For just a few bucks or some very simple changes in your lifestyle you can save hundreds if not thousands of dollars on your electric bill annually. Here are 5 simple ways you can reduce these utility costs.
- Buy a programmable thermostat (room sensors)
If you turn your thermostat back seven to 10 degrees while you’re at work, you can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling. You can get more information on these thermostats at https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/thermostats Some electric companies even offer rebates for the purchase!
- HVAC Maintenance
Annual maintenance to extend the life of your HVAC equipment. Change your filters regularly – how often depends on several factors: Quality of the filter (30 days for cheap fiberglass; 90 for thick pleated); Does someone have asthma or allergies (every 6 weeks); Pets (every 2 months); How often your system runs each day
Want to save up to 15% of your annual utility bill? Make sure your home is air sealed and well insulated. A great website to understand this can be found at https://www.energystar.gov/campaign/seal_insulate/methodology Also, check with your electric company for special programs where you can possibly get free insulation!
About 5% of your energy budget goes to lighting. Turn the lights off when you’re not in a room. Buy energy efficient light bulbs which can typically use about 25%-80% less energy than traditional incandescent, saving you money. They can also last 3-25 times longer. To start, just pick the five most used fixtures in your house and replace the bulbs with ones who’ve earned the ENERGY STAR, and you can save about $75 a year. For more information on these light bulbs and how much more you can save check out https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/save-electricity-and-fuel/lighting-choices-save-you-money/how-energy-efficient-light
- Water heating
Heating water can take up to 18% of your home energy use according to https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/heat-and-cool/water-heating One very simple way to cut costs is pretty obvious – take shorter and/or colder showers. You can also turn the temp down on your water heater. Although some manufacturers set water heater thermostats at 140ºF, most households usually only require them to be set at 120ºF, which also slows mineral buildup and corrosion in your water heater and pipes. Water heated at 140ºF also poses a safety hazard—scalding whereas only a slight risk at 120ºF. If you do this you can use a dishwasher detergent that contains a ‘boost’ to get your dishes just as clean. For just a few bucks you can also insulate water heater and the hot water pipes (check with utility company for free or rebates).
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