WHEN budgets are tight and homeowners feel squeezed by higher electric bills, there may be a simple solution: Put the house on an energy “diet.” Here are some helpful tips:
• Install new bulbs and dimmers. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, approved LED bulbs offer similar light quality to traditional incandescents and use about 20 to 25 percent of the energy, while compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs use about 75 percent less energy.
To go the extra mile in savings and to create ambience, homeowners can install dimmers that are specifically designed to work with the most popular bulb types (incandescents, LEDs and CFLs). These dimmers have been tested and designed to alleviate common problems associated with dimming LEDs and CFLs, such as fading and flickering.
Now it’s possible to save energy with LEDs and CFLs without giving up the desired ambience that many homeowners have come to expect from dimmers. Plus, dimmers are affordable and simple to install.
• Control temperature. Homeowners can save as much as 10 percent a year on heating and cooling costs by simply turning the thermostat back seven to 10 degrees for eight hours a day, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
• Turn off the lights. Occupancy/vacancy sensors can be installed in rooms where light is needed only occasionally. They can tell when people enter or leave a room and turn the lights on and off automatically. According to Dr. Brent Protzman, energy researcher at Lutron Electronics, sensors can save up to 50 percent in lighting costs. He recommends installing sensors, such as the Lutron Maestro occupancy/vacancy sensing switch, in bathrooms, children’s rooms, garages and laundry rooms. Sensors are as easy to install as a standard light switch and are economically priced.
• Treat the windows right. Using proper window treatments and adjusting shades with the seasons can help keep heating and cooling expenses from going through the roof.
For example, Serena shades are designed to provide superior insulation all year round. They’re remote controlled, so they’re great for hard-to-reach windows that may let unwanted sun or cold air inside. Multiple shades can be controlled with a single remote. With do-it-yourself installation, these shades can replace existing window treatments in about 15 minutes.
Visit www.lutron.com to learn more. North American Precis Syndicate, Inc.