My Natures Treasures

Lower Heating Bills With Energy Saving Devices

Once you've had a home energy audit done, you'll be thinking about renovations and purchases based on energy saving. While nothing beats in-depth insulating, buying new windows, weather stripping and caulking air leaks, or investing in a new furnace, there are many smaller changes you can do today that will conserve electricity. For instance, you can buy Energy Star appliances, energy monitors, direct energy and indirect energy saving devices.

The first step toward energy saving comes with a realistic assessment of your home's energy use and where changes can be made. Meters and monitors will show you how much energy you're using -- and, in the end, how much energy you've saved. Thermometers are perhaps the simplest of the home energy saving devices. Thermometers help you measure the temperature of your refrigerator, freezer, water heater and various rooms of the house. If you're having trouble finding the drafts in your home, try using an infrared heat gun to show you an instant temperature reading wherever you point your gun. Your electrical meter and gas meter can also reveal a lot about your energy usage. If you record the data each day, you may see patterns of spikes or declines which will help you determine what might be wasting energy in your home.

The next step in your quest to save energy is to invest in some direct power conserving devices for the home. Programmable thermostats can save up to 1% of your energy costs for every degree you turn down the heat or turn up the air conditioning for an eight hour period each day, states the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy agency of the US government. For instance, if you dropped the thermostat from 68 to 61 from 9 am - 5 pm while you're at work, you can cut your heating costs by 7%. Your thermostat will let you automatically time when these temperature changes take place, so you won't even have to think about it.

Smart Power Strips are another one of the great ways to save electricity. For $35, you could divide your electricity uses into three sections: the control outlet, one or more hot outlets and one or more switched outlets. For example, you can plug your desktop computer into the control outlet, the cable modem and router into the constant hot outlet and all the other devices (printers, speakers, etc) into an easy on/off switch outlet.

You can also find energy saving as a secondary feature of many household products. For instance, a dimmer switch is intended to offer homeowners more versatile lighting in their homes. Yet, it also can also save the life of your lightbulbs and cost you a little less on your electric bills. Of course, fluorescent lights are better at saving you money, but do not have as much ambiance. Similarly, automatic timers on pool pumps, computers and other appliances are designed to turn devices on or off, but these also save on your power consumption. Timers can also be found on bathroom fans, which may be programmed to run for a set period of time after your shower but not all day long. Motion lights function as wonderful power saving devices by providing you with light only when you need it. Power bars protect your equipment from damage during power spikes, but will also cut off all power to your devices with the flip of a switch.


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