When the last quarter of the year rolls around, everyone spends their days indoors, wrapped up in the most comfortable layers. All the kids are at home for the holidays, and there's nothing more enticing than a bonding session over steaming mugs of hot chocolate topped with marshmallows. Since there are more people than usual in the house, you'll likely see a higher figure on your utility bill for this season. Reducing added electrical expenses is the perfect New Year’s resolution for you to make. Read on to find out some tips and tricks for cutting down on costs like updating electrical cover plates or making wall plate switches.
Find and Seal Air Leaks
Whether they've been standing for months or a hundred years, houses usually come with drafts. These are tiny gaps in the structure that have been left unsealed. You'll find these along doors, windows, baseboards, ceiling-to-wall joints, attics, basements, and vents. Other spots you should look out for are electrical outlets, switch plates, cable television and phone lines, and wall-mounted air conditioners.
If you're unsure whether the place has an air leak, light up an incense stick and hold it toward a suspected area. There's a good chance that there's an opening nearby if you notice the smoke blowing sideways. Another item you can use for this task is a thermal leak detector, which measures surface temperatures of walls, floorboards, and other spots.
The solution to this issue depends on the gap's location and size. Fissures that are less than an inch wide can be filled in with a bit of weatherproof caulk. Meanwhile, spray foam is best used for sealing cracks that are as big as 1-3 inches. As for doors, a draft stopper should be installed under the panel to keep air from creeping in.
For this season, hang up your thickest curtains or your thermal ones. While it makes sense to keep them closed until the holidays are over, that's not always the case. Open them up in the morning, when the sun's high up in the sky, to let sunlight into your home. This way, you won't have to switch on too many bulbs and lamps until late afternoon or nighttime.
Use LED Bulbs
On the topic of lights, swap your old bulbs for light-emitting diodes (LED). Traditional incandescent models consume a lot of energy to generate luminescence and heat. However, the illumination level of the former isn't as high as the latter's, which means that most of the power is lost as warm air. On top of that, these fixtures burn out after a thousand hours of usage.
In contrast, LED bulbs are much better at converting energy: 95% goes to light, and the remaining 5% is turned into heat. Also, each has a lifespan of 25,000 hours. These features make it 80% more efficient than their incandescent and fluorescent counterparts. As a bonus, these eco-friendly models don't contain any toxic elements!
Purchase Energy-Efficient Devices
In a similar vein, you can also change your old appliances for energy-saving ones. Certain electronics, like refrigerators and heaters, all consume power as long as they're running. This means that your utility bill also keeps climbing, whether you're aware of it or not.
Luckily, engineers and manufacturers have come up with more efficient models. They use as little power as possible, without compromising performance. There are also alternatives that receive energy from renewable sources, like sunlight and wind. When installing these devices in your home, don't forget to call in electrical contractors for expert assistance.
Unplug Unused Appliances
Believe it or not, most plugged devices still consume electricity even when they're not turned on. Among these so-called "energy vampires" are phone chargers, television sets, and computers - basically anything that's been left connected to a socket. So, be mindful and unplug any appliance that's not in use.
Staying at home for the holidays doesn't have to come with high energy consumption. Save up on utilities by following these tips. Get in touch with Wallplate Warehouse for decorative light switch plates in ceramic and other awesome light switch plates that can close off those breezy gaps in your aged fixtures. Their knowledgeable and courteous contractors can give you advice and help you out with your upgrades.