We use energy 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In fact, you’re using energy right now, reading this article. All that energy really adds up.
Did you know that the average American household spends at least $2,200 a year in home utility bills? If you want to do something good for the environment and your wallet, check out these 13 tips for saving energy and keeping more money in the bank.
Install a programmable thermostat
We don’t tend to think about our thermostat, but if we’re heating or cooling an empty house during the day while everyone is off to work or school, we might as well be flushing money down the drain. Not only does a programmable thermostat allow you to set custom temperatures for custom times, but it will also help you lower your utility bill.
Use ceiling fans
Ceiling fans can help heating and air conditioning units operate more efficiently. Energy Star recommends setting ceiling fans to spin counterclockwise in the summer to pull hot air up, and clockwise in the winter to blow warm air towards the center of the room.
Large televisions pull four watts of power when not turned on, and anything with a power light on it is drawing energy. You could be saving a few bucks each month by unplugging coffee makers, mixers, hair dryers, speakers and other electronics around the house.
Select a lower setting on your high-pressure showerhead or fix a dripping faucet and you’ll see your utility bill decrease. Turning the water off when you brush your teeth and especially when hand-washing dishes will lower the amount of energy produced to move and heat that water.
Use the settings on the washer
Your clothes washer has different settings for a reason. Although it’s ideal to wash only full loads of clothes, if you have a small load, use the “small” setting. It will use less water and energy while getting the job done.
Fix drafty windows and doors
A small gap in the seal around a door or window can mean hundreds of dollars wasted every year. If you can see light coming in around your front door, you can be assured that heated or cooled air is going out through the same gap. It’s also a good idea to check for light coming in through an unfinished attic. If you see light along floor joists, adding insulation to those areas is an inexpensive and easy fix that could save you a lot of money in the long run.
Mind the fireplace
A fireplace provides a great source of warmth on cooler nights, but when not in use, make sure the flue is closed. This is especially important on cold nights and as temperatures begin to rise. It’s easy to forget that your fireplace is another opening in the house that can bring warm or cold air inside, forcing the heater or air conditioner to work harder.
Flip the switch
Check to make sure everyone is turning their lights off when they hustle off to work and school in the morning. Likewise, switch off ceiling fans and table lamps when no one is in the room.
Score a good deal
Some retailers offer discounts on newer, energy-efficient bulbs. Other discounts can be found for heat pumps and solar powered water heater systems. Such purchases can save you money now and into the future. Don’t forget to check for applicable tax deductions for energy-efficient items come tax time too.
Keep your freezer full
Believe it or not, a full freezer uses less energy than an empty one. To maximize its efficiency, dust the coils on the back of your freezer or refrigerator. Like most things, a well-maintained refrigerator and freezer means lower energy costs in the long run.
Change filters often
Set a calendar reminder in your phone to change heater and air conditioner filters every three to six months. Always check the lint filter on the clothes dryer. Not only will built-up lint force the dryer to work harder, but it also poses a fire hazard.
Dress for the occasion
Rather than relying so heavily on the furnace, heater or air conditioner, dress for the season. When it’s warm out, wear less. Likewise, snuggle up with one of your favorite people under a warm blanket or don a cozy sweater and thick socks when it’s cold.
Open the windows
As seasons change, many people love to open several windows in their home to let the fresh air in. This can be an excellent way to cool your home throughout the year, depending on where you live. Just be sure to turn the heat or air conditioning off. Your thermostat will try to keep the home within its set temperature range and you’ll end up wasting energy and money.
It’s easy to save money and energy while living comfortably. Get everyone in your home involved in the effort to reduce energy use and turn it into a game; kids love setting and achieving goals and adults will love cheaper utility bills. By looking at your entire house as an energy ecosystem, you may find even more ways to cut costs.
How have you reduced your energy consumption around your home?
Megan Winkler is an author, historian, Neurosculpting® meditation coach, certified nutritional consultant and DIY diva. When she’s not writing or teaching a class, Megan can be found in the water, on a yoga mat, learning a new instrument or singing karaoke. Her passion for a healthy mind-body-spirit relationship motivates her to explore all the natural world has to offer.