Now is the perfect time to assess your home’s energy efficiency. An energy-efficient home can keep your family comfortable, save you money and make your home more attractive to buyers when you sell. Whether you take simple steps or make larger investments, you’ll likely decrease your average utility bill. Over time, those savings will automatically put money back in your pocket — and could end up paying for the cost of improvements.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, more than 113 million residences in America collectively use an estimated 22 percent of the country’s energy. Unfortunately, energy is often wasted through leaky windows or ducts, old appliances or inefficient heating and cooling systems. That wasted energy means we are throwing away money that could be used for other things. Here are some tips on saving money and energy at home.
• Install a programmable thermostat to lower utility bills and manage your heating and cooling systems efficiently.
• Air dry dishes instead of using your dishwasher’s drying cycle. Similarly, air dry clothing.
• Turn things off when you are not in the room such as lights, TVs, entertainment systems and your computer.
• Plug home electronics, such as TVs and DVD players, into power strips. Turn the power strips off when the equipment is not in use. TVs and DVDs in standby mode still use several watts of power.
• Lower the thermostat on your water heater to 120 degrees F.
• Take short showers instead of baths and use low-flow showerheads for additional energy savings.
• Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes.
• Check to see that windows and doors are closed when heating or cooling your home.
• Look for the ENERGY STAR® label on light bulbs, home appliances, electronics and other products. ENERGY STAR products meet strict efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.
• Check with your energy company to see if it offers home energy audits. MidAmerican Energy offers customers a free HomeCheck energy assessment which analyzes various features of your home, including: building construction and tightness, heating and cooling systems, kitchen and laundry appliances, lighting, water heating equipment, windows and doors and insulation levels. In addition, the energy expert may install certain energy-saving items at no cost including programmable thermostat, faucet aerators, ENERGY STAR®-qualified CFLs or LEDs, energy-efficient showerhead, pipe insulation, water heater blanket and smart power strip. Visit www.midamericanenergy.com to inquire about a home energy audit.
Visit www.energysavers.gov for more energy-saving ideas.
Information provided by Webster City Federal Savings Bank, 820 Des Moines St., Webster City, 515-832-3071, www.webcityfed.com.