Savings Room by Room, Part 3: The Basement
Ah, the basement—maybe better known as “the place we keep all our dust and spiders.” When we think about making energy efficiency improvements to our homes, the basement often gets neglected in favor of more lived-in spaces.
But the truth is that there’s plenty that can be done downstairs to improve your home’s efficiency. Let’s take a look now at a few ways you can save.
Basement Tip #1: Look for the Blue ENERGY STAR® Logo
The number one appliance that homeowners keep in their basements is the washer/dryer. Which is great—they’re big machines that can take up a lot of floor space, so why not keep them out of way?
But out of sight, out of mind. So think fast: Does your current washer/dryer have the ENERGY STAR logo? If you’re not sure, take a moment to check. That logo is evidence that your appliance has been engineered to meet the highest standards of energy efficiency. And if you don’t see it? Look for it when the time comes to replace it.
Basement Tip #2: Insulate Your Water Heater
An uninsulated water heater in the basement can hit your energy bills with a double whammy. First, the uninsulated heater is radiating energy out into the air, meaning that some of the energy you’re paying for is not actually heating your water.
But what can really hit your wallet is that basements are generally colder than the rest of the house. So not only is your water heater wasting heat, it’s actually having to work that much harder to stay warm in the chilly basement air. Adding a layer of insulation helps your water heater keep nice and snuggly—and it will help you save some cash.
Basement Tip #3: Upgrade (or Unplug) Your Dehumidifier
Nobody wants a damp basement, but if you’re relying on a dehumidifier to keep things dry you might want to give it a second look. Is yours certified by ENERGY STAR? If it’s not, you may have an inefficient model that’s using more electricity than it should be.
And don’t forget to unplug it when it’s not needed. Although a dehumidifier will automatically shut off when its collection tank is full, during dry seasons it may take much longer to fill—especially when it’s not really necessary to run in the first place. Remember: The cheapest electricity is the electricity you don’t use in the first place.
Basement Tip #4: Choose ENERGY STAR® LED Bulbs
We don’t often think about basement lighting, and as a result it can end up being one of the last refuges in your home for wasteful incandescent bulbs. Even in homes where living area light bulbs have been swapped out for LEDs, basements tend to get skipped over.
But waste is waste, and over time you’ll be spending more than you have to if you don’t replace those incandescent bulbs. Choose ENERGY STAR LEDs instead.
Basement Tip #5: Change That Air Filter
The basement is one of the most popular locations in a home for the HVAC system. Just like with the washer and dryer, it’s the perfect spot to keep large equipment that would otherwise get in the way. And, not to sound like a broken record here, but: out of sight, out of mind.
This time, the issue is the air filter. A filthy filter in your HVAC system is doing you no favors. We suggest you take a peek at it at least once a month (here’s an easy way to remember—when you get your electric bill, it’s time to check your filter). If it looks dirty, it’s time to change it. If it doesn’t, you’re good for another month.
Just remember: Those 1” thin filters clog a lot faster than the thicker ones. And in heating and cooling seasons, when your HVAC is the most active, don’t be surprised if you need a new filter each month.
For more tips on energy efficiency, or to get more information about our rebate programs—for your basement or otherwise—contact your Energy Advisor today, or visit PowerMoves.com.