If you’re like most homeowners, the most expensive utility bill is your energy bill. Unfortunately, many homeowners accept their electricity bill for what it is, but there are simple ways to save on it. That’s right, by getting creative, you keep more of your hard-earned money in your pockets instead of handing it over to the distribution company.
Let’s take a look at simple ways to save on energy costs.
Reduce Energy Waste from Your Home
Get Rid of Phantom Energy
Do you wonder what appliances at your home use “phantom energy?” Phantom energy is the energy your electronics use when they’re plugged in and not in use. It could be adding up to 10 percent extra to your energy bill.
Here are examples of some devices to unplug when you aren’t using them:
- Televisions, surrounding sound systems, stereo equipment, and gaming consoles
- Computers, printers, monitors, and some powered PC speakers
- Cell phone chargers and battery chargers
Limit TV & Video Games Time
Depending on the size and model of your TV, it could be using between 80 and 400 watts of electricity. However, if you limit your TV or video game time, you can help lower your electricity costs. Instead, play games and do activities that do not require electricity. For example, invite friends over to play board games and do puzzles to save on energy.
Use Smart Devices
If you’re a fan of smart devices, you might also consider picking up a smart plug. You can pick up a smart plug to control from a phone or set it on a timer.
A smart plug lets you remotely turn on and off any device that’s plugged into a standard wall socket. You could use it for anything from a lamp to your computer. The choice is yours!
Replace Old Appliances with Energy Efficient upgrade
Don’t go crazy buying new expensive units if you don’t need to. But, if your washer or fridge is on its last leg, consider an energy-efficient model.
Become a Wiser Energy User
- Wash full loads
- Use cold water
- Use eco-friendly cycles
- Wash heavily-soiled clothes separately from lighter soiled ones
- Air dry when it’s nice
- Clean the lint filter every load
- Check the vent at least twice a year
- Add a dry towel
- Don’t overload the machine
- Use the auto moisture sensor
- Time your laundry so you can dry each load just after the previous one finished
- Use the smallest pot you can
- Use the right burner that fits the pot
- Don’t pre-rinse; your dishwasher should be able to handle it
- Only wash full loads
- Use “no-heat” to dry
- Clean the filter
- Use eco-friendly cycle
- Don’t overload the fridge
- Put frozen food in the fridge to defrost
- Keep the door closed
- Stay away from heat
Consider replacing all the light bulbs in your home with high-efficiency alternatives. Many municipalities offer free energy-efficient upgrades and programs. In addition, you may receive coupons and cash incentives to make the switch. Be sure to check the programs offered before spending your hard-earned money on light bulbs.
- Turn off when you’re not in the room
- Get automatic lights
- Use the right lighting for the task
- Open the blinds and use daylight
- Use low wattage
- Don’t put too many lights on a single switch
Reduce Utility Costs in the Winter
Reverse Your Ceiling Fans
What goes up must come down, most of the time. The one exception is heat. Heat always rises to the ceiling, which is the last place that we need it. To help combat this, you can reverse your ceiling fan.
Reversing the ceiling fan pushes the heat back down into the room. This will keep you warm instead of eventually leaking out of your home through the ceiling and attic.
Layer, Layer, Layer!
Layering is the easiest way to keep the temperature low in your home while staying comfortable. Layer rugs onto the floor to get rid of the discomfort of cold floors. Swap your sheets out for heat-trapping flannel sheets, and put on a sweater and cozy wool socks. There’s nothing like an evening curled up in front of the television under a heap of blankets to keep out the winter chill.
Turn the Thermostat Down
If you control your home’s heat with a thermostat, turn it down by several degrees at night or when you aren’t home. Ideally, There’s no point in heating your home when you’re not occupying it!
If you want to take it one step further, a smart thermostat will allow you to set up a schedule to adjust heat usage! You can even control a smart thermostat with your smartphone.
Add rugs to your decor
Keep the chill out by adding rugs to the room. Add an insulated rug pad for more warmth and cushion. You may even want to invest in a thermal or heated rug.
Close the fireplace damper
When not being used, reduce heat loss and make sure to keep the damper closed.
Use a ceiling fan
Fans cool using much less energy than an air conditioner. In addition, they circulate the air helping your skin evaporate moisture quicker.
Turn the Thermostat Up
When you’re not home in the summer, turn up the temperature. No one is home to enjoy the cool air. Changing it by just a few degrees can make a vast improvement on your bill.
Hang Up Your Laundry to Dry Instead of Using the Dryer
Is it a nice sunny day outside? Instead of throwing your laundry in the dryer, save on energy by hanging them on a clothesline? Better yet, if you’d rather not hang your clothes up in your backyard, you can always hang up your clothes indoors.
This is a good backup plan when it’s raining outside. It’s also a great alternative when electricity demand increases over the summer or winter months.
Research Solar Panels and Incentives
Consider Solar Panels
Solar panels are a great way to reduce your hydro/energy bill, but they can be quite costly to buy and install. Luckily, sometimes the government offers retrofit programs to help share the cost and decrease your financial burden. Do your research on solar panels and see if it’s worth it. It may take a few years to break even on the savings.
Apply for Energy-saving Grants
Depending on where you live, the government might offer energy savings grants or energy conservation programs. Before you undertake any energy-efficiency projects, see if you can get any money back from the government.
Speaking of which, a small business owner can write off energy costs associated with their home business activities.
Weatherize Your Home
Saving money on heating and cooling costs starts with eliminating ways for air to escape from your home. That means sealing drafts and gaps in your home. For windows, a $10 tube of caulk can seal up air drafts and gaps around window frames and door frames.
Make sure to get the type specifically for windows and doors. There are many tutorials available online that will show how to master the art of caulking. On top of caulking, consider Installing weather stripping around your doors.
This will stop hot air that leaks out or in under the doors of your home. If you don’t want to splurge on weather stripping, stuffing a towel into the gap will slow heat leakage slightly.
Do not DIY this step. Instead, buy the specialised outlet insulation kits available at your home hardware store. Then, take the faceplates off your electrical outlets located on exterior walls and install insulation pads over each one. These insulation pads will decrease the amount of air that escapes around the outlet and out of your home.
Get the Right Amount of Insulation Installed
Instead of complaining that your home is drafty inside, why not do something about it? Hire a company to install better insulation and watch your home energy bill plummet.
If you’re handy, you can save money on installation by doing the work yourself.
Get The Family In On Energy Saving Activities
Save on energy by staying away from home doing cheap or free activities. Or go old school and opt for some electricity-free fun.
Plan a Day Trip or go Hiking
Just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you have to stay at home! You can plan day trips or even weekend trips; you’ll see new areas you might never have explored before. Go hiking with friends, spend a day at the beach, or drive to your closest lake. Going somewhere for a day can feel like you’re escaping home, with the bonus that it doesn’t cost that much to do.
If you want to save even more, plan to go with a bigger group of friends. This way, you’ll be able to split the price of accommodation between more people.
Don’t Drive as Much
When the weather’s nice, why stay in your stuffy car? Save on gas and parking, and ride your bike around the city instead. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also find an easy way to get in your daily exercise too.
Break Out The Board Games
A deck of cards or a good game of Monopoly is a great way to bond with the family and save some money unless you land on Boardwalk with two hotels.
You don’t have to try all these ideas if your goal is to save on energy. The savings can add up over time by picking and choosing two or three that are best suited to you. Not only will you be helping the environment, but you’ll also have more money in your pockets, too!
Learn more about saving money with our other budgeting tips.