Have you considered ways to cut down your energy bill? Such efforts are both good for the environment and your bank account. With so many savings routes to choose from, making your home more energy efficient can seem like an overwhelming task, and many homeowners are deterred by the perceived cost or time required to make improvements.
Thanks to financing options and new cost-effective saving solutions, going greener might not cost as much as you think! Taking steps to lower your energy bill doesn’t have to break the bank—here we discuss some energy-efficient endeavors that are entirely free of charge.
Try implementing these easy lifestyle practices to cut back on energy costs before going all out with major home renovations.
In the Kitchen
Some homeowners aren’t aware of just how much energy is drained in the kitchen. Without such knowledge, repeated bad habits could drive up bills and add unnecessary expense. For example: the dishwasher. Are you aware that how you load your dirty dishes actually matters?
- To make your dishwasher more efficient, you need to get the most out of its space and water. Larger plates and serving dishes should go on the bottom rack, while cups, glasses, and bowls should be placed face down on the top.
- Remember to place your silverware handle-down to prevent remaining food particles. If your dishes aren’t clean after a run through the wash, you’ll have to repeat the process or wash them by hand, wasting water and money.
- Avoid running the dishwasher until it’s at maximum capacity.
- And if possible, air-dry dishes rather than use the dishwasher.
Keep your refrigerator as stocked as possible for extra insulation, and try to let leftovers cool completely before storing them. Warm or hot foods raise the internal temperature of the fridge, making it work harder (and use more energy!) to maintain a cool temperature.
Turn off your stove or oven just a few minutes before your food is done cooking. The residual heat should be able to finish the job and help cut down on energy consumption.
- Use glass cookware rather than aluminum or others.
- Thaw food before cooking.
- Cook with lids on. This will trap excess heat, allowing food to cook faster.
The laundry room is a great place to take advantage of energy efficiency tips.
For starters, make sure you keep your lint trap clean. Check it after every load and make sure there’s nothing covering it to prevent your dryer from kicking into energy-overdrive.
Consider keeping the water temperature cold during your wash cycle. It’ll not only allow you to wash both light and dark colors together, but will cut energy costs by reducing the amount of heat it takes to clean your clothes.
Another pro tip: wash full loads (like your dishwasher!), but leave about twenty-five percent free space in the dryer. An overly-full dryer means poor air circulation, and your clothes might still be damp after the cycle is complete. If you run it again, you’ll have to waste more energy.
For those with the space and patience, use sunlight or try air-drying some of your garments. Hang dry sheets, towels, and other items that take longer and require more energy to dry. It will not only save you some serious money, but your clothes will last longer, too!
One final thought: some utility companies offer discounts for running laundry loads outside of peak hours, usually after 8 PM. Try holding off on your laundry until later at night to see even more savings.
Phantom loads, sometimes called vampire power or standby power, are as spooky as they sound—they refer to the continuous energy consumed by devices that are either off or in standby mode! Phantom loads are that unthought-of power which maintains your TV settings and keeps that clock on your microwave running.
To cut down their impact on your energy bill, keep electronics such as gaming systems, computers, TV’s, DVD players, and speakers plugged into a smart power strip. Simply hit the power button on the strip to make sure everything’s off and worry less over wasted energy.
Investing in blackout curtains or blinds on the side of your home which receives the most sun exposure could be a great way to reduce your air conditioning while still keeping your house shady and cool.
Cut down electricity costs further by installing a dimmer switch and changing to LED light bulbs, and consider motion sensors which only turn on lights after movement is detected.
HVAC and Water Heater
Make sure you are keeping your HVAC and water heater maintenance up to date to maximize their efficiency. When central air conditioning is in use, be sure your vents are open and the filters are clean.
Fans can help proper circulation all year long to evenly distribute either hot or cool air, and they’re much cheaper than firing up the HVAC to get the job done.
If your bills seem to continue to rise no matter what you do, it could be time to consider an HVAC replacement. This is one investment that pays off, and thanks to modern financing options, can be installed now—and paid for later. Programs like PACE financing were designed to help homeowners afford energy efficient upgrades without any money down.
Just because you can’t afford to pay for an HVAC replacement in full doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to take advantage of new money-saving technology. Find out if PACE is available in your area to get started on this type of home renovation.
Plant shady landscape which will cool the environment and reduce air conditioning cost during the summer months.
And if you can afford it, consider going solar. Installing solar power can cut your electricity bill by up to 75% (or more).
Incorporating these habits and practices are a great way to reduce your energy bill this year. Every effort made now will pay off in the long run, so get started today!