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How Do I Save Money on Utilities?

Is your utility bill gradually increasing each month? Do you find yourself wondering how you used so much energy over the course of just one month? You’re not alone. Millions of Americans are looking to find ways to make their home more energy efficient. The good news: making your home more energy efficient won’t break the bank, and it can save you hundreds on utility costs in the long run. From energy-saving appliances to smart home gadgets, here are our top suggestions to consider if you’re looking to make your home more energy efficient.

What is energy efficiency?

Energy efficiency is simply the process of using energy (light, gas, and water) more efficiently. Energy efficient appliances, for example, use less water, electricity, or gas in order to run, while energy efficient gadgets cut down on the excess energy that is being wasted. Both energy efficient appliances and smart home gadgets can help you save on energy costs.

LEARN MORE ABOUT SMART HOME TECHNOLOGY

1. Energy Efficient Appliances

Utilizing energy efficient appliances throughout your home is one of the easiest ways to cut energy costs. If you’re in the market for a new refrigerator, washer, dishwasher, or other home appliance, consider an energy efficient appliance that can save you hundreds, if not thousands, on utility costs over the course of its lifetime.

Do energy efficient appliances really save money?

That brand new washing machine that boasts an Energy Star appliance sticker, it’s not a gimmick. Energy efficient appliances really can save you money on energy costs. These appliances can work in a variety of ways, and there can be pros and cons to each.

For example, a dishwasher may indeed be energy efficient in that it uses less water than its counterparts, but one normal cycle make take 4 hours to complete, whereas the others may take less than 2. On the other hand, energy efficient appliances can be beneficial as well. The newest models of washing machines, for example, are able to sense the amount of clothing inside, and in effect only draw in as much water as is needed to wash a particular load.

Is it important to use energy efficient appliances?

While it’s not absolutely necessary to use energy efficient appliances, it may actually save you money in the long run. Energy efficient appliances may cost slightly more to significantly more than other models, depending on the brand, size, and other factors, but because they use less water, electricity, and other forms of energy, they can save you hundreds of dollars per year in energy costs. You can also apply for tax credits when you buy energy efficient appliances. Overall, the long-term benefits and savings generally outweigh the extra initial costs.

LEARN MORE: How Do I Get Tax Credit For Making My Home Energy Efficient?

What are Energy Star appliances?

Energy Star appliances are those that have received the government-backed Energy Star seal of approval. In order to receive this distinction, products must be, on average, 20 percent more efficient than traditional appliances. It is estimated that approximately 90 percent of homes in the United States now have at least 1 Energy Star appliance, and in 2017 alone, more than 91,000 homeowners purchased energy efficient appliances bearing the Energy Star seal.

Energy Star ratings are given to products, commercial buildings, and residential homes. Over the last 25 years, millions of homes and office buildings have been constructed to meet Energy Star guidelines and codes, and Energy Star and its partners have helped save American families more than 3.5 trillion kilowatt-hours of energy, which amounts to an estimated $450 billion in energy costs.You can invest in Energy Star in a variety of ways, including:

  • Clothes Washers

  • Clothes Dryers

  • Dishwashers

  • Refrigerators

  • Freezers

  • Vent Hoods

  • Dehumidifiers

  • Water Heaters

  • Water Coolers

  • Room Air Conditioners

  • Furnaces

  • Ceiling Fans

  • Light Bulbs

  • Roofing Material

  • Windows

  • Televisions

  • Telephones

  • Home Audio Systems

  • Computers

  • Computer Displays

  • Copiers

  • Decorative String Lights

  • Commercial Vending Machines

  • Commercial Fryers

  • Traffic Signals

2. Smart Home Technology

Investing in smart home technology is another way to improve your home’s energy efficiency. As with energy efficiency appliances, smart home gadgets may cost more than traditional models on the front end, but the amount saved in energy costs in just a few months or years can more than makeup for the difference in price. Here are our recommendations for 5 gadgets to invest in if you want to take your home from energy enemy to energy efficient.

5 Gadgets to Improve Energy Efficiency

Nest Thermostats

Nest thermostats have become quite popular in the last few years, partly because of their sleek design, but also due to their ability to save hundreds in utility costs each year. Nest thermostats work by “learning” your home, your schedule, and your temperature needs. If you have a 2rd floor or other area of your home or office that is rarely used, for example, a Nest thermostat can create the optimum temperature throughout the home while maximizing your energy savings.

If children and pets are not at home throughout the day, Nest thermostats can also be programmed to turn off after you leave for work and to turn on before you arrive, so your home can be comfortable day and night without wasting valuable energy. Nest thermostats also work with smart phone devices, such as Iphones and Androids, so you can program or power your Nest device remotely from your phone even when you’re away.

LEARN MORE: 3 Reasons to Invest in a Nest Thermostat

Lutron Maestro Room Occupancy Sensors

Lutron’s Maestro occupancy/vacancy sensors are able to detect when you enter and leave a room to automatically turn lights on and off when a space is left unused in order to maximize energy efficiency. Maestro sensors and systems are easy to install, and the startup cost is relatively inexpensive compared to the savings you’ll see in utility costs.

Philips Hue White LED Smart Bulbs

With the Hue smart bulbs, you can control the lights inside and outside of your home with your smartphone. In addition to maximizing energy efficiency by only utilizing lights when they are needed and being able to ensure lights are not left on in your home while you’re away, Philips’ Hue smart bulbs also add an extra layer of security to your home by allowing you to set timers for interior and exterior lights even while you’re at work or on vacation.

Belkin Conserve Socket

Belkin’s Conserve socket allows you to control the power in your home from a smartphone or mobile device, so you can ensure energy is not wasted when you’re away from the home. You can also control which areas of the home receive power, so kitchen appliances and living areas can remain “plugged in,” while unused bedrooms, bonus rooms, offices, and other areas don’t drain energy.

LEARN MORE: What exactly is smart home technology?

Evolve Showerheads

Evolve showerheads are luxurious and elegant while also energy efficient. Evolve utilizes the latest in water pressure sensor technology to balance flow rate, water coverage, and temperature while ensuring your hot water isn’t wasted. While you prepare for your shower, Evolve prepares your water for the optimum temperature and pressure, and when you’re ready, just pull the in-shower cord to engage warm water.

Ready to Make Your Home Smart?

Is your smart home actually smart? With Greenway’s smart home installation services, we can ensure your smart home gadgets and systems are set up correctly and functioning properly, so you can be assured you’re making the most of your smart home investments. Greenway also partners with Nest to install and service Nest thermostats, Nest Protect systems, and Nest cameras.

SCHEDULE MY SMART HOME CONSULTATION

3. Improve the Efficiency of Your Air Conditioner

An air conditioner is one of the most essential yet expensive investments you can make in your home. Chances are you are looking for an air conditioner that provides maximum efficiency with minimal added cost and maintenance fees. Greenway offers multiple brands of cooling units to fit every budget and preference, but regardless of which brand you choose, every A/C unit should be properly care for to ensure maximum longevity. Here are 3 ways to improve the efficiency of your air conditioner.

Routine Checkups and Maintenance

Routine checkups and maintenance are essential for ensuring your A/C unit is working properly. Even if your unit seems to be functioning normally, minor problems can become major catastrophes if they are not handled as soon as possible. Without routine checkups and maintenance, it’s difficult to know exactly how well your cooling unit is functioning.

How often should you have your air conditioner serviced?

Your air conditioner receive a checkup at least once per year, but we recommend having a technician service and recharge your unit at the beginning of summer and the beginning of fall. That way you can ensure your unit is working properly before the hottest part of summer arrives and that it’s working efficiently after months of extended use.

How do I maintain my air conditioner?

In addition to having a technician service your air conditioning unit, there are a few things homeowners, landlords, and business owners can do to ensure air conditioning units are cared for as well as possible. These include things like:

  • Vacuuming indoor vents

  • Cleaning around outdoor sensor unit

  • Keeping indoor and outdoor vents free from clutter and debris

Taking proper care of your air conditioning unit not only ensures you will have access to cool air when it’s needed, but that your entire home can remain as energy efficient as possible.

Place Lamps and Other Heat Sources Away from Thermostats and Sensors

Your air conditioning unit can only determine how often it should be running by the temperatures gauged from thermostats and sensors. Placing lamps and other heat sources too close to these thermostats and temperature sensors can drain energy by tricking your air conditioning unit into thinking it’s time to kick it into overdrive to produce cooler air. Likewise, placing fans and other cooling devices near thermostats and sensors can have the opposite effect, preventing your home from becoming as cool as necessary.

Close the Curtains

Believe it or not, closing the curtains can actually maximize efficiency in your home. During the hottest part of the day, sunlight coming through windows and doors can affect temperature readings on thermostats and sensors, which can affect how often your air conditioning units run and how much energy your home uses in order to stabilize indoor temperatures. If no one is home and sunlight is not an issue, closing the curtains and blinds can add dollars in your pocket by saving you money on energy costs.

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