Homeowners looking to save on electricity have many technologies they can use to reduce waste and improve efficiency in the home. These technologies range from simple and inexpensive, to major investments that dramatically lower, or eliminate utility bills altogether. The federal and state governments are offering multiple incentives to homeowners willing to switch to alternative sources of energy, and these rebates and breaks can greatly soften the initial financial blow.
A simple change that every family can quickly adopt is switching out obsolete lighting with compact fluorescent light bulbs. While older incandescent fixtures waste much more power generating heat instead of light, CFLs are designed to be more efficient and save on electricity. Over its lifetime, each bulb will conserve about $50 in energy. They are also cooler to the touch, so they are less likely to start a fire or burn someone.
Appliances that are Energy Star rated are an excellent choice for homeowners looking to replace an old fridge or washing machine. This EPA-sponsored program identifies and highlights the most energy efficient devices available on the market, and each one will use anywhere from 10 to 50 percent less power than non-rated models. This is particularly important when selecting a refrigerator, as this device requires much more energy than any other appliance in the home.
Switching out a traditional an in-duct climate control system for a ductless model can also save on electricity in a big way. Ductwork is notorious for wasting a lot of power through leakage, but a ductless setup doesn’t have this problem. They take some getting used to, as they operate using zone cooling and heating, but this targeted climate control approach uses less power and a single compressor can run four wall units at once. With programmable controls, this means that one room can be cooling while another is heating. While older ductless systems used to cause a lot of noise and stick out, newer models are silent and unobtrusive.
For a family that really wants to save on electricity, though, installing a photovoltaic system may be the answer. If enough solar panels are installed, the home can run without any supply from the grid. Buying the panels is an investment, but with tax breaks and incentives, the cost can be reduced by nearly half in many cases. For those on a tight budget, there are financing options available to string out the payments and make them more manageable. Once the panels are paid off, which typically takes four or five years, they will generate free power for the rest of their lives, which is decades for newer models. It’s hard to beat free, and this clean energy can be the best way for a homeowner to save on electricity if they are willing to invest in it upfront.
Geothermal systems are also a way to curtail waste, and though they don’t create energy for the home, they can facilitate water heating and climate control, which are the two largest energy expenses in the house. Drawing heat from inside the planet using piped water, this is a clean and efficient way to slash hundreds of dollars from utility bills annually.