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My Little House Design: Inexpensive Ways to Improve Your Home's Energy Efficiency

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Inexpensive Ways to Improve Your Home's Energy Efficiency

Being a homeowner isn't all furniture and shower curtains... it's about taking care of the whole house, the good, the bad, and the expensive. One of the first things I noticed when I bought this house is how much the utilities are. Before I have always lived in smaller apartments or homes and I have shared the utilities with at least one roommate. So lately I have been trying to think of ways to lower my energy bills. Mostly I have been trying to keep my thermostat at a lower temperature but here are some other things that I have done for a while, some new things I'm trying, and some that I hope to do in the future.

1. CFL Lightbulbs

CFL lightbulbs are those crazy looking swirly lightbulbs. I've been using them for years now and I highly recommend them. They are 75% more efficient than regular lightbulbs. The technology is advancing every day and so some of the issues that used to annoy people about these bulbs have been corrected (for example: they no longer hesitate when you turn them on, the light isn't blue-ish any more, etc). They also aren't as expensive. I remember when I first started buying them they were like $10 a piece and now I buy them at Target where they are 5 for $19.

2. Furnace Filters

Unless you have fancy furnace filters most filters are only about $10-20 and they will help your furnace work more efficiently (plus, less dust!). I am bad about remembering to do this so I finally put a reminder on my phone so that I won't forget.

3. Smart Power Strips

Did you know that even when your electronics are off they are still sucking energy from the wall? I'm sure you guys know that but I didn't until just a few months ago. I guess I just never thought about it. Power strips are a great way to completely shut off electronics so that they don't use unnecessary energy. They also now have these 'smart' power strips that will shut things off automatically.

4. Low Flow Sink Aerators

I had never even heard the word "aerator" before a few weeks ago. They are that little piece under your faucet that can twist on and off. A typical aerator uses 2.2 gallons per minute but they sell ones that only use 1.5 gallons per minute. So for only a few bucks you can use half the amount of water you typically use! Also, reviewers of the product say that you can't tell the difference in the water pressure. I haven't changed mine yet but next time I'm at the hardware store I am going to buy one for each of my sinks.

5. Low Flow Shower Heads

Low Flow shower heads are the same concept as the aerators, the use less gallons per minute but they feel and look the same as other shower heads. (Full disclosure this is not an image of a shower head- I picked the wrong image and don't have time to redo the whole image, but it kind of looks like one... so there you go.)

All of these things together will only cost about $50-60 and they should help you lower your energy bills.

Happy energy saving!

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