Everyone wants to save money, and one of the best ways to do that is with your energy bill. Below, you will find some of the best and simplest ways to reduce your energy costs. They aren’t difficult to do, and they could help you keep a lot more money in your pocket and out of the hands of the electric company. Start using these for year round savings and to help reduce your carbon footprint.
Change Out Your Light Bulbs
While this one might seem nice and easy, you will be surprised at just how few people make this change. For some reason, a lot of people continue to use the older style light bulbs that suck up a lot of energy whenever they are in use.
Instead, consider using the CFL bulbs or LED light bulbs. They are sturdy and capable of providing you with 10,000 hours of light, and they only use a small amount of electricity compared with the incandescent bulbs that far too many people are still using.
If you change out all of the bulbs in your house that you can with this option, you will start to see some savings over the course of the year just from this change alone. Of course, when you start to add the other tips we discuss below, you can save even more energy.
Although there is the initial cost of buying CFL or LED lighting, you will find that they more than pay for themselves. Not only will you be saving on your energy bill, but the bulbs last for a long time. This means you will need to replace them less often.
Consider Dimmer Switches
Light dimmer switches can be another good way to save energy. They can reduce the amount of energy flowing to a bulb, which can mean less wasted energy when you are in a situation where you don’t need full light. These switches can also help to lengthen the life of your bulbs further. Just keep in mind that not all bulbs will work with dimmers. You will need to make sure you are using bulbs that will work with the dimmer.
Use and Turn Off Power Strips
Were you aware that a lot of appliances, gadgets, and lamps you have around the house continue to cause an energy drain even when they are off? They can keep using electricity like an energy vampire, which means you are going to be paying more than you should for the cost of your energy bill each month.
The Department of Energy has said that 75% of the electricity used by home electronics happens when they are turned off. You don’t want to pay for energy that you aren’t using, but that’s exactly what’s happening.
Fortunately, there are relatively simple ways to handle this sort of problem. You can use power strips to plug them in and then turn off the power strip, so they don’t keep using energy. An even easier option is to use smart power strips, which can automatically turn off your electronics when they are not in use.
Install Smart Switches
You might be able to save up to $100 per year when you install smart light switches in your home. You’ve probably left rooms and have forgotten to turn off the lights before. it happens all the time and it could be costing you a lot more on your energy bills than you realize.
A simple solution that could work well for some households is to have smart switches. One option would be to have motion sensors. When the lights don’t detect movement in the room after a certain length of time, the lights will turn off. You could also opt to have a smart system that connects to your phone, so you can check on and control your lights remotely.
Whether you have kids that forget to turn off the lights or it’s you, this could be a good option. Just keep in mind that if you have pets, their motion is likely to see off any lights that you have on motion sensors.
Get a Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat can have some great benefits. One of the biggest of those benefits is that they can help you save a lot of money. You no longer have to worry that you might be heating or cooling your home while you are away and wasting money. You can fight the high electric bill with a programmable thermostat you can schedule. Set it up to adapt to your routine. The automation makes it easy. Once you set it, you can forget it.
Your home will be more energy efficient, and you could even cut costs further with zoning in some cases. Zoning simply means that you divert the air conditioning or heating to certain areas at certain times. This can give you even more control over your monthly energy bill.
Some of these thermostats can be controlled remotely, and they can provide system alerts if there is an issue or if something needs to be serviced.
Maintain the HVAC System
You also need to make sure that you have well-maintained HVAC equipment. Regardless of how simple or complex it might be, it’s going to require a certain level of maintenance from time to time. While you might be able to do some of the upkeep, such as changing filters, it’s often a good idea to call in a professional at least once or twice per year.
You will learn about any issues that need serious repairs before they become a big problem. It will also help to ensure better efficiency for your home. They can also check for things like air leaks and heat loss that could be increasing your electric bill. Experts can clean out the air ducts, too.
Use Fans for Air Circulation
The heat of Texas can oftentimes be unbearable. Naturally, you want to turn on air conditioners to get some respite from the heated air that seems trapped in the house. Of course, the air conditioner is going to be costly, and it is not a green solution. Other homes aren’t fortunate enough to have an air conditioner at all.
Regardless, you can use ceiling fans, standing fans, and table fans as a means to help circulate the air.
While it’s not as cool as AC, it can help to cool the house down, especially when you open up a window and get some air circulating through the house. It can help to cool things down by a few degrees, and it might make it a little easier to get to sleep at night.
You will find that this can be a good way to save energy. Even if you are only cutting down your use of the air conditioner each week, it’s better than running it around the clock.
Off-Peak Hours for Appliances
When are you using things like your washer and dryer? If you are using them in the middle of the day, you are going to be spending too much money on your energy bill. The daytime, and up until the early evening hours tend to be what is known as peak hours. The energy costs are higher at this time.
You can save electricity when you choose to wait until later in the evening to handle the washing and drying. Different locales may have different peak hours, so you will want to check to see what the peak hours are in your area.
In Texas, the peak demand tends to be from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Partial peak hours are from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Off peak is any time outside of that. Therefore, you will want to use your major appliances like the washer and dryer during the off peak hours to get the best savings.
Use a Clothesline If Possible
Something else to think about when you are doing your laundry is to do the drying using the power of nature. Instead of stuffing everything inside of the dryer, why not put it outside on a clothesline if you have the space in your backyard. The Texas sunshine lets natural heat dry your clothes. Line drying is going to save energy since you won’t be using the dryer.
However, you’ll find that outside drying has an added benefit for your house. Even when you have clean dryer and air ducts, you will find that the laundry room and the house are going to become unbearably hot when the dryer is on in the middle of summer.
On the other hand, if it’s winter, and you want to heat the home without turning on your HVAC system, you can use the dryer and open the door to the laundry room. Let the heat from the dryer help to warm your house. You could do the oven door after you have finished cooking. Turn off the oven but leave the oven door open to let the residual heat move into the rest of the house.
Use Less Hot Water
How much hot water are you using each day? Many people are using far more hot water than they realize. You use hot water for showers, washing the dishes, doing laundry, and more.
If you want to reduce your energy costs significantly, talk with your family about being more cognizant of how they are using hot water. Reduce the time of your shower by a few minutes. Don’t start the hot water and let it run while you are going to the bathroom, brushing your teeth, etc. Lower the temperature of the shower. Wash more of your clothes in cold water if possible.
Don’t use the dishwasher when you can instead wash by hand, and don’t keep the water running while you wash. This can help you save money on water and electricity.
Use a Tankless Water Heater
The EPA estimates that using a tankless water heater will use up to 34% less energy than a traditional storage tank water heater for those who are using 41 gallons or less of hot water daily. They are still between 8% and 14% more energy efficient for those who are using around 86 gallons of hot water per day.
Although there will be the initial cost of getting one of these hot water heaters if you do not have one of them already, the savings they can provide make them a good investment for many homes.
There’s another good tip for saving energy with your hot water heater, and that can help you to reduce your costs. Adjust the temperature. For most water heaters, the default setting is 140 degrees. Instead, you can reduce this to 120 degrees. This could help to lower your costs by 10%.
Change the Freezer and Fridge Temperatures
Your refrigerator and freezer might be using more energy than you realize because of their current temperature settings. You want them to be set at temperatures where they are working efficiently and are not using too much energy. What is the ideal temperature?
The freezer should be between 4 and 5 degrees Fahrenheit. The refrigerator should be between 37 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit. You can use digital thermometers to double-check the temperatures and to make sure they are dialed in properly if you don’t have a newer model that comes with digital tuning.
Clean Dryer Ducts
If you have a clogged lint screen or dryer duct, the dryer is going to be inefficient. It’s not going to get the clothes dry and it doesn’t matter whether you have a gas or an electric model. This means you might have to run the dryer several times to get things properly dry, and we know what a problem this will be. It takes a long time, wastes energy, and is going to end up heating up the house. Lint buildup is also a common cause of fires.
What you should do is make sure that you clean out your lint trap after each use, and that you clean the dryer duct at least once per year. You could clean the dryer duct yourself, or you could hire someone to do it for you.
Get Better Appliances
Do you have a lot of old appliances around your house? The problem with many older appliances, even though they might still technically work, is that they are often going to be inefficient. This means they are going to be using more energy to do the work. You are going to end up spending a lot more on your electricity bill, and it will get worse the longer you have these appliances.
What you may want to consider doing is upgrading to Energy Star models. Many brands today are making Energy Star appliances for a host of different types of products including washers, dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, and more. These are highly efficient, and they are made to help you to save on your electricity bill.
While you might balk at the cost of new appliances this year, you will find that they can help save money on the electric bill from the moment they are installed and for many years to come.
Check Seals on Doors and Windows
Is your house airtight or do you have some air leaks here and there? You will find that any gaps around the windows, AC units, doors, chimneys, etc. could be a problem. They are letting air into and out of the house, and this means you could be wasting a substantial amount of energy.
Cold air could be getting out in the summer. Hot air might be escaping in the winter. You could save money by checking for and repairing any of these gap areas around your home. If you don’t want to do any of the resealing yourself, you could always hire someone to do it for you.
You may be losing more energy than you realize through gaps and holes that are quite small. It’s worth taking the time to go around the house and to look for these areas.
Switch Electricity Providers
Here’s something that you can do when you are in Texas and that you can’t always do in other locations. If you find that you are paying too much for your energy, check out your energy contract. How much longer do you have left on the contract? If you are near the expiration date, you should start to look for alternative providers that can offer you cheaper rates.
Of course, you want to make sure those cheaper rates are going to last and won’t suddenly go up after a couple of months.
If you aren’t near your expiration date, you might still be able to get out of your contract, even though you might have to pay an early termination fee. If you find that the amount you could save is greater than that fee, it might be worth it. You may want to talk with an energy broker before making your decision, though.
Use These Tips for Energy Savings and Keep Finding More
These are some of the best ways you can make your home more energy efficient and reduce your energy costs all year long now and in the future. You will find that most of the tips above are also quite easy to implement. However, a lot of people don’t follow through either because they forget, or they don’t realize just how much it could help them to save when they combine several of these tips.