How to Save Home Energy
6 Ways I Made My Home More Energy Efficient
A few of my favorite things that make my home more energy efficient. These 6 items are, in my humble opinion, do-it-yourself weekend projects. Of course, I have been in the construction business for several years and have learned a few tricks of the trade. With the instructions that come with these energy saving appliances, I feel most people will find the installation within their ability and will be able to save home energy like I have.
Once installed, these items give years of reliable service. After-a-while, you forget about them and, without thinking, gladly except their contribution to your life and the lack of contribution to your power bill. As far as energy saving devices go, these items are simple and not too glamorous. Not nearly as glamorous as a solar array or ductless heat pump, but they are inexpensive and an important part of a total energy saving program.
1. Photo Sensor Light Switch
I have a light on the front of the garage that lights up the driveway area. Standard exterior porch light with a glass bowl. This light fixture has had the same 23 watt compact fluorescent bulb in it for a couple years.
On cold dark mornings, the bulb takes a couple minutes to hit peak brightness, but that is not a problem considering the location and use.
The best part is the Photo Sensor Light Switch. The garage light will not come on unless it is actually dark outside. I installed the small photo sensor under the roof overhang on the south side wall of the garage. It is out of the direct sun, protected, and simply only allows the light to come on if it is dark enough.
Leave the house for a dinner date and turn on the garage light. After dark, the light comes on and is lighting up the driveway when I return.
It saves energy because you cannot forget and leave the light on all day.
2. Horizontal Window Awnings
The afternoon sun can penetrate the west windows and provide unwanted heat to the inside of my home. Just when I would like the home to cool down, the sun is streaming in the windows and working against the ever humble A/C unit. It’s difficult to save home energy when the A/C is running all the time.
These metal horizontal window awnings are permanently mounted on one side of the home and provide window shade in the summer and rain protection in the winter. The paint on the awning is factory installed and has lasted in pretty good shape for 12 years.
They are sturdy enough to withstand the west wind, painted well enough to fend off the sun, and high enough that I don’t hit my head on them too often.
3. Fast Growing Bamboo
Bamboo is a very interesting plant. If you have never seen it grow and multiply, I encourage you to give it a try. I would venture to say, there is a variety to match your location, soil type, and growth needs.
Locate a Bamboo grower and go have a talk with them. You will probably find an enthusiasts that is beyond repair. The Bamboo growers I have met are a lot like car salesman.
My wife planted a bamboo stand on the west side of the house just off the patio. It has grown quickly into both a shade provider, a windbreak, and a privacy curtain. What you see in the picture began as four plants two feet tall 8 years ago.
I appreciate the quick shade and the thick windbreak and realize that both of those are energy savers.
4. Ceiling Fan
If you remove an existing light fixture and then install the ceiling fan with a light, you don’t need additional electrical wiring, so it becomes an easier do-it-yourself addition. such is the case with the ceiling fan I have over the dining room area.
This is also the area where my wife sits at the computer station during the day. By using the ceiling fan to move the air down around her, she can delay the start of the A/C.
The ceiling fan provides comfortable air and light when needed. During the summer months i set the fan so it pushes air from the ceiling straight down towards the floor. In the winter, I reverse the fan rotation to pull the air up, along the ceiling and then down the walls.
When the ceiling fan and the A/C work together, the A/C does not have to work so hard.
Notice the compact fluorescent bulbs in the light fixture. These days there is a CFL or LED light bulb for every light fixture in the home.
5. LED Light Bulb
Got the LED light bulb on sale about 4 months ago. LED bulbs are still a little expensive, but when they are on super sale, I will not pass them up.
Decided to put the bulb in the lamp in the TV room. It gives off just the right amount of light for the space. Easy to look at, easy to read by, and easy on the electric meter.
Now I can forget it, forget all about that lamp and that LED bulb. The next time that bulb will need to be replaced, I will probably have already moved to the old folks home.
6. Exhaust Fan Timer Switch
This is the smartest little appliance I ever installed. Everytime I turn on the ceiling exhaust fan in the bathroom, I am reminded how smart I am.
This little baby has some important features:
- It is digital so it is fun to turn on and off. The kids love it, reminds them of a video game.
- Pick the time you want the fan to run. Mine has selections of 10, 20, 30, or 60 minutes.
- Set it for the desire time and it turns itself off on schedule.
Exhaust fan timer switches also have some important rewards:
- Because it’s digital and easy to use, the ceiling fan is more apt to be used.
- The fan cannot be left on and run all day or night.
- Setting the fan to operate 20 minutes after a shower will remove unwanted, mold growing moisture.
- Setting the fan to run 10 minutes after you leave the area will allow the fan to remove unwanted odors and be ready for the next person.
These are six simple additions that have potential to save home energy. They will help make your home more energy efficient and more comfortable to live in. None of the six are big ticket items. They are easily affordable and perhaps nothing more than a weekend do-it-yourself project.
Thank you for stopping by Detect Energy, hope to see you again soon, but I won’t leave the light on for you…