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5 steps to cut electricity use in your home

Rebates and subsidized funding to install solar panels on your home are often available from local government entities. Solar panels eventually pay for themselves in lower electrical bills and could eventually put money in your pocket.

Any home can be made more energy efficient by following these few tips to aid conservation. Every watt saved is money in your pocket and less strain on the system that provides your electricity. Help the Earth — and your pocketbook — with these simple steps.

1. Get an energy audit

Before you start your energy-efficiency update, it’s a good idea to know where you’re starting from and where your problems are. One way to do that is through an energy audit. Many electric companies offer an online service to help you, or you can use the Home Energy Saver through the U.S. Department of Energy at

2. Before replacing windows

Refer to your energy audit before deciding to replace windows. Sometimes, the cost of new windows takes too long to pay for themselves in lower energy costs. One option is to add storm windows. If it’s an older home with wooden window frames, newer vinyl or aluminum frames often don’t hold up as well.

3. Caulk it up

Caulking is one of the best ways to help cut down on cool air escaping during the summer and warm area leaking during the winter. This works best on cracks and gaps of less than a quarter of an inch.

4. Replace faucets and shower heads

Replace your faucets and shower heads with the low-flow versions to reduce the amount of water you use. Also, in the shower, consider using shower heads with cutoffs that you can quickly turn on and off while showering.

5. Join the fan club

While we all know using ceiling fans can reduce the time the A/C runs during the summer, did you know not all ceiling fans are created equal when it comes to energy efficiency? Many of the fans on the market still use old technology and burn too much electricity. Check the fans you buy to make sure the engines are energy efficient.

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