We all know saving energy is good for the environment, but it’s also a great way to save money. Still, many consumers just don’t know where to start or how to reduce their gas and electricity usage without spending a bundle on home improvements. Fortunately, there are a variety of lifestyle changes you can make that will save energy and, thus, money.
When your furnace constantly runs on a low heat can be thoroughly more economical than switching it off and on for big blasts of heat. Take some time to fully understand the various settings on your thermostat. The knowledge can really pay off.
Keep it Cool
It’s a lot cheaper to invest in an extra blanket, robe and a pair of slippers than it is to heat many homes to what residents feel comfortable. Snuggle up and keep the thermostat down, ideally 68 degrees or below!
Keep the Refrigerator Stocked
Did you know that empty space in your fridge or freezer causes the appliance to use more energy? Keeping them full allows them more easily stay cold and, therefore, use less energy.
Baking several meals at a time allows you to turn on the oven less often. You can take even more advantage of the oven by leaving the door open after cooking, allowing the heat to escape into your home and warm it up.
Wash on Cold
As much as 90 percent of a washing machine’s energy expenditure is spent heating the water, so washing your clothes in cold water can save significant amounts of energy and money.
Allow your laundry to air dry instead of tumbling it in the dryer. Not only will you save energy, but your clothes will smell wonderful.
Even when turned off, appliances and electronics will draw electricity. Save money by unplugging those that aren’t regularly used. Even chargers will use electricity when they aren’t charging a device!
Opening your curtains on sunny days will allow the sun’s warmth into your home. Likewise, keeping curtains drawn when it’s dark or cold outside will help keep the heat in.
Change the Bulbs
Believe it or not, lighting your home accounts for as much as 20 percent of its electrical use. Change your traditional incandescent bulbs to more energy-efficient options, including fluorescent and LED. You’ll not only save energy, but the bulbs will last months or years longer.
Change the Filter
Your furnace will be dramatically more efficient when its filter is clean. Check the furnace filter once a month during heating season, and make sure to change or clean it when it’s dirty.
Seal It Up
Caulk windows, doors and anywhere air can leak in or out of your home, excluding around the water heater and furnace exhaust pipes. Use weather strips around windows and doors, and wrap heating and cooling ducts with duct tape or use another sealant.
Lower Water Temperature
Set your water heater thermostat no higher than 140 degrees. Better yet, if your dishwasher can use 120 degree water, set the water heater at the lower level.
A dripping faucet may not seem like a big deal, but it can actually waste as much as 212 gallons a month. Not only does that increase your water bill, but it increases gas or electricity used by the water heater.
Close the Chimney
If you have a fireplace, make sure the damper is closed when it’s not being used. Likewise, avoid using the fireplace and furnace at the same time.
Wash Full Loads
Use your dishwasher more efficiently by only washing full loads and using the shortest cycle that still gets the dishes clean. Also, if your dishwasher’s operating instructions allow, shut the dishwasher off before it shifts into its drying cycle. Instead, open the door and allow the dishes to air dry.
Skip the Dehumidifier
A dehumidifier can cost as much as $50 a month to operate. Instead, try to reduce the humidity in your home or basement by venting your clothes drier to the outside, checking that your gutters and drainspouts are clear of debris and soil outside your home slopes away from the foundation. Reducing the moisture in and around your home can dramatically reduce the time you need to run the dehumidifier.
Take a Shower
Showers use less hot water than filling the bath tub, especially if you use a water-efficient shower head.
What steps have worked best for you in reducing your energy bills?