If you are like most homeowners, you are probably always looking for a way to lower your energy bills without sacrificing comfort or convenience. Forget about unplugging your microwave or foregoing your air conditioner this summer – here are four painless ways to save some money on your energy bills throughout the year:
Use Ceiling Fans
A great way to make your home more energy efficient is to install and use ceiling fans on the rooms that you spend the most time in. During the summer months, turn your fans on high in a counter-clockwise direction to keep your skin cool and reduce the need for your air conditioner. During the winter months, turn your fans on low in a clockwise direction to force the warmer and cooler air to mix together and keep the room warmer.
Ceiling fans offer the perfect opportunity to introduce more lighting into your home, just install halogen or LED bulbs into the base of each fan. When installing your new ceiling fans, make sure that they are at an angle of at least 12-degrees so they effectively push the air up and down as you see fit.
Plant a Tree or Two
Deciduous trees planted in the yard will grow big leaves in the summer to help shade your home from the heat, and lose leaves in the winter to allow heat from the sun to warm your home up. In fact, planting a tree in your yard now can cut a noticeable percentage off your energy bills within about five years. Some attractive yet effective options include:
- Oak varieties.
- Red maple.
- White birch.
- Back walnut.
When planting your trees, make sure that they are far enough away from your home that their branches cannot fall onto the roof once they are full grown.
Make Color Changes
Believe it or not, the interior and exterior colors of your home can have a significant impact on your energy consumption. For example, a white roof is typically several degrees cooler than a black or grey roof under the heat of the sun. When it comes to the interior, here are some things to consider:
- Light colors like beige and yellow reflect light well, requiring less artificial lighting in any given room.
- Cool colors such as blue and green offer the perception that the temperature in a space is significantly cooler than it really is.
- Hues of red and orange can make a room feel much warmer than it really is.
Just because darker colors hold onto a little heat and don't brighten up a room as much as lighter colors do doesn't mean that you can't use them. Use them as accent colors to add some depth to your interior spaces without affecting the energy efficiency of your home.
Install Vinyl Windows
Vinyl windows offer an excellent source of insulation keeping moisture, mold, and unwanted air out of your home and as a result, they offer superb energy efficiency throughout the year. These windows are also recyclable, so you don't have to worry about the toll they take on the planet either. There are a wide variety of options available, making it easy to customize the look and feel of your home overall. The following styles may appeal to your personal preferences:
- Faux wood.
- Colored matte.
- Shiny metal.
Vinyl windows are easy to install, and they don't require a lot of maintenance either. Simply clean them regularly with window cleaner, and keep the frames fresh with the help of a little water and a damp cloth.
You'll find that these options are easy to incorporate and live with, giving you the ability to save a little money and minimize resource usage without ever having to think about it.