As the cost of energy inches ever higher, homeowners look for ways to lower the bills. With that in mind, let's discuss some of the more common ways energy is wasted around the house.
- A leaky envelope.
Inadequate insulation; drafty windows and doors; air leaks where wires, pipes, and ducts pass through your house; and exterior cracks and gaps – a leaky envelope is the biggest culprit behind energy loss, so tighten things up: add extra insulation, caulk, weatherstrip, and seal.
- An inefficient HVAC system.
Heating and cooling costs constitute the majority of your energy bill. Old equipment or equipment that hasn't been well maintained has to work harder, costing you more money, so be sure to change air filters regularly, seal and clean ducts, and replace dated equipment.
- Old appliances.
Today's models are much more efficient: fridges have more insulation; front-load washers wring out more water so dryers needn't work as hard; and dishwashers have more energy-efficient motors, for example. If you want to waste even less energy, don't just buy new appliances, buy ENERGY STAR appliances.
- Phantom power.
Many home appliances and electronics draw power even when turned off – these energy vampires often have lights indicating they're in standby mode. Unplug such devices when not in use, or, more convenient, plug them into "smart" power strips, which completely cut power to devices not in use.
- Incandescent light bulbs.
Lighting may not account for a major portion of your energy bill, but replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs is one of the easiest ways to reduce energy waste. CFLs use 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs and last about 10 times longer.