No one likes opening their energy bill, and that was before news of higher heating costs broke. Even without the upcoming spike in heating bills, the average family spends more than $1,400 per year on utilities.
Altering your usage can lower your bill by as much as 25%. Here are some ideas for effective ways to cut costs.
Heating and cooling
Inspect the seals on windows, doors, and appliances
Check the seals on your fridge and freezer to ensure that the cold air stays where it belongs. Do the same thing for doors and windows — a lousy seal allows energy to escape, draining your wallet in the process.
Fix leaky ducts
If you have any leaky heating, ventilation, or air conditioning ducts, you can improve the efficiency of heating and cooling systems by fixing them.
Tweak your thermostat
Set your thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees when you’re asleep or away from home. Doing so for eight hours can lower your annual heating and cooling costs by around 10%, and a programmable thermostat does the work for you.
Adjust your fridge and freezer temperature
Setting your fridge to 38 degrees and your freezer between 0 and 5 degrees will keep your food fresh, but your fridge and freezer won’t need to work as hard to maintain the temperature.
Take shorter showers
Did you know that cutting down your shower time by two minutes can save you five gallons of water use? Image what that would add up to at the end of the month.
Replace your showerhead
You can also make a significant difference in the amount of water you use by switching to an efficient showerhead, reducing water usage by 2,700 gallons a year. Be sure to look for one with the WaterSense label because these are certified to meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s criteria.
Don’t wash clothes in hot water
If you only use warm or cold water, you can cut your per-load energy usage by half.
Fix leaky faucets
Not only do you get to save gallons of water by fixing a leaky faucet, but you also get rid of that annoying drip sound. Win-win.
Tweak the temperature on your water heater
Water heaters typically default to 140 degrees, and lowering the temperature to 120 degrees can reduce your water heating costs by up to 10%. If you turn your water heater to its lowest setting when you’re leaving home for a few days, you can dramatically conserve energy usage.
Purchase energy-efficient appliances (and ask your energy provider about rebates)
Next time you’re shopping for a new washer, dishwasher, or water heater, be sure to grab an energy-efficient one. For instance, a dishwasher with the Energy Star label uses 3.5 gallons of water or less per cycle, compared to older models that use more than 10 gallons. Some energy companies offer rebates to their customers by purchasing certain energy-efficient appliances, so be sure to ask your provider about any special deals.
Ask about discounted rates
Speaking of talking to your provider, here’s another thing you should ask them. Some energy companies offer cheaper rates during certain times, and energy-intensive chores like laundry can be 5% to 25% less expensive during off-peak hours.
Lighting and electronics
Swap out your lightbulbs for energy-efficient ones
You can save $75 each year by switching to lightbulbs with the Energy Star label.
Install dimmer switches
Not only do dimmers set the mood, but they also save electricity.
Use smart power strips
Have you noticed that some electronics never fully power off? Some remain in standby mode, still draining power. These usually include devices with a remote because the remote sensor needs power while waiting for you to press a button. You can outsmart these electronics with a smart power strip, which cuts off the electric current when the devices aren’t in use.