For many homeowners, energy bills take a big chunk out of the monthly budget.
Between heating and cooling, appliances, electronics, lighting, and water heating, receiving the electric bill might make you think twice about modern conveniences and consider going back to candles and a wood stove.
There’s no need to make such a drastic lifestyle change, though. With a few tweaks to your home, you can reduce your energy bills.
Look for Leaks
Heating and cooling make up the biggest percentage of your electric bills, at about 50 percent combined.
While installing programmable thermostats and simply wearing the right clothing can help reduce your usage, if you have leaky doors and windows, you’re just throwing money away.
Make a point to regularly check the doors and windows for drafts or leaks and fix them quickly.
Adding weather stripping or replacing the caulking or seals can go a long way towards keeping the heated or cooled air in, but if your windows are old and inefficient, no amount of repair is going to solve the problem.
Call an Atlanta window replacement company to install new, high-efficiency windows that will help maintain the temperature in your home while also increasing its value.
Keep up with Maintenance
Replacing the filters on your furnace, air conditioner, or HVAC system on a regular basis can do a lot to keep your energy bills down, while also extending the life of your systems.
When these filters get dirty, not only does the air in your home have more lint, dust, pollen, and other allergens in the air, but your systems have to work that much harder to work properly.
Changing the filters a few times per year ensures that these systems run as efficiently as possible, lowering costs.
Use Your Appliances Efficiently
Your major appliances – the refrigerator, dishwasher, washer and dryer – usually comprise about 10 percent of your electric bill, but they could be adding more to the bill if they aren’t running efficiently, are too old, or you aren’t being smart about when you use them.
The best way to keep your appliances in tip-top condition is to maintain them and make sure they are running as they should.
For a refrigerator, for instance, cleaning the coils on a regular basis to keep them clear of dust and debris is key to keeping them running smoothly.
With any appliances, if you notice a problem, get it fixed right away to avoid bigger issues and more energy usage.
Older appliances are also significantly less energy efficient – by as much as 50 percent – than newer models.
While this doesn’t mean you need to replace everything at once, it’s a good idea to plan to replace anything that’s ten years old or older.
You might think that refrigerator from 1996 still runs great, but it’s using upwards of 50 percent or more energy than a new Energy Star model.
Regardless of the age of your appliances, using them correctly can cut the bills. This includes:
- Washing clothes in cold water.
- Using dryer balls to cut drying time, or better yet, drying clothes outdoors when you can. If you are doing multiple loads of laundry, do them consecutively, as the dryer stays warm and doesn’t require as much electricity to heat up.
- Running appliances during periods when the rates are lower; check with your power company to find out when rates are in effect.
- Raising the temperature on the fridge and freezer. Just a couple of degrees warmer will still keep your food cool and safe but reduce energy usage.
- Only running the dishwasher when it’s full, and avoid using rinse and hold or sanitize cycles, as they use more electricity and water.
Getting into the habit of turning off lights and other electronic devices when you leave the room is important for keeping electric bills low, but to really see a difference, take it one step further and unplug items when they aren’t in use.
Even when electric devices are turned off, they are still drawing a small electrical current, which adds up over time. If unplugging items proves cumbersome, use a power strip with a switch to make it easy to cut the current.
Focusing on how much electricity your home really uses and finding ways to conserve can make a big difference in how much you pay for energy every month, without adversely impacting your lifestyle.
Try some of these tricks, and see how much you can save.