conserving energy at home

11 Ways to Celebrate National Cut Your Energy Costs Day

January 10th is National Cut Your Energy Costs Day! Every year, a day is set aside to remind you of the importance of conserving energy at home and tips for reducing your costs. With auto-pay settings and paperless billing, it can be easy to forget about natural gas and electricity – at least until you get hit with a huge bill.

Here are some simple ways to cut your energy costs and save more of your hard-earned money:

Ways to Cut Lighting Costs

1. Use LED lightbulbs

LED lightbulbs may be more expensive, but they use way less energy and last a lot longer. Switching to LED lightbulbs, especially for your most-used lights, will save money in the long run. See the comparison chart below from thesimpledollar.com:

Comparing Costs: CFLs vs. LEDs

Comparing Costs: CFLs vs. LEDs via The Simple Dollar

2. Install dimmer switches

While you’re at it, consider installing dimmer switches on your overhead lights. A dimmer light reduces the amount of energy being used.

3. Turn off the lights

You know that you should do this, but too often we walk through our homes and realize that every single light is on. Keeping unused lights turned off is one the fastest and easiest ways to reduce your lighting energy costs.

How to Save Electricity Used by Electronics

4. Unplug to avoid phantom energy costs

Have you ever heard the term “phantom energy?” It’s as scary as it sounds, because it’s costing you money! Any plugged-in electronic draws power, even if it’s turned off. While it’s impractical to unplug everything in your home, here are some things that may be easy to keep unplugged:

  • Coffeemaker
  • Blender
  • Toaster
  • Toaster oven
  • Hair dryer
  • Hair straightener/curling iron
  • Electric razor
  • Electric toothbrushes
  • Chargers – e-readers, phones, tablets, laptops

Also, unplugging electronics and lamps before you go on an extended vacation is another easy way to put this into practice. Your wallet and the environment will thank you.

5. Invest in energy efficient appliances

New appliances may cost a lot upfront, but they can save a ton on energy costs if you still have old, energy-draining appliances. Look for the ENERGY STAR certification to make sure you’re getting optimal performance and conserving energy at home.

Ways to Lower Heating & Cooling Costs

6. Get a smart thermostat

Smart thermostats are another upfront investment, but they quickly save more than their cost by reducing energy usage. You can set timer settings or change the temperature from an app to use energy more efficiently. Many also have motion sensors that reduce energy use when you’re not home. Learn more about smart home energy management here.

7. Use your window coverings

Windows are a prime source of energy loss, but blinds and curtains can help without having to invest in new energy-efficient windows. In the summer, closing blinds or curtains prevents the sun from heating up the interior. In the winter, opening window coverings during sunny days can help heat your home, and then closing the blinds or drapes overnight can reduce heat loss.

8. Check your overhead fan

Overhead fans spin in two directions, and this function actually has a purpose. In the summer, you want the fan to spin counter clockwise (as you look up at the fan). This pushes air down toward the middle of the room, creating a wind chill effect that makes you feel cooler. The higher the speed, the greater this effect will be.

In the winter, fan blades should run clockwise at a low speed. This gently pulls air up from the middle of the room and pushes it down and out. This circulates the warmer air back down into the room, while avoiding the wind chill effect.

9. Get your HVAC and furnace serviced

Get right to the source of your heating and cooling: your HVAC system and your furnace. When these aren’t running at peak performance, your energy bills go up and you reduce the life of your system. Annual maintenance can prevent and identify any problems, keeping your heating and cooling running smoothly throughout the year.

10. Reduce hot water usage

Heating water takes a lot of energy, especially in the coldest days of winter. Using the dishwasher instead of hand washing, washing clothes on the lowest heat setting possible, and taking shorter, cooler showers all reduce your hot water usage.

 

11. Change your Energy Supplier

Thanks to deregulation of the energy industry, consumers have a choice in who supplies their natural gas and electricity. You may be able to get a lower price by changing energy suppliers!

The utility companies still own and maintain the gas pipes and electricity lines, so they are still in charge of delivery, billing, and service. Only the supplier listed on your utility bill and the rate you pay changes when you switch energy suppliers.

Volunteer Energy is a trusted energy supplier for natural gas and electricity in the Midwest. We have fixed rate, variable rate, and guaranteed savings plans to help our customers control their energy costs. View our rates today to see if you can save money on your natural gas and electricity by switching to Volunteer Energy!

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