After housing, car payments and food, energy bills are the biggest line item in most family’s budgets. Fortunately, there are many ways to save on your energy bill that doesn’t require the same disruptions to your life that moving to a new address, selling your car, or living off rice and beans entail. Here are four simple ways to save on your energy bills.
There’s a reason auto insurance companies say talk to us for ten minutes and you may save ten percent; the current provider you are using may not be offering you the best rate and relies on renewals and ignorance to make a profit. The same is true for your utility providers. There are websites that allow you to compare electricity providers and pick one that is right for you. Maybe you pick an electricity provider that charges less per kilowatt hour, or you can switch to one that rewards you for shifting appliance usage to the evening and weekends. In other cases, you may pay the same rate you currently pay when you switch providers but receive incentives to switch like gift cards and rewards that make it worth your while.
Maintain Your HVAC Systems
Using heat generating appliances during the coldest part of the day is rarely practical. Instead, start with replacing the air filters on your air conditioners and furnaces before they get clogged and reduce how long they have to run to generate the same indoor air temperatures. Replace these filters every three months or whenever they turn gray. The side benefit of this action is reducing the wear and tear on the blowers and motors working longer and harder to move air through a clogged air intake filter.
Arranging for an annual HVAC inspection to find leaks in the ductwork will prevent energy being wasted on heating and cooling air that escapes to the attic or outside. These inspections will detect refrigerant leaks that cause an air conditioner or heat pump to run twice as long for the same effect, wearing out the unit while wasting energy.
Purchase Energy Efficient Light Bulbs
Stockpile a variety of LED light bulbs, and replace your current light bulbs as they burn out with more energy efficient ones. Compact fluorescent light bulbs, in particular, are worth the effort since they use half or less as much energy to put out the same glow. Don’t forget the classic advice, too, for saving energy on lighting – turn out the lights when you don’t need them.
In Hot Water – the Right Way
You can save some money by turning down your hot water heater’s temperature. Keep it about 120 degrees to reduce the risk of bacteria growing in it. Wrap the hot water heater in insulation so that less energy is wasted as it warms the closet instead of the water. Check for hot water heater leaks so you don’t waste energy heating water that is then lost.
If you want to reduce your energy bills, shop around for lower electric rates. Have your heating and air conditioning systems inspected and maintained regularly, turn off the lights, and as they go dark, replace them with energy-efficient bulbs. Turn down the hot water heater and insulate it to reduce wasted heat.