Did you know that Americans spend approximately $22 billion a year on air conditioning alone? Wow, that’s a lot of coin. If your summer utility bills are contributing a large sum to this figure, then you will want to pay attention to what we have to say here. In short, a smart home, with even the smallest devices, can help make a significant dent in your home energy costs this summer. With Breckenridge real estate costing what it does, these tips will help you make sense of your next real estate purchase.
Avoid These Energy Beasts
Overall, Americans spend roughly $241 billion on energy usage each year, boiling down to an average of $2,100 per household. You can make a difference by avoiding some specific energy beasts such as leaving the A/C running when not at home, using outdoor lighting during longer days, doing laundry during peak hours, running your water heaters too high, and leaving unnecessary lights on that are generating ambient heat. Paying attention to these energy hogs will help decrease your energy bills, but using a home energy monitor will give you real-time information on your home’s energy use and offer tips on ways to cut back.
Save Money With Smart Thermostats
Regular old thermostats just let you control and adjust the heating and air conditioning system in your home. Programmable thermostats allow you to not only set the temperature, but have the thermostat itself change the temperature based on the time of day. Smart thermostats, on the other hand, take this all a step further by learning from your behaviors, showing your energy consumption in real-time, and will even adjust themselves based on other ambient conditions such as humidity. Additionally, you can manage most smart thermostats from your phone via an app. The app will tell you how much you are spending on your cooling or heating costs, enable you to fine-tune the programming to save you money, see how effective your system really is, and allow you to see the results immediately.
According to Ecobee, smart thermostats can provide you with 23% savings on energy bills which can add up to $10-$20 in monthly savings.
Shed the Light on Phantom Power
A remarkably large number of electrical products – from TVs to air conditioners to microwaves – cannot be completely turned off without being unplugged. These commodities draw a certain amount of power 24 hours a day, often without knowledge of the homeowner. This is referred to as phantom or standby power. With the knowledge that the average American home has 40 of these products that are constantly drawing power, and can equal up to 10% of your home’s electrical use, you can see the benefit of eliminating these devices. The most efficient method of cutting down on this energy consumption is utilizing a smart power strip that allows you to cut the power to specific devices not in use. A smart power strip shuts down power to products that go into standby mode without you having to manually unplug your gadgets all the time.
Ditch Those Old Light bulbs
Lighting uses 19% of global electricity and can add up to roughly 12% of your home’s energy bill. So, ditch those old light bulbs for more efficient LED bulbs. Why? Well, they last 50 times longer than incandescent bulbs, use a quarter of the energy, and one bulb as an average life span of 20,000 hours. LED bulbs tend to be on the expensive side, but just think that a $15 12W LED bulb pays for itself in 2.5 years.
Another method of monitoring lighting usage is to utilize motion sensors that will turn things off automatically when you’re not around and allow you to created schedules for lights and appliances.
So, as you can see, being “smart” about your home’s energy consumption can save you a bunch of money in the long run. The initial investment might be a turnoff to begin with, but you will reap the benefits in a matter of time. For a wonderful infographic on how a smart home can save you energy, check out this page on the Coldwell Banker website.
By Reid Tulley
Coldwell Banker Mountain Properties