases
A top thing that comes to mind when people think about saving energy is investing in solar panels. Buying solar panels will save money down the road, but you can start saving a decent amount of energy now without purchasing anything new.
1. Washer and Dryer:
- Set your washer machine to use cold water.
- Set your dryer to sense dry instead of timed dry.
- Clean your dryer vent before every load.
- Make sure that your dryer vent is properly venting outside.
- Wash multiple loads at once so that your dryer is already warmed up for the next load.
- Only start the washer when you have a full load. If you cannot avoid this, make sure that you adjust the setting to a smaller load to save water.
- Keep the fridge and freezer full. The fuller they are, the less energy they use to keep temperature.
- Defrost your fridge now and again to get rid of ice buildup.
- Dust the fridge coils on the back to help it keep its efficiency.
- Make sure that your fridge and freezer are always fully closed. Also, make sure that the seals for both are working efficiently, and if not, replace them ASAP.
- Take all your cooking ingredients out of the fridge at once when preparing meals so that you are opening the door less. Do the same thing when putting items back.
- Only run it when it is fully loaded.
- Instead of doing the dry cycle, air-dry the dishes.
- Don’t charge your cellphone all night. Unplug it after it is done charging before bed.
- Unplug unused objects after use or get smart power strips that turn off with a switch or timer. Even if you are not using an item, if it is left plugged in, it is using power that is going to waste.
- Don’t leave your computer on when you are not using it.
- Instead of using a screensaver for your computer during small breaktimes, use the sleep mode.
- Adjust screen brightness settings on your various devices so that they are not up too high.
- Turn off lights when not in use.
5. Keep Up Cleaning and Maintenance:
Sometimes things are not working efficiently because they are dirty, like a furnace, oven, stove burner, heat pump, AC filter, and heater filter. Other times, appliances and objects end up broken or less efficient because they were not well-maintained, resulting damages like rotting wood around a window that leads to a draft in your home during the winter…Or a leaky roof that leads to insulation getting wet. Make sure that you are regularly inspecting your home, car, and business building for any damages or wear-and-tear. And, if you ever do find damage anywhere, fix it ASAP.
- Take shorter showers. Setting a timer on your phone can help you stay on track.
- You can also use water that is not as hot while you are showering.
- When shaving or lathering your hair, turn off the water.
7. Reuse Items:
- Keep your dirty dishes down by using the same cup throughout the day.
- Having to wash a lot of laundry? Cut back by using some things more than once. For example, you don’t need a new bath towel each time you take a shower.
- Use public transportation like a bus or train.
9. Your Car:
- Use the recommended gas grade in your vehicle
- Use the oil weight that your car was designed to use.
- Maintain your alternator, serpentine belt, and serpentine pulley.
- Purchase a good-quality battery that has a decent warranty.
- Keep your battery terminals maintained (i.e. make sure they are secure and greased)
- Make sure that your gas tank cap has a good seal.
- Driving habits can also be changed to use less energy and keep your car maintained, such as avoiding aggressive driving. You can read some more similar tips in Purdue University’s two-page handout here.
10. Weather/Seasonal Tips:
- Cook weather appropriate. Eat food in the summer that takes little or no heat to prepare—like salad—or cook outside so that you can keep your house cool. In the winter, cook items that will help heat up your house, like soup and pasta.
- In the summer, use natural light over electronic lights. The sun is powerful and free. Let it do what it does best. And, if you are not needing natural light, like when you are not home, make sure that you close the curtains so that you can keep your house cool.
- HomeSelfe says that your fan needs adjusted differently in the summer and winter. They say for winter, “reverse your ceiling fan so it runs clockwise to distribute warm air,” and for summer, “turn your ceiling fan so that it runs counter-clockwise to create a cooling wind.”
- HomeSelfe recommends thermostat temperatures of 68-70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 65-68 degrees at night in winter, and to “keep your thermostat as close to the outside temperature as possible” in summer.
- Be cautious with portable heaters. They can use a lot of energy and be a safety hazard. Use regular heaters instead.
- Close the fireplace damper when your fireplace is not in use. It will help keep warm air in.
- During the summer, keep inside doors open. The AC will be able to circulate better.
11. Avoid clutter around vents.
It is important to always avoid clutter for safety reasons like injury and fire prevention, but in the case of vents, it is also important because it allows sufficient air flow when using your AC or heater.
12. Avoid having lights on at home that you really don't need.
We do things out of habit. If they are there ready to be used, you might find yourself turning them on when you really don’t need to.
13. Make sure that you have no leaks.
Leaky faucets, hot water heaters, and pipes can lead to expensive water bills and damages.
14. Adjust your hot water heater accordingly.
Maybe you do not need it up as high as you have it set. Consult a professional based on the hot water tank model you have, the type of heating system you are on, your water/heating habits, etc.
How to Save Energy When You Need to Buy New Things
When the time comes to buy new things, consider your options. What can you buy that can save you money, time, and stress?
1. Replace old appliances, seals, and structures when needed.
For example, update your window seals, replace your refrigerator, and install new insulation in the walls when you need to. A lot of outdated appliances and architecture are “energy vampires.” Also, when things are broken/warn, a common side effect is them using more energy than if they were working properly.
2. Buy items that are proven to be energy efficient.
When you are replacing items or buying something entirely new, look for ones that are Energy Star rated and/or proven to be more efficient and last longer.
3. Transition to LED lightbulbs.
LEDs are available for all kinds of things, from fridge lights to car headlights and chandeliers. LEDs have a longer life than other lightbulbs, and they also use less energy even though they tend to have a brighter appearance. Also, make sure that the new lightbulbs that you are buying are the correct size and brightness for the object that you will be installing them in. Having too big of bulbs, or bulbs that are too bright, can lead to wasted energy.
4. Use solar panels.
A solar panel house would be awesome, but there are also practical solar panels for the general population. For example, there are solar panel objects like portable power banks that you can use to charge your cellphone or other smaller objects.
5. Install weather strips for the winter.
Putting weather strips around doors and windows can help keep in the heat.
6. Get smart appliances.
You can get all kinds of smart appliances nowadays. Such as a programable or smart thermostat that will help you reduce unnecessary heating and cooling.
7. Upgrade your HVAC system.
An upgrade to your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning equipment can definitely work wonders on decreasing the amount of energy needed to heat or cool your home.8.
8. Use rugs on hardwood floors.
Having that padding on the floor can help insulate your home.
9. Install light dimmer switches.
Dimmers allow you to use less energy for when you don’t need a light on full blast.
10. Digital systems for controlling lights…There’s an app for that!
Isn’t there always? You can now get lights that not only have a controller for turning them on/off, but that can also be connected through a mobile app so that you can adjusting from your phone.
11. Install low-flow faucets and shower heads to use less water.
12. Consider what type of car you are driving.
Yes, investing in an electric car or hybrid would be totally awesome and save on energy. However, it is not practical for everyone. If buying a car like that is out of your price range, you can consider driving a smaller vehicle like a commuter car all or most of the time. Look for a commuter car that gets great gas mileage and does not take a lot of battery power, like a 4-cylender. You can also consider driving a manual car since manuals take less power and have better gas mileage on average compared to their automatic counterparts. Also, you can hold off on driving the big trucks and SUVs for when you really need the extra space. For more information on energy-saving cars, the U.S. News did a piece on the 25 Best Commuter Cars for 2019 that might help point you in the right direction
A condensed version of the information above is in this handy infographic below. It would be perfect for your fridge at home or corkboard at work. You can save and print it by downloading the file here. You can also visit HomeSelfe’s 100 Ways to Save Energy piece that has all kinds of diagrams and ideas.
How will you cut your energy costs for 2020? We would love to hear from you on social media or via email! You can reach our Marketing Manager, Meagan, at Meagan@Mosaicia.com . Also, are you celebrating Cut Your Energy Costs Day on January 10? We’d love to be tagged in your energy saving posts on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
Information for this item provided by: Energy Star, Energy.gov, Alliance to Save Energy (ASE), Building Performance Institute, National Day Calendar, Direct Energy, America Saves, Energy Sage, HomeSelfe, Energy Star, US News, Fuel Economy, Purdue University, and Home Energy Saver.