Spring Into Energy Savings


Spring Into Energy Savings

 

Improving the energy efficiency of your home is not only great for the environment, it can also contribute to substantial savings in the long run. Below are some small changes you can make throughout your home to help lower your energy bills:

 

Turn off the thermostat – When away from home, avoid keeping your thermostat on. When home, adjust it in small increments to reach your desired temperature. Even better, open windows and use ceiling fans or space heaters to cool or warm your home.

 

Switch your light bulbs – Switch the light bulbs in your home to more energy efficient ones (think CFL and LED bulbs). Not sure which ones to choose? Check out our helpful light bulb guide here.

 
Clean and replace filters once a month – Clean filters allow systems to run more efficiently and for shorter periods of time.

 
Keep a full refrigerator and freezer – A full refrigerator unit will operate the most efficiently. On the other hand, be sure not to overcrowd it.

 
Keep your oven and stovetop clean – Regularly cleaning your oven and stovetop will enable them to run more efficiently.
 
Run your dishwasher when it’s full – Running your dishwasher with a full load every time is the most efficient use of the appliance. In addition, use the lowest temperature dry cycle if you prefer not to air-dry your dishes. Heated drying is not always needed and can even damage plasticware.

 

Use power strips/surge protectors – Cords that remain plugged in while not in use still expend energy in standby mode. Feeding them all into a power strip makes it easier to switch them all off at once instead of keeping them on standby. In addition, it also protects your electronic devices from unsafe voltage spikes.

 

Turn off lights – When leaving your home, turn off all lights. When at home, turn off lights in any room not being used.

 

Mind the gaps – Check windows and doors for cracks, gaps, and openings. Replace broken glass, framing and caulk where necessary.

 

Purchase wisely – When purchasing appliances such as computers and dishwashers, be on the lookout for the “Energy Star” logo denoting high-efficiency. Many newer appliances are required by the U.S. Department of Energy to be more efficient than older ones.

Home Amenities Likely to Grow in Demand


Home Amenities Likely to Grow in Demand

 

Some amenities that homebuyers now consider “nice-to-have” may soon move into the “must-have” category. Below are three that experts say are likely to grow in demand among home shoppers:

 

Smart homes – More homes will be controlled via a smart phone or tablet in the coming years. Appliances and home systems can be turned on, off, or programmed via mobile devices. Smart refrigerators are emerging that have built-in apps that can even create grocery shopping lists and smart ovens can be remotely controlled to start dinner or check on the status of what’s cooking.

 

Stainless-steel alternatives – Stainless-steel appliances have long dominated but some homebuyers are seeking alternatives. White ice and slate are increasingly popular. Slate is being touted as an easy choice to blend in with other black, white, or stainless steel finishes. It can resist fingerprints and washes easily too.

 

Energy efficiency Many buyers place a premium on finding a home with energy-efficient, cost-effective appliances. Energy Star-qualified appliances use up to 50% less energy than older counterparts. Also gaining popularity are smarter appliances, including dishwashers that can determine the appropriate cycle length and water temperature as well as washers that extract more water from laundry during the spin cycle so the dryer has less to do.