1. GET AN ENERGY AUDIT
If these are tips to save money, why are we suggesting you spend some on an energy audit? A typical audit costs between $150 – $200 (cost increases about 50 cents per square foot for larger homes). But the process will tell you how much electricity (and gas) your home uses and provide targeted ways to increase efficiency.
If you fix the issues, you can save 5% – 30% on your utility bills. The average electric bill in Indiana is $105 per month. If you save, say, 20%, that’s $21 per month. If you paid $200 for your audit, you’ll recoup your investment under 10 months. After that, it’s pure savings.
2. KILL EXCESS ENERGY USE IN THE KITCHEN
For many of us, the kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s also a major energy waster. Refrigerators consume anywhere from 200 – 500+ kWh, dishwashers 288 kWh, microwaves 90 kWh, electric ovens 162 kWh, and coffee makers 42 kWh per year. No, we’re not suggesting you cut back on the coffee! But you can make some easy changes to save energy:
- Keep your fridge/freezer full. Your grocery items act as insulation, and your unit does not have to work as hard to keep them cool. But don’t stock more than you and your family can realistically eat – food waste is a big budget-drain too.
- Clean the refrigerator coils. Your fridge has to work harder if the coils are dirty. Every three months or so, clean them out. This also lengthens the life of your refrigerator.
- Put only cooled food in the refrigerator, and make sure dishes are covered.
- Use your microwave instead of the stove when possible.
- Only pre-heat your oven for baked goods. For most dishes, you don’t need to, despite what your recipes say.
- When cooking on an electric stove or in an oven, turn it off a few minutes before your food is done. The built-up heat will finish the job and you can knock a few bucks off your electric bill.
- Wash dishes by hand. If that’s not possible, turn off the heat dry selection on your dishwasher.
3. ENERGY EFFICIENT LAUNDRY ROOM RULES
- Washers and dryers are also big energy consumers:
- Only do laundry when you have a full load.
- Switch to cold water for washing. You can cut energy consumption by 90%.
- Empty the lint trap in your dryer after every use and scrub the filter with soap and water every few months to prevent your dryer from overworking.
- Invest in some dryer balls. These little add-ins cut drying time by 25%. If you run out, throw in a clean white towel for similar results.
- If you have space in your yard or on your porch, line dry as much as you can.
- Iron once a week – or wait until you have a big pile. Running an iron uses 800 – 2000 watts, so you can cut your electricity usage by doing all of your ironing in one sitting.
4. STAY WARM AND COZY (OR CALM AND COOL) WITH PROPER INSULATION AND WEATHER-PROOFING
Taking some easy steps to insulate can pay off month after month:
- Heating and cooling accounts for 50 – 70% of your home’s energy consumption. Proper insulation keeps you from throwing money right out the window.
- Use weather-stripping around windows and doors and seal any gaps. This can cut your heating/cooling costs by up to 20%.
- Insulate your water heater to improve efficiency and decrease electrical costs.
- If you have electric heat, use a programmable thermostat. You’ll use less energy and keep your house at the right temperature at the right times.
- Turn the heat down when you go to sleep. Your body prefers a cooler temperature anyway, and you can snuggle under the covers! (Don’t turn it down too much in the winter and early spring, however – your water pipes need warmth to prevent freezing).
- Clean your HVAC filters regularly.
- Ceiling fans can help take the load off your AC unit in the summer, and, if you reverse the blades’ direction, it can help disperse warm air in the winter.
5. SWITCH ON THE SAVINGS
With a few easy switches, you can cut your electricity bill:
- 75% of your home energy use is caused by devices and appliances that are turned off. This is called “phantom energy.” To exorcise the ghosts that are haunting your utility bill, use power strips. Simply shut them off when electronics are not in use.
- If you need to keep appliances and electronics plugged in, try Smart Strip surge protectors. They automatically turn off the power to plugs when devices are off.
- Switch to LED light bulbs.
- If you need to replace appliances, opt for ENERGY STAR products to save money each month.
- Use solar lighting outdoors. These inexpensive little fixtures soak up the sun all day and illuminate your yard, walkways, paths, etc., at night.
- Turn your lights off when you don’t need them. Simple! This also helps keep excess heat production to a minimum, which is vital in the summer months.
You can cut your electricity bill, and it doesn’t need to cost you comfort or convenience. With a few simple steps and a few changes in habit, you’ll start saving each month. For bigger projects, like rewiring, going solar, upgrading service/lighting, or having a home energy audit, contact the Jefferson Electric team.