Tips on Cutting Your Energy Bills
Are you worried about the size of your energy bills? Would you like to live a greener, more environmentally friendly life? These are two things that thousands of homeowners across the world lose sleep over on a regular basis. It’s possible to lower your bills and help save the planet by making a few small changes in the way you use your appliances and by adopting a few simple tricks. If you start small and make savings straight away, before long, you’ll have enough to splash out and buy more energy saving or renewable energy equipment.
Here are a few examples to get you started:
- Turn off the lights and use natural light instead
- Turn lights off when leaving the room
- Turn down your thermostats
- Turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth
- Take shorter showers or shower together
- Fix any leaky faucets
- Turn off the air conditioning when you’re not at home
- Recycle or donate old appliances
- Only run full loads in your dishwasher and washing machine
- Hang dry your laundry
Understand Your Electricity Bill
Are you the kind of person who just gives your electricity bill a cursory glance and then pays it? Before you start looking for ways to reduce your bill, it’s a good idea to understand more about the way you use energy and how much it costs. There will be two parts to your bill. The first is a measurement of the kilowatt-hours you’ve used. The second part will be ancillary charges. A number of the appliances in your home will use significantly more electricity than others. For example, your HVAC system is probably your biggest expense. Look back over your recent bills and see how your usage changes over the months. Try and negotiate a fixed rate plan from your provider, so you are paying the same amount every month.
Tweaking your energy bill can make a difference of as much as 25% every month. Let’s look a little closer at some of the ways you can do it.
Power and Lighting
If possible, ask your energy provider to conduct an energy audit. It might be available at no cost and will identify ways you can reduce your energy usage. Did you realize that the lights and electronics in your home account for approximately 12% of your usage? This might not sound like a lot, but there are ways you can reduce it even further. Swapping out your light bulbs for LEDs or compact fluorescents will save around $75 on your annual bill. Consider using dimmer switches as these will allow you to control the brightness and save electricity. It can also be very useful when you want to change the mood. Do you often leave your appliances plugged in when not being used? Some of them are never truly switched off. Even if they are in standby mode, they are using a trickle of electricity. If you use a smart power strip, the current will be cut off when not in use. Alternatively, unplug them.
How to Save on Water
Your hot water usage makes up a sizeable portion of your energy bill. It is in fact, the second-largest expense. Change the way you use your hot water, and you’ll make quite a dent in your bill. Did you realize that taking two minutes off the time you spend in the shower will cut the amount of water you use by 10 gallons?
Do you always wash your clothes using hot water? Modern washing detergents work equally well at cold temperatures. Use warm or cold water and only wash when the washing machine is full.
Using the shower has always been considered an efficient way to keep clean. Now it’s possible to be even more efficient by changing your showerhead. Look for one that has been certified to meet EPA efficiency criteria, and you’ll be reducing your water usage by more than 2,500 gallons every year.
If there a faucet in your home that’s constantly dripping, isn’t it about time you fixed it?
One last tip is to adjust the temperature on your water heater. You really don’t need the water coming out to be hot enough to boil an egg or make a cup of tea. Lower it by 10 degrees and make a saving of 10%. This is the smallest of changes, and you’ll barely notice the difference. Except for when it comes to paying your bill.
Using renewable energy in your home will not just reduce your bills, it could eliminate them completely. Installing solar panels for your home, a wind generator in the backyard and recycling wastewater will also help the environment. Substantial investment will be required, but any cost can be offset by the savings, and there are also a number of tax incentives for installing renewables. Hydropower, solar ovens, solar water heating and solar air conditioning, are more options worth considering.
Heating and Cooling Savings
The biggest causes of wasted energy are related to heating and cooling your home. Check all your appliances, such as freezers and refrigerators, are sealed correctly. Also, check your windows and doors. Improve the efficiency of your systems by fixing leaking ducts in ventilation, heating and air conditioning units. Turn your thermostats down 10 to 15 degrees when you’re asleep or out for the day. If you think you can, turn them down a couple of notches and put on an extra layer of clothing in the winter or take one off in the summer. A good investment will be a programmable thermostat as it will do it all for you. Do you know what temperature your fridge and freezer are set at? 38 degrees for your refrigerator and 5 degrees for your freezer are more than adequate.
One more piece of advice is to shop around for your energy supplier. Switching to a cheaper deal could save a lot. Swapping suppliers isn’t too difficult, and it’s easy to compare deals online. Combine this step with some or all of the above tips, and you’re going to slash your utility bills considerably.