During the extremely hot days of summer or the frigid winter months, you can watch your electricity meter spin rapidly as you rack up energy bills to keep your home comfortable. By the end of the month, you’re left with a massive fee from your energy provider for high usage that is actually totally preventable.
There are very easy ways you can save money on energy in your home; let’s take a look at some easy changes you can make so you are never faced with an outrageous bill ever again.
- Seal Your House
Even if you take perfect care of your residential air conditioning or heater, if you have a leaky or drafty house, you’re going to rack up major energy bills. Seal up your house so that you don’t leak your air conditioning outside during the summer or feel the drafty winter winds inside your home during the winter.
Insulate your attic and your exterior walls. You can use batt insulation in your attic, but spray-in works best for your walls, unless you’re willing to tear out existing drywall.
Check your windows for leaks. Make sure your frame is secure and tight, and your window locks latch properly. The same goes for your doors. Rubber or foam seals are quite inexpensive at your local hardware store and are easy to install. In the winter, you could even apply plastic to your windows to help block drafts. This is especially smart if your home has older, single-pane windows.
- You’re Keeping Your House Too Cold or Warm
Manual thermostats stay at whatever temperature you tell them to. You have to physically press buttons or twist the knob on your thermostat to change the temperature in real-time. You probably set your thermostat to the coldest temperature you can stand in the summer, and the warmest in winter – we get it: you want to be comfortable in your home.
However, operating your heater or air conditioner on a manual thermostat will cost you lots of money. A programmable thermostat that raises or lowers the temperature in your home automatically can actually save you a bundle. You can tell your programmable thermostat to raise or lower the temperature of your home when you aren’t there during the day, but warm or cool it off before you get off work, so that you walk into a comfortable living space. You can also program your thermostat to be an optimal temperature while you sleep – so that you can be cozy under blankets in the winter or rest under just a sheet in the summer – and obtain the perfect temperature for getting out of bed and into the shower. Automatic adjustments like these will decrease your energy costs; after all, you can’t adjust your manual thermostat while you’re asleep or outside the home.
Set your thermostat to the warmest possible temperature you can in the summer, just before you start feeling uncomfortable. If you need a throw blanket on your sofa during the summer, you’re responsible for the massive energy bill you’re about to receive in the mail. In the winter, keep your home as cool as you can stand it. Wear sweaters and socks to keep warm. If you can wear shorts and tank tops in your home during the winter, again, you’re going about energy savings all wrong.
3. Use the Sun to Your Advantage
In the summer, the sun heats up your house, making your air conditioner work overtime and eventually having you call your local HVAC expert for air conditioner repairs. Invest in black-out curtains or other thicker curtains and blinds to block the sun from entering your windows.
In the winter, you might want to pull back those curtains and let the sunlight stream in to ease the load on your heating system, which could lead to needing some serious residential heating repairs. Or, those thick curtains may come in handy to block your drafty windows and give your furnace a break.
- You Need a New Furnace or Air Conditioner
If you’ve watched your energy bill go up and up and up, and you know you aren’t using your HVAC systems any differently than in years past, you probably are having a major issue with your heating or cooling system and should consider replacing it within the next few years.
Older HVAC systems aren’t as efficient as modern ones, which means you’ll pay far more on your gas or electric bill than you should. In fact, a new furnace or air conditioner could pay for itself within just a couple of years. The U.S. Department of Energy supports this idea: You can save up to 40 per cent in energy costs by replacing your equipment and upgrading to a more efficient model.
- Turn Off All the Lights When You Aren’t in a Room
It’s tempting to leave the light over the stove on at all times to serve as a safety light, or just to make your home seem more welcoming. Similarly, you might turn on all the lights in your living room, even if you aren’t doing an activity that requires good lighting and visibility.
Being cognizant of how much energy you use just from overhead lights or lamps and turning them off when they aren’t vital to the activity you’re doing will reduce your overall energy bills, even if it’s just by a few dollars.
- Convert to Energy-Efficient Bulbs
Old-school fluorescent and incandescent bulbs are energy-sucks compared to LEDs. When LEDs first came out, they seemed a little unaffordable but promised around a decade of use before needing to be replaced. Today, they’re much cheaper, so it’s the perfect time to slowly replace all the light bulbs around your home as they burn out.
Don’t waste money replacing functional light bulbs just for the sake of putting in LEDs. Wait until they burn out, then twist in your new light bulb. You’ll be impressed by better light quality and a much cheaper electric bill.
Other Ideas to Consider
When it comes to saving money on your energy bills, you should pull out all the stops you can think of. You might also consider:
- Installing solar panels.
- Unplugging any lamp or other electronic device when you don’t need to use it. Leaving plugs in outlets can slowly drain energy.
- Closing vents in rooms you don’t regularly use to divert heating or cooling to rooms that you spend the most time in.
- Dressing appropriately for the season, so you can keep your home at a reasonable temperature when you’re inside.
What other ways have you discovered to save money on your monthly energy bill?