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Your home is using energy all the time, all year long. There is no way to avoid it, but what you can do is help your home work more efficiently. Not only is this kinder on the environment, but it can truly keep money in your wallet! Not only is this kinder on the environment, but it can truly keep money in your wallet! In this article, you’ll find a variety of ways to make your home more energy efficient.

Get An Energy Assessment

If you live in Washington, it’s likely you are serviced by Puget Sound Energy. They are offering a free home energy assessment. You will get a summary report of how energy-efficient your home is along with useful, practical and actionable tips for improving your energy efficiency. As a bonus, you could also qualify for a lot of energy-efficient freebies! In fact, I just did this and got LED light bulbs installed in my vaulted ceiling for free. If you don’t know where to start or what will be your “biggest bang for buck”, there’s nothing to lose from taking PSE up on this offer.


Think of how many light bulbs are around your house and how many appliances you have plugged in. Energy might be one of the easiest areas to improve efficiency. There are several things you can do:

  1. Be mindful. Use natural light when you can and turn off lights when you leave a room.

  2. Change your lights to Energy Star LED or CFL bulbs. They require significantly less energy than an incandescent bulb. They last longer, so you replace them less often. And they ultimately reduce your energy bill. You can save $100+ per year doing this alone.

  3. Dimmers. These are a great way to control not just the ambiance in your room but also allows you to use just enough energy to sufficiently light your room.

  4. Motion – detection. For your outdoor lighting, consider putting them on motion detectors. Instead of being on all night long, they only turn on if motion is detected. This still has the benefit of lighting your entrance if you come home after dark as well as being a security/safety function to deter intruders. In fact, having lights turn on suddenly may discourage a potential intruder more so as they may think someone is alerted and has just turned on the light.

  5. Unplug. Appliances draw energy as long as they are plugged in. Even when they appear to be off, they are still drawing some energy. Using powerstrips that have an on/off switch are a great way to shut off all power completely. This is great for things like your office where you have several pieces of equipment – monitors, computer, printer, etc.

Water Spouts & Usage

Water is another resource you use on a daily basis. There are big and small things you can do to improve how efficiently your home uses water.

  1. Be mindful. Turn off water when you aren’t using it (e.g. while you’re brushing your teeth).

  2. Change faucets and shower heads. Things like low-flow shower heads reduce the flow of water and thus amount of water that comes out. Realistically, you probably don’t need the amount of water that comes out of your shower to get clean. A low-flow shower head can reduce the amount of water you use by half! Imagine the savings on your water bill.

  3. HOT vs. COLD. The more you can use cold water, the more you will save. Heating water takes energy, so if you can do a load of laundry, dishes or wash your hands in cold (or just warm) water, all the better.

  4. Reduce the temperature on your hot water heater. Did you know you can actually set how hot your water heater can be? Beyond just the safety issue of ensuring your water is never too hot to scorch or burn, lowering the temperature on your water heater means less energy is required to keep the water at that temperature.

  5. Tank-less water heater. Even better is to get rid of the tank altogether! This can save you a lot of money. A standard water heater requires your furnace to keep the water in that tank hot at all times. This is fantastic because it means hot water is at your fingertips right out of the faucet. Switching to a tank-less water heater means those first few minutes of your shower will be a cold awakening (literally), but it means your home isn’t keeping water hot 24/7 for the few times during the day when you need it. Instead, waiting 30 seconds for water to heat is a relatively small inconvenience compared to the energy consumption.

Heating & Cooling

Keeping the temperature in your home just right is what makes it a comfy home. That might mean cooling it in the summer and heating it in the winter and if you live in harsh climates, that can cost a lot.

  1. Drafts. Reduce or eliminate drafts in your house by sealing windows, adding weather stripping to doors, etc. This ensures that whatever energy you are putting into getting your home to the ideal temperature stays inside your home rather than spilling outside and thus making your heating & cooling system work even harder.

  2. Insulation. Make sure your attic and basement are well-insulated and also don’t have gaps / leaks. Not only will you keep unwanted critters out but these are also large areas where air can leak out.

  3. Change filters. Similarly, dirty filters make your HVAC system work all the harder to push air through your home. This is a very inexpensive way to keep your home running efficiently.

  4. Upgrade. Changing your windows and doors altogether can drastically improve your home’s energy efficiency. They can also add value to your home in the long run too.

  5. Timing your thermostat. If your thermostat doesn’t already support it, consider upgrading to a smart thermostat that allows you to set the temperature of your home according to a schedule. You can avoid heating/cooling your house while you’re at work. You can lower the thermostat at night when you’re sleeping and you have comforters to keep your warm.


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