9 Simple Ways to Save Energy & Lower Electric Bill
With the days of writing checks long gone, it’s easy to let months pass without really checking your regular bills. When it comes to our energy costs, we tend to deem it a necessary expense, without really considering if it’s possible to decrease it. The truth is that by making a few changes in our day-to-day habits we actually can decrease our energy costs substantially. Start by trying these nine ways to save energy today.
Ways to Save Energy You Can Start Today
1. Move Small Appliances Away from Thermostats
Air-conditioning thermostats are pretty sensitive so make sure appliances are at least a few feet away. Even small items like lamps and and TVs can affect a thermostat’s accuracy, causing it to run longer than necessary.
2. Use Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans are one of the most inexpensive ways to reduce air energy costs. A relatively small, one-time investment makes a big difference over several years. A ceiling fan enables you to raise the thermostat about 4 degrees. Four degrees might sound like a substantial difference, but with a ceiling fan, you shouldn’t notice it!
3. Install Programmable Thermostats
Programmable thermostats are all the rage these days—and for a good reason! These thermostats learn your temperature preferences and schedule and will automatically turn on/off when you come and go. These great little gadgets can save you up to $150 a year in energy costs, so even though each normally costs around $100, you make your money back in just a year. Better yet, many energy companies will reimburse you for the costs, so before you buy it, give the company a call and see what they offer.
4. Turn Electronics Off (yes, your computer!)
This one is a little shocking but leaving a desktop computer on all day can cost upward of 23 cents, or $80 a year. Considering how many appliances remain on when not being used, turning things OFF can make a big difference. It might seem a little inconvenient to turn them off every time but grouping them on multiple-outlet power strips can make things a little easier.
5. Shut the Door
When heating or cooling, try to think in terms of rooms instead of homes. It takes much less energy to just heat or cool a room so when possible, shut the door to the areas you aren’t using. Also, make sure your curtains/blinds are sealed properly, especially if there is a heat wave. Outside temperatures can really affect indoor temperatures, especially if there is no barrier to keep the air from leaking in or out.
6. Turn Your Refrigerator Down
Did you realize that up to 20% of your home electricity use could be from your refrigerator? Even though they consume a ton of energy, there are a few ways to control costs. Check the thermometer and set the temperature at 37 degrees and your freezer at 3 degrees. Also, make sure the energy saving switch is turned on and all doors are sealed tightly.
7. Understand the Sun
Understanding the power of the world’s primary heating source is key to lowering energy costs naturally. During the summer, close the shades and blinds when the air conditioner is on. Even closing them a few hours before the AC will be on will help pre-cool the room. In the winter, open the shades and blinds on sunny days but keep them closed at night to reduce heat lost through windows.
8. Decrease Water Usage
Most people separate water usage and energy costs but the two are very much related. The less hot water you use, the less energy you use. The Department of Energy states that heating water in the home is the third most consuming energy function. Of course, costs can go down by little change like taking shorter showers and turning off the water when washing dishes. It’s also possible to turn down the setting on your hot water heater, especially if you have less than 3-4 people living at home.
9. Measure Your Energy Usage
If your energy bill just keeps increasing and you’re not sure why, it’s worth $20 to purchase an electricity monitor meter. An electricity monitor meter is a little device that you can plug it into your devices to show how much energy it uses. You might be surprised at how much energy a device uses even if it is turned off! When you’re measuring your devices, make special note of the differences in usage between Energy Star and non-Energy items.
Next time your energy bill comes, take some time to to really investigate what your home costs to run on a day-to-day basis and put forth the effort to see if you can save some energy—and money!
Let us know if have other ideas on simple ways to save energy in your home!