5 Resolutions to Save Energy and the Earth in 2016
With each new year comes a fresh start and an opportunity to develop some new habits - good ones, of course! This year, instead of making yet another resolution to go to the gym every day, why not make a few resolutions to save energy at home? Not only will this help out your own budget's bottom line, you'll also be contributing to a healthier planet.
Not Using It? Unplug It
Chances are, energy vampires exist in your home, and eliminating them can help save you up to 10 percent on your electricity bill, according to the US Department of Energy. The likely culprits? Your cellphone charger, laptop charger, or your television. This year, instead of leaving appliances and electronics on "sleep mode", take a moment to unplug them instead. Or, plug in electronic power strips and remember to switch them off when your electronics are not in use.
Not Sure How Much You'll Save?This online energy calculator will help you estimate how much energy your appliances use.
Get With the Program
Heating your home during the day when nobody is around? You might as well be throwing money away. Installing a programmable thermostat and setting it to a reduced temperature when you're in bed or out of your home can lead to up to 10 percent savings on your heating costs.
Give Your HVAC System Some Love
Keeping your heating and cooling system well-maintained will prolong its life and keep it working as efficiently as possible, saving you money in the process. Make sure to schedule an annual maintenance check before the summer or winter, and don't forget to change the air filters regularly - replacing dirty filters with clean ones can lower an air conditioner's energy use by five to 15 percent, according to the US Department of Energy.
Practice Some Patience
Nobody likes coming home to a cold house, but cranking up the heat (or the air conditioning, when it's hot) doesn't actually heat your home any faster than if you were to set it to its regular temperature. Instead, you're more likely to waste energy as you heat your home to a higher temperature than it needs to be. Instead, try to be patient as your home heats up, and put on a sweater or brew a hot cup of tea in the meantime.
Ditch the Drafts
A drafty home is uncomfortable, not to mention expensive. This year, make a resolution to take on all of those pesky air leaks near your windows, doorways, and floorboards. A quick weekend of some DIY caulking, weatherstripping, or sealing can go a long way in terms of savings throughout the rest of the year, and can improve your family's health.