Saving Residential Energy UsageHow much do you pay in terms of energy bills every month? Huge burdens on your pocket, are they? Can you lower this amount somehow? Yes, if you plan well, and take a strategic approach. And in the process, you’ll be doing the environment a favor. Let’s take a look at how you can reduce energy consumption in your home, and show some generosity to our dear planet Earth.Heating and CoolingUse blinds, drapes and shadesReduce the efforts of your heating and cooling units by using blinds, drapes and shades, so that they use less power. If it’s cold, leave them open so that the sun heat warms the room. And if it’s summer, you can close them so that the outside heat stays out.Maintain your thermostat at an appropriate temperature rangeWhat is the temperature on your thermostat right now? Does it show a temperature towards the extremes of the range? Adjust this to somewhere in the middle, and you can save around 10% energy a year. Oh, so you think that this would make you feel too hot or cold? At least, do it when you are asleep or away, and you would still see a substantial difference. As long as your thermostat is 7 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit away from its typical settings for 8 hours, you can enjoy some savings.For the times that you are at home, we suggest that you set your thermostat to 68-degrees Fahrenheit during the cold season and 78-degrees Fahrenheit in summers.Set the fan to run on autoConfigure thermostats as such that the fan runs only if the furnace is running. If you set the fan switched on, it would always run regardless of whether any cooling or heating is required.Reduce temperatures if you are using a fireplaceDo you like to snuggle in front of the fire? Generally old fireplaces are inefficient, and draw more heated air out through the chimney, while not producing equivalent heat inside. If you still want to have some fire, set the thermostat to 50-degrees Fahrenheit. Once the fire is out, close the damper so that warm air remains in the house.LightingTurn off lights not neededDo you have the habit of leaving lights on even if you aren’t in the room? Turn them off if you don’t need them. And if it is day time, you can also switch them off, and make use of sunlight instead.Use dimmers, timers and motion sensors Integrate your lights with dimmer switches so that you can adjust their intensity, saving some energy. You can also use timers or motion sensors so that lights are switched off automatically, after a fixed amount of time or if no one is the room for a particular time period.Install energy efficient lightingEnergy-efficient lighting like light emitting diode or LED bulbs and fluorescent light bulbs or CFL consume lower energy than standard lighting devices. Install them, and drop your lighting energy usage by as much as 75%.AppliancesSelect a drying cycle based on sensing moistureInstead of setting the drying cycle to run for a specific time, set it to run based on the amount of moisture left in your clothes. Not only will this save power consumption, but will also prevent your clothes from over drying and shrinking, thus increasing their life. Moisture sensors are required for this purpose, to monitor dryness in your washed clothes and force the cycle to stop when required.Or just dry your laundry in the sunDrying out your clothes in the sun and natural air saves even more energy.Avoid using an extra fridgeHow many fridges and freezers do you have? Remove all extra units, and save as much as $120 a year.Unplug all devices not in useObserve all electronic devices in your home, and unplug or power off all the ones that are not needed.Use power management features for your computer and gaming consolesFactory settings are not always efficient; ensure that your computers, laptops, and gaming consoles operate on a power management program. And when you are done using them, remember to turn them off.Use a power stripSeveral electronic devices consume energy even if you aren’t using them. Referred to as energy vampires, they can cost around $100 in terms of electricity bills. Connect these devices to a power strip so that you can turn all of them together with just one switch. If you use a smart power strip, you would not even have to do this, and they will be switched off automatically if they aren’t being used.Invest in Energy Star unitsWhen buying a new electrical appliance, try to buy ones which have the Energy Star label. Their operation is the most efficient, so you get to save a significant amount.Water HeatingSet your water heater at 120 FSet the water heater to run at 120-degrees Fahrenheit.Maximize the usageWhether you are washing clothes or dishes, do at full load. Operation is most efficient at this setting.Wash clothes with cold waterIf you are rinsing clothes, do so with cold water. Avoid using the hot or warm wash cycles to save some energy.Install efficient showerheads and aeratorsEfficient showerheads and aerators are designed such that they don’t use more than 1.5 gallons of water every minute.Purchase a tankless water heatersA tankless water heater is expensive to install, but you get a good return on your investment because it uses less energy as compared to traditional heaters. Get quotes for both a tank-less heater and the most efficient tank model, and figure out which one is better for your budget. Also you should get a heat pump model if you want to install a water heater as well. A heat pump water heater is around three times more efficient than the conventional units.So act on our tips, and watch your bills go down!