Saving on Your Home Electricity Bills
The totals on your electricity bills can add up quickly. We've put together some tips and tricks on cutting down on costs to make these necessary bills a little easier.
- If you live in a home with wood or tile floors, invest in area rugs. They not only keep your feet warm during the winter months, but they also ad to heat retention in your home.
- When the temperature outside drops, don't be so quick to raise your home's thermostat all the way immediately. By rushing your heat, you cause your heat pump to use an excessive amount of energy. Start raising it a few degrees at a time to raise your home's temperature without raising your bill.
- Instead of setting your thermostat to a cozy 75 degrees in the winter and pretending it's summer, keep your daytime temperature at 68-70 degrees (and 65-68 degrees at night) to maintain a comfortable temperature during the winter without paying a fortune.
- Do you have a fireplace? Make sure to close the flue when the fireplace is not in use to keep the warm air in your home. You can also consider installing glass doors on the front of your fireplace to prevent warm air from escaping up the chimney.
- Space heaters can be helpful when you're heating one specific spot in your home. Be careful not to leave these running for too long, as running a 1,500-watt heater can get expensive if left on for long stretches of time.
- Try to keep your home's temperature close as possible to the temperature outside. If it is 30 degrees outside and you set your thermostat to 70 degrees, it will cost much more than if you were to set it at 65 degrees.
- Check all of your air vents in your home and arrange the furniture and curtains so they are not blocking air flow in any way.
- Want to lower the cost to heat your home? Invest in an energy-efficient heat pump. Check with your local utility companies beforehand to see if any of them offer a rebate to assist in your upgrade.
- Your heating system's filters should be changed each month in order to ensure you are running most efficiently.
- Inspect the area around your HVAC. Remove anything that is on, against, or obstructing it in any way.
- If you leave your home for longer than a regular workday, do NOT turn your AC off. Set the temperature to 60 degrees instead.
- Make use of the sun when it makes an appearance and leave your blinds open during the day to help heat your home.
- If no pets or people will be in the house during the day, you should lower your thermostat to avoid paying for heat you're not using.
- In the summer, run your fan in a counter-clockwise direction. In the winter, run it clockwise at a low speed.
- While the AC is running, make sure your windows and doors are closed properly.
- Clean or replace the filters in your AC monthly at the very minimum.
- The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating is important in deciding the quality of your AC. A rating of 15 will ensure that you are in possession of a high-quality unit.
- Set your home's thermostat to "auto" in order to conserve energy. If you simply leave it in the "on" position, the air in your system is running non-stop and wasting energy.
- Use blinds, curtains and shades to prevent the sun's rays from heating your home and causing your AC to work too hard.
- Inject foam insulation into your walls to prevent hot air from seeping into your home through your walls.
- Get your AC tuned by a professional so that your system runs most efficiently.
- Open all interior doors to rooms in your home to allow cool air to flow through the house and not get trapped in one area.
- Repair any and all leaky ducts in your home to reduce cooling and heating costs in your home.
- Attic insulation with a rating of R-30 is best to insulate your attic and reduce home cooling costs.
- Check your windows and doors for leaks that air can escape through.
- Walls with light-colored paint, and light-colored curtains, are best to keep a cool home. You will allow light into your home while blocking out the sun's rays and reflecting heat.
- Do you have a room that you're not using often? Close the air vent, if possible.
- If your property does not have a lot of shade trees near your home, consider planting them to shade your windows and walls from the heat.
- Use ceiling fans when possible to avoid using the AC too often. Remember to turn fans off when you leave the room.
- While using fans, raise the temperature to be closer to the outside temperature, and avoid wasting energy.
- Install a programmable thermostat that will be able to adjust the temperature of your home while you are away.
- Change your home's light bulbs (both inside and out) to Energy-Efficient Compact Flourescent (CFL) bulbs. When used in the appropriate sockets, CFL bulbs give off the same amount of light as a regular bulb without using as much energy.
- Use motion-detection lights outside instead of leaving lights on all night long. They use less energy, and provide an element of security.
- If you're looking to help out with more than just your personal energy costs, you can help out by recycling your old CFL bulbs.
- Replace your most frequently used light fixtures or light bulbs with ENERGY STAR brand products.
- If you're one to forget to turn lights on and off, try considering an automatic timer to turn them on and off for you at the appropriate times.
- You can avoid having to turn on extra lights by using light-colored or opaque shades on your lamps. This trick will cause the light to reflect off of more than one wall, thus brightening your room.
- Use fluorescent tubes in a large room, such as a playroom or workshop. You will require less lighting for the space by using these types of bulbs.
- Avoid using the oven to heat up leftover. Instead, use the microwave or a toaster oven. These smaller appliances use less energy than your oven would.
- If you have a second fridge in the garage that you find you're not using as much as you would like, pull the plug! Unless it's serving a large purpose in your home, it's wasting valuable energy and money.
- Set the temperature in your refrigerator to somewhere between 30 and 42 degrees. Alternatively, use the "power-save" switch if you have one on your unit.
- Check the seal on your refrigerator - is it really sealed? Repair the seal as soon as possible if you feel cold air escaping, or see moisture collecting.
- If your refrigerator was purchased prior to 1990, it's time to replace it. It's recommended that you invest in an ENERGY STAR-qualified model due their lower energy usage and cost. Choose a model with improved insulation and power-saving switches, if possible.
- While you're going around your house ridding it of dust, check your refrigerator's coils. If these go without dusting, your fridge will need to work harder and you could be paying a lot more than necessary!
- Don't keep an empty freezer! You're actually wasting energy by not packing your freezer with food. If you don't want to keep your freezer stocked with food, simply store gallons of water to save money on energy.
- When selecting appliances, always choose energy-efficient ones as they save money AND the environment!
- Do as many loads of laundry as possible one after another to avoid the dryer completely cooling off and needing to heat up again several times.
- To shorten the length of time it takes to dry your clothes, separate your clothes by light and heavy materials.
- Adjust the water usage according to the size of the laundry load being washed. Smaller loads require less water.
- In order to make sure your air conditioner is using as little energy as possible to cool your home, make sure your dryer vents to the outside of your home.
- When you wash dress clothes, hang them on hangers to air dry. This will lessen the load you need to dry and require less energy from your dryer.
- Not only does cleaning the lint filter save energy, but it also reduces the risk of a fire in your home.
- If your dishwasher has an "economy mode", it's important to make use of it in order to use less water and electricity.
- While your dishwasher may have a dry cycle, make sure to turn your dishwasher off after the wash cycle and let the dishes air-dry.
- In the summer, keep your oven door closed while cooking to prevent your AC from having to work harder. Whenever possible, cook outside on the grill to keep as much heat out of the house as you can.
- In the winter, use the heat from your oven to heat your home. When you're done cooking, turn the oven off and leave the over door cracked to allow the heat to escape and warm the room.
- Invest in copper-bottomed pots and pans. Copper uses heat more efficiently than others types of pots and pans.
- Regularly clean your stove's reflector pans in order to allow more heat to reflect upwards while cooking.
- When cooking on the stove, turn the burners off towards the end of the cooking process and let the remaining heat finish cooking the food.
- Make sure each pot and pan has a lid that fits tightly to avoid losing useful heat and energy. Having tight-fitting lids will also shorten the required cooking time.
- If you have an electric stove with a double burner, match the pot size to the burner. If you have a small pot and use the largest setting on the burner, you're wasting valuable energy.
- Kitchen and bathroom fans are useful, but make sure to turn them off when you're done with them.
- Always wash your clothing using cold water. You'll save money with every load that doesn't need to use energy to heat water.
- If you MUST use hot water for a load of laundry, make sure you're washing a full load to make the most out of your hot water usage.
- Make sure your hot water pipes are free of leaks. If there are leaks in your pipes, you could be losing energy without even knowing it.
- To reduce hot water usage in your home, install showerheads, faucets that are both aerating and low-flow.
- If you plan on leaving your home for several days, turn off your water heater. If you'd prefer, install a time for your water heater so that it will turn off at pre-selected times.
- Take showers with a time limit, and encourage your family members or roommates to do the same.
- Insulate the first six feet of the hot and cold water pipes to avoid them freezing in the winter and to avoid the loss of heat, as well.
- If you have an older water heater, invest in insulation to help it heat your water more efficiently.
- Is it time for a new water heater? Look for the EnergyGuide label when shopping. It may cost more money upfront, but it will be worth it long-term.
- Go green and install a water heater that runs on solar power.
- Your water heater's temperature does not need to be set at its highest to keep your water warm enough for your home. Reduce the temperature to 120 degrees to save money heating your water.
- Get handy around the house and fix any leaky faucets. A small drip may not seem like much, but the energy used to heat those drops of water will add up over time.
- Be careful when shopping for a water heater. Some models with promised savings due to not needed a tank or operating on-demand might actually cost you more than you expect.
- Plug your electronics into a surge protector. Make sure to turn it off when not in use.
- Keep in mind that electronics that seem "off" may still be using energy for things like clock displays and screen savers.
- ENERGY STAR-qualified TVs can be up to 30% more energy-efficient. If you have room in your budget, consider purchasing one to lower your energy bill.
- Laptops, on average, use much less energy than desktop computers. Desktop computers need to be plugged in to work and they do not have a battery option.
- Instead of opting for a screensaver when your computer isn't in use, put your computer in "sleep" or "hibernate" mode during times where it will be unused for long periods of time.
- When your laptop is fully charged, don't only unplug the computer; unplug the charger from the wall, as well.
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