Top Four Household Electrical Projects For a Green Home

Going green at home can mean many things. Reducing the amount of garbage you contribute to the landfill by recycling and composting is a wise step to take. You could also cut down on water usage to help conserve the world’s fresh water. But one of the most important things that homeowners can do to ensure a healthier planet is by reducing the energy used in their home. These four household electrical projects will do just that.

Upgrading the Light Bulbs

Most of your household light bulbs are likely 60 watt. These bulbs use a much larger amount of energy than others available on the market, most notably CFL (compact fluorescent) and LED (light emitting diode) bulbs.

LEDs are a fairly new technology and in the current market, they are still quite expensive. Most homeowners will not be able to afford to replace all bulbs with LEDs, even though this option saves the most energy.

CFLs, on the other hand, are growing increasingly more affordable and offer a much greener option for your home. Unlike incandescent bulbs (those 60 watt units in your lamps and fixtures) that waste a majority of the energy drawn to heat the bulb, CFLs use very little energy to produce a bluish light. They take a few minutes to warm up and fully light an area, but the coverage is very good overall and the energy usage is comparably low (reports state that CFLs use 75 percent less power than incandescent bulbs).

Another advantage of these bulbs is their longevity. The average lifespan of a 60-watt bulb is approximately 1,500 hours, while you could realistically expect a CFL bulb to last more than 10,000 hours. A longer life means less light bulb changes and less waste in the landfill.

Programmable Thermostats

A lot of energy is wasted due to unnecessary climate control. Why heat your home to 21 degrees Celsius when no one is home? And why keep your living space air conditioned in the summer months while everyone is away at work or school? By installing a programmable thermostat you will be able to have a comfortable home during the time of day that matters without needing to remember to turn the climate control down at other times.

Many people enjoy a comfortable sleeping temperature overnight, although this is often different than the interior temperature in the daytime. A programmable thermostat will take care of those changes for you, making the shift efficient and regular. A recent EPA report stated that by installing programmable thermostats homeowners would save between 10 and 30 percent of their heating and cooling costs. Not only can you look forward to a greener home, but lower bills as well.

Other household electrical items can be put on programmable timers as well. The exhaust fans in your bathroom may run all day after your morning shower, but a programmable timer will turn it off in a few hours. Some homes utilize programmable timers on electric hot water heaters as well.

Appliance Upgrades

Did you know that, after space heating and cooling units, your appliances are likely the biggest energy guzzlers in your home? Depending on your habits and lifestyle, your refrigerator probably uses the most energy. Because it needs to maintain a constantly cool temperature, offsetting the bursts of warmer air that occur when the door is opened, your fridge requires a decent amount of power to run.

Stoves and ovens can also use a lot of energy, especially for larger families or in the homes of avid chefs. Dishwashers, washing machines and electric dryers have massive energy needs, although the amount depends on how much laundry and dishes actually make their way through the system.

In any case, it is a wise idea to upgrade your appliances to those that carry the Energy Star rating. Stringent specifications are used in this program to ensure the appliances are energy efficient. Statistics show that an Energy Star fridge purchased a few years ago will use 38 percent less energy than a model manufactured in the early ‘90s. Capturing these savings is easy with the upgrade of any appliance.

Switching from an electric dryer to a gas dryer can also save power, as well as reducing your hydro bills. But hanging out your clothing to dry will save even more energy.

Installing Solar Panels

On your rooftop or in the yard, solar photovoltaic systems (solar PV) are an excellent way to have a greener home. Typically installed on a south-facing wall or roof slope, these panels will collect solar energy and pass it through an inverter to help power your home electricity needs. In certain circumstances you can even have excess generated power funneled back into the grid at a profit to you.

It is important to do your research when considering solar PV systems. They are maintenance free, but not all are built with the same quality and the expertise and skills of installers may vary. Ask about the warranty, service options and the size of system you will need.

Although the initial cost is high, many areas have subsidies and rebates that will help you pay for a portion of this investment. And remember that your electricity bills will be reduced by the amount of power you generate every month. Solar PV systems can pay for themselves over time, depending on how much power is used and the overall cost of electricity from the grid.

You can tackle many different household electrical projects for a greener home. These four are straightforward and will provide almost immediate results. From upgrading your light bulbs and appliances to installing programmable thermostats and solar PV panels, these home improvement projects will do more for the planet that you think. Be responsible and conserve energy where possible with these and other methods. The future of the planet is in our hands.

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