Installing solar panels is a great way to reduce your energy consumption and cost, but there are many things you can do before the solar panel installation process to make your home and solar panels even more energy efficient! Following this checklist before installing solar panels is a great way to make sure you are practicing energy efficiency and getting the most out of your solar panels once you have them installed by doing just a few of these small things.
- Change your incandescent light bulbs to energy-efficient LED bulbs, which use 25 to 80 percent less energy, and last up to 25 times longer.
- Switch to rechargeable batteries, they produce less waste and are way less toxic to the environment than buying traditional disposable batteries.
- Replace or clean your air filters! Dirty, clogged air filters not only damage heating and cooling systems, but contaminate air quality and increase energy usage. It is recommended that you replace or clean your air filters every one to three months, and consider purchasing reusable air filters as they are more efficient and eco-friendly. Air filters should be replaced or cleaned in air conditioners, heating systems, vents, and many appliances.
- Grow some house plants. Indoor plants act as a natural air filter for your home. House plants absorb pollutants, purify the air, and increase oxygen flow in throughout the home. NASA researchers recommend keeping one potted plant per 100 square feet.
- Unplug unused electronics and appliances. Unused electronics that remain plugged in can add more than 10% to your monthly utility bill. Getting in the habit of unplugging unused electronics and appliances is a great way to reduce energy cost and consumption.
- Lower your thermostat. Keeping your house cooler by even three to five degrees during the winter months will reduce your monthly heating costs and use less energy than keeping your house warmer throughout the cooler months. Limiting space heater use is also a smart switch.
- Get rid of leaks. Fixing leaky faucets, toilets, or water tanks is another great way to go green. Fixing leaks can help you save hundreds of gallons of water each month, and reduce your energy use.
- Empty the lint filter in your dryer after each load. Full lint filters make your dryer work harder and produce more heat. Emptying your lint filter after each load can decrease your energy consumption and speed up your drying time.
- Use cold water. Washing your clothes in cold water can cut a load of laundry’s energy use in half.
- Conserve water use. Installing a low-flow shower head can reduce the amount of water coming out of your shower head without reducing water pressure. The same goes for water coming out of your sink. Sink water aerators are cheap, easy to install, and reduce the amount of water flow from your sink.
There are many additional ways in which you can reduce your energy consumption and get the most out of your solar panels. These first few steps should help lead you in the right direction.