Each year, the average household spends more than $2,200 on utilities alone. But there are ways you can lower your utility costs every month. And it involves making your house more environmentally friendly.
Sure, it might sound daunting, but turning your home eco-friendly is easier than you think. And once you do, you’ll save money and save the environment at the same time.
Here’s how to make your home environmentally friendly without blowing your budget to smithereens.
1. Watch Your Thermostats
Believe it or not, your home’s heating and cooling system uses more energy than most of your appliances. Though upgrading to a more energy-efficient model will save you money in the long run, the upfront costs can put a strain on your budget.
Instead of rushing out and getting a new HVAC system installed, adjust your thermostat. During the summer, raise the thermostat by two to five degrees when you’re away from the house. In winter, lower it by the same amount while you’re at work.
This way, the system won’t run as often when you’re not at home to enjoy the heat or air conditioning. Once you’re back, you can adjust the thermostat to your ideal temperature.
If this sounds like a lot of work, consider installing programmable thermostats in your house. They’ll adjust the temperature for you once you program the schedule into the system.
2. Upgrade Your Light Bulbs
Incandescent lights are nice, but they use between 25 and 80 percent more electricity than their energy-efficient alternatives. Worse, they burn out quickly, forcing you to replace them in a matter of months instead of years.
Upgrade your lighting with LED bulbs and you’ll see a decrease in your energy bill immediately. The lights are hyper-efficient, produce clear light, and last for as many as 25,000 hours of burn time.
For most people, this means you’ll only have to replace the bulbs every five to ten years. This upgrade is something anyone can do, whether you’re renting a home or you own it outright.
3. Invest in Solar Panels
If you own your home and want to make a huge impact on your personal electricity use and lower your carbon footprint significantly, solar panels are the way to go. The panels use sunlight to produce electricity that can power your home or at least lower your electric bill to your local energy company.
Since every home is different and every person’s energy needs vary, you’ll want to do your research to find the right solar setup. Read through reviews on solar kits and decide what you want to achieve.
Do you want to lower your electricity bill, but still use the power company? Or do you want to produce more electricity than you need and sell some back to your utility provider? Knowing these answers will help you choose the right kit for your home.
4. Ditch the Cleaning Chemicals
Cleaning chemicals work, but they’re hazardous both to your health and the environment. No matter how careful you are, the chemicals end up in waterways, polluting rivers, streams, and even the municipal water supply.
Instead, make the switch to natural cleaners. They work just as well as chemical-based solutions and are less damaging to the environment.
You can buy pre-made eco-friendly cleaners at most grocery stores, but you can also make your own for a fraction of the cost. Pour half a cup of vinegar into a spray bottle and dilute it with two cups of water.
This will give you a powerful and environmentally friendly cleaner you can use around both small children and pets without worry.
5. Watch for Drafts
Drafty windows and doors are responsible for a lot of energy loss. Heat escapes through the cracks in winter and cool air gets out in the summer.
Over time, this makes it harder for your HVAC system to keep your home comfortable. It runs more often and has more external temperature changes to combat, causing your energy bills to go up month after month.
Take a walk around the house and look for drafts around doors and windows. If you notice any, adding a small bit of weather stripping to the area will help keep the worst of the weather where it belongs: outside.
If the damage is severe, you may need to replace the frame altogether. You can do it yourself or work with a contractor.
6. Start Recycling
Some items have to go in the landfill, but a lot of those boxes and containers you use every day don’t. They can get recycled and repurposed into new products.
If you’re not already, start recycling at home. Most areas have recycling centers that accept items like newspapers, cardboard, aluminum cans, and plastic bottles.
If possible, schedule weekly recycling pickup through your waste management provider. If they don’t offer a pickup service, you can drop your recycling off at your area’s recycling center.
7. Check Your HVAC System’s Air Filters
Every HVAC system has filters that separate dust and dirt from the air that they send into your home. The longer they run, the more dirt those filters collect.
And once they’re dirty, it’s harder for the system to force air through the filters and into your home. This means it has to run longer just to heat or cool your home to the desired temperature.
Take a look at your filters and see how dirty they are. If they’re visibly brown or gray, it’s time to change them.
And as a general rule, it’s best to change your filters at least once every six months. If you have upper respiratory issues like asthma or allergies, changing the filters every three months will help keep more contaminants out of the air.
Tired of Wondering How to Make Your Home Environmentally Friendly?
Use this guide to take the mystery out of how to make your home environmentally friendly. But remember, it’s just a starting point. There are dozens of other ways to reduce your carbon footprint and save money in the process.
Ready to get started, but want something you can do immediately?
Check out this helpful article to see what you can do without leaving the house!