Monday, December 31, 2012

Knock a Zero Off of Your Energy Bills: A Practical Guide

Look for this logo when considering your new r...
Look for this logo when considering your new roofing materials (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Let’s face facts, energy is not getting any cheaper, and we use more of it now than ever before. From modern appliances to keeping your home warm through the winter, almost everything you rely on for a comfortable life at home uses energy. It is no surprise that energy bills can become one of your biggest outgoings each month, but they really do not have to be as big as they are. There are so many different ways that you can use energy more efficiently, and in the process money. Some may be obvious, some not so much, but by putting some tried and tested methods into effect you could easily knock a zero off of your energy bills. An average family in the United States spends around $2,000 or more on energy bills each year, but by following some energy saving guidelines you could reduce this amount by up to 25%.


In the Kitchen


Let’s start with the refrigerator. Your refrigerator is on 24/7, and is probably using somewhere in the region of 20% of your household’s daily energy consumption. You may have never looked at or changed the settings of your refrigerator, and if not now is the time. Switch your refrigerator temperature to 37 degrees Fahrenheit and your freezer to 3 degrees Fahrenheit, which are widely regarded as being the most energy efficient settings, use the power saver mode if your refrigerator has one, and you will make a considerable saving.

When it comes to cooking, use some common sense to save cash. Use correct sized pans and pots, keep the lids on when you are cooking to retain the heat inside, and measure water you need so you do not waste energy heating more than you will use. Also, for washing machines and dishwashers, always wait until you have a full load and run them at a low temperature. Don’t use drying cycles unless you really have too, instead let dishes air dry in a rack and put clothes out on the line to dry.


Heating and Lighting


Many water heaters are set at 140 degrees Fahrenheit, but you can easily knock that down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit and it would be hard to notice the difference. The Department of Energy claims you can save between 3 to 5 percent off you energy bills for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit you lower your water heater by, so knock it down a few more notched for extra savings! Also, take a short shower instead of a bath to save money, and attach a low-flow showerhead to save more.

Choosing the right temperature to heat and cool you home really depends on where you live, but try not to overheat or over cool your house. Research has shown that the most efficient setting for thermostats is 78 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer, 68 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter days, and 55 degrees Fahrenheit on the winter nights. Make sure you don’t leave windows or doors open when you are heating or cooling your home, because you are literally letting cash blow way into the wind.

An obvious one perhaps, but you really should have switched all your incandescent light bulbs for energy saving bulbs by now. You can save up to 75 percent on energy used for lighting by using energy efficient bulbs, so do it now if you have not.


Appliances and Gadgets


Leaving TVs, DVD players, laptops, computers, mobile phones, and pretty much anything else plugged into a wall socket means that it will be sucking juice out of the socket whether you are using it or not. Plug all your home electronic into multi-socket power strips, which can be turned off quickly so you don’t have to unplug or switch off everything from the wall socket. Appliances left of standby still use power, so get out of the habit of doing that too.


Shop Around


Don’t be afraid to switch energy providers if you think you are paying too much or an introductory offer will save you money. This is your right as a consumer, so anything you can do to save cash, do it. Also, when you by new appliances, no matter what it is, check to see if it has an ENERGY STAR label. ENERGY STAR products meet energy efficiency guidelines set out by the Department of Energy. To knock some dollars off your energy bills you should try to upgrade all your appliances so that they meet ENERGY STAR guidelines when you need to replace them. All of the tips included in this article can be easily done, and most cost nothing to do, so put them in action and watch your energy bills drop!



2 comments:

  1. Happy New Year Dave!

    Your guide is very helpful especially for the new year when we get to review our financials for the previous year. I've been finding ways to cut down on electricity bills. This is certainly worth the try. It's easy even for me!

    ReplyDelete
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