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10 Life Hacks for Conserving Energy at Home


“When did it get so cold?” “Where’d summer go?” “Where’d I put those sweaters?” These are common questions this time of year as Philly makes the move to fall and winter. It’s a wonderful and beautiful time of year, but does require a little bit of preparation that anyone can do.

October wasn’t just a time for making changes to your schedule and wardrobe. It was also Energy Action Month, a great time to make changes to your home to help reduce energy usage and prepare for those chilly days and nights ahead. If you didn’t find the time to do it in October, however, don’t worry, it’s never too late. So we’ve prepared below 10 easy life hacks to reduce your energy usage. And the best part is, most of these you can implement today without much impact to your lifestyle or comfort.

  1. Check your air vents regularly. The air in your home should be distributed effectively. If something is obstructing the vents, it can make the system work harder, thus using more energy.
  2. Lower your thermostat. Throw on that extra layer! Embrace the warmth of a blanket! Heck, buy a Snuggie and set your thermostat to no warmer than 68°F! The U.S. Department of Energy says you could save about 1% on heating costs for every degree you lower your thermostat over an eight-hour period.
  3. Weather strip around your doors and windows. Stop heat from escaping and cold air from getting in during the fall and winter by sealing any cracks and holes that might exist.
  4. Use LED lights when possible. Also, according to the Energy Department, residential LEDs — especially ENERGY STAR rated products — use at least 75% less energy, and last 25 times longer, than incandescent lighting.
  5. During the fall and winter, open your curtains during the day to allow the sun to naturally heat up your home. Then, close them at night to keep the heat inside and the cold air out. The sun’s rays are a free way to up the temperature indoors.
  6. Air-dry your dishes rather than using the dishwasher’s drying feature.
  7. Use a power strip. Streamline your plugs (think: cell phone, lamp, fans, etc.) by keeping them consolidated in a power strip. The switch on the power strip makes it easy to turn off everything that is plugged in when not in use. Better yet, buy a smart power strip that keeps the DVR running, but lets you turn off the TV and game systems when not in use.
  8. Wash clothes with cold water. Aside from keeping your clothes bright, using cold rather than warm water reduces the energy needed to heat the water.
  9. Know when your house was built. According to Energy Star, most homes lack appropriate insulation and this is particularly true for older homes. Prep for winter by sealing and insulating your attic and your doors that aren’t up to snuff.
  10. Keep your freezer full. How Stuff Works says if your freezer is stocked with frozen goods, it won’t need as much energy to keep it cold. Bonus: your food will stay frozen longer in the event the power goes out.

Bonus: consider investing in an electrical generator in case of a power outage. You don’t want to be left in the dark when bad weather strikes. Goal Zero, part of the NRG family of companies, offers some great products that are powered by the sun, including their Yeti line of silent-running generators.

For more information about satisfying your home energy needs with NRG Home, click here.