Last year, the average residential monthly electric bill in the state of Alabama was – brace yourself – $171, the third highest nationwide (Hawaii and South Carolina grabbed the top two spots at $177/month). Energy experts such as Energy Star have submitted numerous reports over the last 50 years as to why energy bills are so high and still climbing.
Although your first inclination is to blame the electric companies, however the reports confirm that at least 90% of homeowners across Alabama and other states are failing to create an energy-efficient environment. Thus, the energy use inside the home skyrockets along with the cost. The good news is, you can take some steps to reduce home energy consumption and pocket the difference in your bills. Below are a few ideas to help you do just this:
Managing Electronic Devices
One of the biggest culprits in energy abuse is electronic devices scattered throughout the house. It is estimated that by 2025, the average American household will contain 50-100 devices that are regularly used and always plugged in. But you can control how much electricity the devices use. Here are some quick tips:
- Turn off all unused devices when going to bed
- Unplug all devices that are not being used
- Upgrade to appliances that are energy-efficient
- Unplug all fully charged wireless devices and use them until the battery power is drained
Drafty Windows and Doors
Almost 30% of the heated or cooled air in your home gets sucked out through drafty windows and doors. In many cases these two primary openings in the house can be resealed and the frame around the doors or windows can be re-fitted to form a tight seal. If you have older window or door models, then a full replacement may be in order. Contact a professional handyman to have your windows and doors inspected.
The debate rages on as to what type of flooring creates the most energy-efficient home environment. The top contenders would include (possibly in the order listed):
- Tile or stone
What type of flooring you have installed in your house will largely depend on what is under the subflooring. For instance, homes built on solid concrete, will often be more insulated, because the concrete eliminates airflow under the home. If your house is sitting bricks or wooden stilts, however, you may want to go with the most insulative material possible.
Whether you’re building a new home or replacing walls in your current home, it is critical that you choose insulation with the highest R-Value (rates how much air or moistures is allowed through the insulation or walls). For instance, fiberglass insulation has an R-value of 2.3-3.8 per inch. By contrast, spray foam insulation has an impressive R-value of 5.8-8.0 – the highest in the industry. Spray foam is also cost-effective and extremely easy for professionals to implement.
Over the last 20 years tankless water heaters have grown in popularity over tank heaters. The reasoning behind the switch is that tankless water heaters use less water and are more efficient. The department of energy reports that tankless or ‘on demand’ heaters can save up to anywhere from 24% - 50% of water and electricity use depending on how much water a household uses. Tankless water heaters cost more than standard models, but they pay for themselves in only a few years.