We spend thousands of dollars every year on utilities – be it electricity, gas or water. According to EIA’s 2014 report, Americans pay on average $114.11 every month for electricity alone. That’s over $1,300 a year! Yet, we rarely stop to analyse our habits and daily behavior in relation to these costs. And we should. Not only is responsible consumption of resources the only way forward for environmental reasons, it also makes a lot of financial sense. While drastically changing your daily routine may be difficult, there are numerous things you can do to save energy and, as a result, money that require only minor adjustments. In fact, you can reduce your energy bill by up to 20% with these tricks. So, read up!
Identify energy vampires
No, we are not talking about people who drain all the energy out of you. We are talking about appliances – an electric kettle, an electric toothbrush, phone and computer chargers, lamps, AC units, washing and drying machines, etc.
There is absolutely no reason why these items need to be plugged in 24/7, especially since they account for anywhere between 5% and 10% of our daily energy consumption. So, you have two options: unplug these items and only plug them in when in usage or invest in energy saving plugs. You can then turn off the plugs with a simple remote control and you can find various models, some of which will cost you as little as $10.
Make your home warmer
Spend less on heating and AC by insulating your home. There are various types of insulation, including blanket insulation, concrete block insulation, foam board insulation and others. If you are looking for a long-term solution, we definitely recommend investing time and money in an insulation project. However, you can also make your home warmer with a simple window insulation kit, which will set you back only $15.
Save energy when washing/drying your clothes
Your washing machine alone accounts for 7% of your energy bill. Much of this energy goes towards heating up the water. And in most cases, it is really unnecessary. Unless your clothes are extremely dirty and have heavy stains, opt out for shorter cycles and cold water. According to Houselogic, the average American family washes 300 loads of laundry a year. Now think of how many of these loads really require long cycles or hot water? Washing in cold water will allow you to save 40 cents per load! And if you have to wash in hot water, then make sure you’re washing a full load. The energy usage will be the same, but you’ll get more clothes clean.
Eliminating dryers from your laundry routing will save energy and substantially reduce your bill. Even a modern dryer consumes as much energy as your refrigerator, a dishwashing machine and a washing machine combined! So, why not let your clothes air dry? At least every now and then.
Replace your old light bulbs with energy efficient lights
An average household spends about 5% of its electricity on lighting. There are numerous options on the market for energy efficient lights, including halogen incandescents, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). They may be a bit more expensive than regular old light bulbs, but they last much longer and consume less energy.
Furthermore, consider installing automation devices that would control, such as movement light sensors especially outside or in the bathroom. Families who have kids will especially appreciate this little device, which will eliminate the need to constantly remind your child to turn off that light.
Another lighting tip: place your floor lamps in the corner of the room as the light will be reflected from two walls, increasing the brightness of the area.
Don’t keep your refrigerator/freezer too cold
Recommended temperatures are 35˚-38˚F for refrigerators and 0˚F for separate freezers for long-term storage. There is no need to make the fridge/freezer any cooler. Your food will stay just as fresh, but your energy bill will go down.
If you live in a house, plant trees in your yard. It will take a few years for you to enjoy the benefits, but it will have a direct impact on your energy consumption down the line. Since they provide shade and protect your house from direct sunlight, you’ll be able to save on air conditioning. Plus, placing your air conditioner in the shade of a tree allows you to increase its efficiency by up to 10%.
As you can see, most of these tips don’t require major life style adjustments. You simply need to critically evaluate every item in your household as well as its usage and you will discover that there are, in fact, countless ways to save energy and money.