If you added up all the costs to run your household, you would probably feel your wallet actually shrink in your pocket. By committing to the various yet simple ways to cut back on your energy use, you can be less wasteful, more helpful to the environment, and even save some cash. Below are some ideas to help you save money on your electricity, water, and heating/cooling costs.
- Change your light bulbs from incandescent to compact fluorescent or LED. Besides lasting 10-20 times longer, they use less energy. In the summer, they’ll also save you money on your AC bill because they produce less heat.
- Check your house regularly for electric devices that have been left on needlessly. Fans, heaters, lights, stereos, and other devices can be mistakenly left on and drive up energy usage. Make it a habit to do a nightly check throughout your house before going to bed.
- Unplug unused devices, or use a power strip. Devices plugged into outlets can still draw power even if they’re not on, so make sure to unplug anything you’re not actively using. Power strips that can make this task more efficient – devices like TVs, computers, and DVD players could be turned off with one button if they’re plugged into one strip.
- Use cold water when possible. Heating water uses electricity, so using cold water instead of hot will save you money. Most loads of laundry can be washed in cold water. It’s also a good idea to insulate your hot water heater so it uses less electricity when keeping water to temperature.
- Use large appliances sparingly. Hang clothes up to dry instead of using your dryer for smaller loads of laundry. When you use your dishwasher, hand wash larger pots and pans so they don’t take up unnecessary room and force you to run it more often, and let the dishes air dry instead of using “heat dry.” Ovens also use a lot of electricity, so if you’re only cooking something small, consider using a toaster oven instead.
- Purchase Energy Star appliances. You might pay a little more, but the savings you’ll see in your electricity bills will more than make up for it. Look for the distinctive Energy Star logo the next time you shop for a new appliance.
- Buy a programmable thermostat that will allow you to automatically regulate temperature settings. Lowering the temperature at night or during the day while you’re at work can save you money on heating costs.
- Use weather stripping to stop drafts around doors and windows. It’s very easy to apply and will save you money in both heating and cooling your house.
- Insulate your house. Attic insulation can make it much cheaper to keep the upper floors of your house at a comfortable temperature. Insulating garage doors can have a similar effect on the rooms above the garage.
- Decorate wisely. Rugs will hold heat better than hardwood or linoleum floors. Shades or drapes on windows can keep out cold air in the winter and excessive heat in the summer.
- Change your shower head. Low flow shower heads can reduce your per-minute water usage by 50%. Some are a bit pricey, but lower cost options are beginning to appear in stores.
- Put a brick or jug of water in your toilet tank. This results in the tank filling with less water, and less water means less water usage and lower water bills.
- Don’t run dishwashers or washing machines unless you have a full load. Running these appliances too often is just a waste of water. Wait until you have a full load to reduce the amount of times you use them each week.
- Use water sparingly. It seems obvious, but unnecessary water usage is sometimes difficult to track. Don’t leave the water running when washing dishes, unless you’re rinsing, and check for leaky faucets on a regular basis.
Using a credit card with rewards on utilities can help your household save money. To be sure, the best and most effective advice for saving money on utilities really is just to use less energy. The above tips will help you accomplish this goal without requiring you to sit in the dark or shiver through the winter months.
(Graphic Writing by Kelly; Graphic Design by Tina)
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