Our days are filled with energy usage: from plugging in our phone, microwaving our meals, and keeping our homes at a reasonable temperature (for both the sweltering summer and freezing winter.) We use a ton of energy. We’ve compiled some simple ways you can reduce your energy usage, and increase the money leftover in your pocket at the end of every month.
Here are five great tips for making changes around your home without breaking the bank. Tackling all five could result in massive savings on your energy bill!
1.) Install CFL or LED light bulbs
Have you ever updated the light bulbs in your house? Old incandescent bulbs burn almost four times the energy as CFLs or LED lights. CFL and LED bulbs also last longer, so you’ll be changing bulbs less often. Remember to look at the lumens number, which tells you the actual amount of light coming from each bulb, instead of the wattage.
Think about it this way: if you use a light for about four hours a day, and average electrical rates are about 12 cents per kilowatt per hour, replacing a 60-watt bulb with a 14-watt CFL or LED saves about 66 cents per month. It doesn’t sound like much, until you consider how many light bulbs you have in your home. If you replaced ten light bulbs, you could cut your bill by almost 80 dollars a year!
2.) Install a programmable thermostat
There’s no point in heating a house with no one in it, right? Invest in a programmable thermostat. They allow you to automatically set and change the temperature (both heating and cooling) when you’re at work, on vacation, or even sleeping. This cool tech-y trick won’t just impress your coworkers—it will also save you a ton on your next bill.
3.) Unplug unused devices and use power strips
We all have those devices that are always plugged in but are never used. Does your phone charger stay plugged in all day? What about your toaster and blender? Most electronic devices draw something called a phantom charge, which uses small amounts of energy that can add up quickly when you factor in an entire house-worth of appliances. This tip is simple to implement: just unplug things when you’re done!
To make it even easier for yourself, snag a few power strips with one central power button. You can turn off all your devices and stop that phantom charge with one press of a button. Bonus points for you if you install a power strip with a timer that will automatically turn off your chargers at a time you set during the day.
“Smart” power strips are a great tool for more advanced devices like your TV. A smart power strip can be programmed so your DVD player will only turn on if the television is being used.
4.) Lower the temperature on your hot water heater
Nearly a sixth of your energy costs come from your water heater. Usually, you have it set to keep water much hotter than you need. This lets heat and energy escape and you end up paying for it.
So how do you get your water heater to not be a total drain? Turn the setting down to just 125-130 degrees Fahrenheit and buy a water heater blanket to keep the heat in. Don’t worry — the money you’ll be saving in energy will pay for the blanket within about a year.
5.) Air seal your home
The energy you’re paying for is being wasted, and sometimes in hidden ways. Drafts and cracks in your home can let hundreds of dollars in energy bills escape every year. Air sealing your home can be a quick weekend project for you and your family. Energy.gov is great resource to get you started on sealing up your home to prevent air leaks and energy waste.
Whenever your bill is bringing you panic and confusion, consider these tips before calling your energy provider. Chances are, you can make a couple easy changes in your household and in return see a better bill.
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