Tips for Saving Energy and Money

Moving into a smaller home is a great way to save energy and money. The only problem with that option is it’s not practical for everyone. Seeking feasible alternatives can save your pocket book and energy. Start by looking for possible leaks around doors and windows in the home. Weatherizing a home is easy, and it can save up $250 a year. Calling the power company and asking for an energy audit is a great way to start saving money and energy. Some utility companies will give you the phone number of a professional who will come to the home. The licensed professional will seal and weatherize the home for free. These professionals are paid with federal grant money from the US Department of Energy. Money has been reserved specifically for these energy saving services. In some cases these professionals will pay you directly if you refer other clients to them (around $25 per referral).

Replacing appliances with Energy Star® certified appliances can cut power usage up to 35 percent a year. Programmable thermostats are a great option, their accuracy clearly indicates temperature, every degree makes a difference in your bill. On average programmable thermostats save the consumer $180 a year. Changing furnace filters every three months can save up to $100 a year. Don’t forget to unplug electronics when they’re not in use to save more than $100 a year. LED light bulbs are another great opportunity to save money and time, they use 84 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs, and last 25 times longer.

Small changes add up quickly. If there’s a room in the home that’s rarely used, like a guest bedroom. Close the door and vents in that room until company is coming. Utilize the fans in the home to keep it cool and comfortable. Space heaters use less energy and are a cost effective way to stay warm during the winter months. Heating one room as opposed to a whole home makes a huge difference in your bill. Closing blinds and curtains keeps the home comfortable as well. Cooking outdoors, especially in bulk amounts saves energy and time. A few hours with a grill or smoker can make meal prep for the following week a cinch and lower energy bills. Let the laundry pile up until there is a full load available. Washing a complete load in cold water will save pennies with every wash cycle. If the weather permits, hang those clothes outside to dry. You’ll save money, and may even smell like sunshine. Taking time to be conscious of the energy you’re consuming, and modifying some things in the home will guarantee more money in your wallet and a happier planet.

What You Should Know About Solar Power

Solar power saves both money and the environment. Even to this day, coal and oil are still used to power electric plants. There’s only a small percentage of power plants that use alternative resources, such as hydroelectric, solar and wind. The problem with coal and oil plants is that they release harmful byproducts. Solar power avoids these problems. Aside from that, solar power is a great alternative for those who plan on saving money. However, there are a few things to know before investing.

Initial Investment

Fortunately, the cost of solar has gone down by about 60 percent since 2011. Even then, a person is looking at several thousand dollars, depending on the number of panels that they plan to get. Thanks to tax credit subsides, the price goes down even more. On average, the initial investment is around $17,000.

Leasing vs Buying

Although leasing a solar setup will cost a lot less, it doesn’t really payoff in the long-run. Having a permanent setup will save a good chunk of money in taxes every year. It will also increase the value of a home, which is great for those who plan on selling their house in the future.

Project-Completion Time

Nevertheless, installing solar panels is quite a task. Even though the installation process itself only takes a few days, the waiting period can be anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Permits will also be required to setup solar panels.

House Configuration

Obviously, the roofs of a house need to receive direct sunlight during most of the day, preferably between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Trees, hills and other obstructions will seriously inhibit solar panels from working efficiently. A few things may need to be changed before the installation process begins. Some homes may never be able to have solar panels because of their location.

Number of Panels

Before investing in a solar setup, it would be wise to calculate the monthly power-usage of the house. This will give the person a rough idea on how much panels they will need. Doing so will make sure that the person doesn’t go overboard on solar panels and waste money.