We all know that keeping the lights on comes at a cost – let alone the water heater or air conditioning. In fact, an average family spends thousands of dollars per year on just utilities. However, tweaking your energy usage and a few modifications to your living space can slash your electricity bill by quite a bit. Here’s how:
1. Shut the door
Remember the good old days when you were a kid? The summers were fantastic, weren’t they? You used to play with your neighbor’s kids while racing in and out of the back door, usually leaving it wide open. If you did this and your parents shouted at you, they weren’t wrong.
Keeping the doors open when the AC unit is running isn’t a good idea. Why? Because you’re making your unit run harder for longer while letting all that cool air escape. Your dollars will sail right out of the window. So, to ensure efficient usage of your cooling system, shut the exits and prevent cool air from going out.
2. Get a new air filter
Nobody likes to replace these things regularly, especially air filters. However, this is a simple fix that can increase the life of your HVAC system by leaps and bounds – and make it more efficient. This way, you’ll be saving on your electricity bill and long-term maintenance expenses as well. So, why not just bite the bullet and replace the air filter once every three months? Trust us; you won’t regret it.
3. Check for air leaks
If there’s one thing that can quickly increase your electricity bill without you even realizing it, it’s damaged insulation. Your HAVC system will have to work considerably harder to keep your house cool in the summers and warm in the winters if your home isn’t adequately insulated. Hence, contact an insulation installation company at your earliest and rectify this problem. However, it’s not just the material behind your drywall that needs attention. Consider these questions:
- Are there any dirty spots in your insulation?
- Is the fireplace damper working?
- When you close the doors, do they seal shut?
- Can you hear air coming in from under the front door on windy days?
- Are the windows whistling?
These are some easy-to-miss energy wasters that you can spot during your DIY energy audit. If your windows and doors aren’t sealed properly, air will leak through them, and money will leak through your wallet.
If you’re looking for an easy money saver, air-seal your home. Get some weatherstrips for your windows and doors. Perhaps, purchase some caulk to seal those leaky areas in your wiring, air ducts, and plumbing. Remember, buying a caulk gun, caulk, and weatherstrips will cost you no more than $100, but you’ll save a lot on your energy costs. That’s your return on investment!
4. Replace your lightbulbs
Energy-saving lightbulbs will cost a little more upfront, but the number of bucks they’ll save in the long run will make them a worthy investment. This is probably the easiest way of saving money on your electricity bill. You can also replace regular bulbs with LEDs or compact fluorescent lamps. Here’s another pro tip: never miss the green energy star logo – it’s a symbol that represents energy-efficient products. An average CFL, energy star-certified lightbulb wouldn’t take even a year to pay for itself in energy savings. LEDs consume about 20 to 25% of the energy incandescent lights use and last a lot longer.
5. Don’t keep the lights on
As simple as this sounds, people just don’t listen! If you’re unnecessarily keeping the lights on, you’re draining your electricity – and of course, your monthly budget. Note that 0.04 kWh of energy is used up for every 40-watt lightbulb that runs for an hour. So, for example, if your electricity company charges $0.1 per kWh of electricity, you’ll save $0.004 for every hour the bulb is switched off. Sure, this doesn’t translate to a crazy amount of savings, but it does work. For example, if you’re able to switch five lights in your house for ten hours a day, you’re saving around $6 on your electricity bill per month. If you switch off more lights, you’ll be saving more. So, make it a habit to turn off the lights – and if it’s a sunny day, use natural light to your advantage. Natural light isn’t just easy on the eyes, but it also doesn’t show up on your electricity bill.
6. Perform an electricity audit
An electricity audit entails investigating the electricity usage at your home. For a comprehensive electricity audit, you can also call your utility provider to conduct one for you. During the audit, the professionals will ask about your concerns and what you’re looking to achieve. They’ll inspect the quality of your insulation, check your home for air leaks, and run different tests. Then, they’ll give you their expert opinion on how you can become more efficient with your electricity usage.
However, if you’d like to perform the audit yourself, use a simple online audit tool. If the audit confuses you, don’t worry. Just try to implement the changes you think are worthwhile. Ensure you come up with a budget before investing in any home improvements you’re looking to make. Then, sit back and see your electricity bill go down month after month.
Bad habits and insulation can send your electricity bill into the clouds. However, you can fix that by following the tips mentioned in the article. Keep your doors and windows closed to run your cooling and heating systems more efficiently. Check for air leaks and take necessary measures to prevent them. You might have to re-do parts of your insulation or caulk the doors and windows. Don’t leave your lights on for no reason, and consider replacing them with green energy star options. Last but not least, perform an energy audit to save some serious bucks. Trust us; you’ll love seeing less money flying out the window and more money in your wallet by saving money on your electricity bill.