Taking stock of your utility bill is one way you can save money, but by following these tips you will also find you are more comfortable in your home while being more energy-efficient.
1. One way that you can instantly save money is by making sure that every time you leave the room you are turning off the light switch. It seems simple enough, but many people fail to do this simple task and pay the price for leaving the lights on in the next month’s power bill.
2. It is important that you get rid of any incandescent light bulbs that are used for more than two hours at a time and replace them with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). CFLs only use 25% of the electricity of incandescent ones, which means a saving of several hundred dollars for the average household every year. They last at least eight times longer, which saves you replacement costs as well.
3. Turn off the screensaver on your desktop computer or laptop. By doing this you can save upwards of $100 a year. Sure, screensavers look attractive, but the reason they were developed was to prevent screens from burning out.
Now that technology has developed far past that stage, they are no longer required. Better yet, to save even more money, I would suggest turning off your computer completely by shutting off the surge protector.
4. Look at the appliances that you use every day to find easy ways to make your life more energy-efficient. When you replace refrigerators, dishwashers and washing machines, for example, pick a new and more efficient model.
Make sure you look at the Energy Star sticker (www.energystar.gov), and find appliances with the lowest yearly operating cost by visiting the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy website (www.eere.energy.gov/consumer).
5. There is no rating for ovens and stove tops, but there are a few things you can do to make sure these appliances are running as efficiently as possible. If you are cooking a small meal, it is a good idea that you use a microwave or a toaster oven.
And avoid opening the oven door to check on food, which lets heat out and can also interrupt the cooking process, taking longer and producing less tasty results. You can also cook energy smart on the stove top by matching the size of the pots and pans with the size of the heating element.
6. Cut down on how much water your shower uses. If you install a low-flow shower head you can save approximately 4,000 gallons (over 15,000 liters) a year. Apart from saving water, you are saving gas and electricity as well by not having to heat that excess water.
This is a project that you can do straight away; all you need to do is go to your local hardware or home goods store. Due to federal law, all shower heads will be no more than 2.5 gpm, but lower flow amounts are available as well.
7. Install a programmable thermostat. If you set the thermostat to your daily schedule you can have your home at a comfortable temperature at all times. For instance, you can set the thermostat at a level you are comfortable with for when you first wake up in the morning and also for when you return home in the evening.
8. Take stock of your appliances to see which ones you really need, and if you can do without them, get rid of them. A lot of the appliances that we now use are for convenience rather than a necessity.
Do you really need that spa or that dishwasher that you fill up with only a few dishes a day? Try going without the dishwasher for two weeks, and see how easily you can cope.