Homeowners across the country are concerned about the cost of energy and their impact on the environment. Unfortunately, everyday habits can get in the way of living a greener, more energy-efficient lifestyle. Fixr.com surveyed 14 home sustainability experts, and they identified three of the most common energy-wasting mistakes homeowners make and what you can do about them.
1. Leaving lights and devices on when you don't need them
This should be a no-brainer, but it's an easy habit to fall into — leaving lights on in empty rooms or leaving the TV on when no one is watching. Start by making a concerted effort to shut things off when you're not using them and unplug devices that don't need to be on. Here are some low-cost upgrades that can help:
- Install smart bulbs, which allow you to control lights remotely using a smartphone app or voice assistant.
- Use occupancy or motion sensors to automatically turn lights off and on in areas with varying occupancies, such as closets, work rooms or the garage.
2. Using too much water
Careless water habits not only waste water but the energy used to heat that water, too. Simple conservation measures include taking shorter showers, scraping dishes instead of rinsing them and waiting until you have a full load before running the dishwasher or clothes washer. Water-saving upgrading opportunities include:
- Installing WaterSense®-labeled low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators
- Upgrading to ENERGY STAR®-certified clothes washers and dishwashers, which use less energy and water than standard models
3. Leaving devices plugged in all the time
Many electronic devices continue to use even when they're turned off. This is known as phantom or standby power, and it can really cost you over time. Unplug chargers when they're not charging anything, as well as devices that are rarely used or don't need to be powered constantly. Plug multiple devices into a power strip to make powering them off easy. A low-cost upgrade is an advanced power strip or smart plug. These handy devices automatically cut power to devices when no one is using them.
Another common homeowner mistake, according to the experts surveyed, is failing to have an energy audit. A qualified auditor will inspect your home, run a series of tests and provide you with a customized set of cost-saving recommendations. A home energy audit is one of the best ways to improve the efficiency and comfort of your home.