Energy savings are a lot like germs. They’re everywhere, sometimes hard to find, and for something seemingly tiny, they can have a very large impact on their host. In buying an Attic Zipper product, you’ve taken a step in the right direction by grasping the energy savings microscope and taking a look at potential energy saving alternatives. You’re interested in saving money and maybe even helping out the environment in the process, and who can blame you. These days the polar ice caps seem to be sweating as much as we are when reviewing our finances. Rest assured, however, we at Attic Zipper are dedicated to helping your finances through simple energy saving techniques and, in the process, this big blue marble we call earth. So sit back and rest your eyes from the microscope, because the scientists at Attic Zipper are here to present the five simple ways you can save energy on your home energy bill.
1. Look Into Ulterior Lighting Options
Unless you’re a cat or some sort of vampire hybrid, chances are you use lightbulbs to see in the dark. As it turns out, you’re not alone in this. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that in 2014 alone 412 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity lit both residential and commercial sectors, which amounted to over 11% of total U.S. electricity consumption!1 That’s a lot of energy, and if you’re using traditional light bulbs it also means a lot of extra money going from your pocket to a power company’s’ bank account. Other than flipping off the light when you leave a room (which we highly suggest as a means to save energy), one thing you can do to reduce the amount of money you spend in electricity bills is to switch your light bulbs over to a more energy efficient lighting option. Currently, there are a few different options to replace your outdated halogen bulbs. Your first option comes in the form of Compact Florescent Lamps or CFLs for short. These can be recognized by their twisty shape, and are a great way to reduce the amount of money you pay in lighting. As a matter of fact, a study performed by the U.S. Department of Energy found that these light bulbs will pay for themselves in full in approximately nine months.2 A further study performed by the U.S. Department of Energy found that where each traditional light bulb has an estimated annual cost of $4.80, each CFL has an estimated annual cost of $1.20. 3 Your second and arguably best option comes in the form of light emitting diodes or LEDs for short. These are a bit more expensive than CFLs, but their benefits are twofold: they last up to twenty-five times longer than traditional light bulbs (around 13.7 years! 4), and consume less energy than both traditional bulbs and CFLs. 2 The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that these bulbs have an estimated annual cost per bulb of $1! 3 And, by the way, did we mention LEDs are super bright?
2. Unplug Unused Appliances
You’re running late to work, your kid missed the bus, and your dog just threw up on the rug. The last thing you’re thinking about is unplugging your toaster, coffee machine, and TV before you leave for a day in the life. But what if we told you that there are serious savings in taking a minute to unplug those unused appliances? In fact, experts estimate that if you unplugged the unused appliances in your home you would save an estimated $100 dollars per year! 5 We suggest plugging your appliances into electrical strips. That way, all it takes is turning the strip off to turn a host of appliances off when not in use. While the savings from this probably won’t be enough to send your kid to Harvard, they do seriously add up. For starters, a new rug might be nice…
3. Replace Your Shower Heads
You know you use a lot of water when showering. Maybe you’ve tried to calculate exactly how much once or twice, but deep down you know that you don’t want to know. You figure that if you don’t know, you won’t feel burdened with the knowledge of how much water you’re using when taking those twenty-five-minute showers. We’re about to ruin that for you, but the good news is that with a shower head change you might still be able to take those super long showers. The Environmental Protective Agency (EPA) estimates that the average showerhead uses up to 2.5 gallons of water per minute (by the way, that means a twenty-five-minute shower uses 62.5 gallons of water). Given this, the EPA estimates that U.S. water usage from showers alone measures 1.2 trillion gallons of water per year. One way which you can reduce the amount of water you use is to install a WaterSense showerhead. This will save you an estimated 2,900 gallons of water, which will in turn save you some $70 a year!6
4. Install a Tankless Water Heater
Remember that talk we had about those long showers you take? Well, what if we told you there’s still more money to be saved in the act of getting clean? On average, your tank fed water heater uses about 17% of your homes energy. Let that number sink in for a minute. 17% of the energy you use in your home comes from hot water.6 Demand-type water heaters or “tankless” water heaters save you money by only converting the hot water you demand, rather than keeping a bunch of hot water on standby. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, by installing a demand-type water heater, the average home can save 24-34% of the energy it uses in heating water. This means optimally you drop from using up 17% of your energy from heating your water to 11.22%! For a heavy water using homes (i.e. you taking 25-minute showers two times a day), you can save 8-14% of the energy you use in heating your water. This means that optimally you go from using 17% of your energy heating water to 14.62%! 7
5. Make sure your windows and Doors are Properly Sealed
Okay, okay, so maybe this one doesn’t seem simple as the others but stay with us here. In fact, this is actually a pretty simple fix. Effectively all you need is some caulk and about an hour or two to spare. It’s as simple as going around the frames of your windows and doors with a caulk gun to seal energy-leaking cracks. What do you stand to gain? Around 10-15% in energy savings! 8 See, that’s not too hard is it?
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1. “How Much Electricity Is Used for Lighting in the United States?” Eia.gov. U.S. Energy Information Administration, 16 Apr. 2015. Web. 24 May 2015.
2. “Lighting Choices to Save You Money.” Energy.gov. N.p., 5 Nov. 2014. Web. 24 May 2015.
3. “How Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs Compare with Traditional Incandescents.” Energy.gov. N.p., 5 Nov. 2014. Web. 24 May 2015.
4. “LED Life Expectancy | Electronics Weekly.” Led Luminaries. Electronics Weekly, 04 Feb. 2009. Web. 24 May 2015.
5. Brindle, Beth. “When to Pull the Plug – How Much Can You save by Unplugging Appliances?” HowStuffWorks. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 May 2015
6. “Ask Energy Saver: Home Water Heating.” Energy.gov. N.p., 24 Mar. 2014. Web. 27 May 2015.
7. “Tankless or Demand-Type Water Heaters.” Energy.gov. N.p., 2 May 2012. Web. 26 May 2015.
8. “Savings Project: How to Seal Air Leaks with Caulk.” Savings Project: How to Seal Air Leaks with Caulk. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 May 2015.