cut energy costs

People are always looking for ways to save money, and one of the best ways to do that is to lower your energy bill.  That may sound like something that is easier said than done, but there are several things you can do to lower the amount of energy your household uses each month and save a little bit of cash. Here are just seven things you and your family can do to cut down on energy costs.

  1. Adjust Your Thermostat.
    programmable thermostat

    Image via flickr.com/Mr.Thomas

    You can save energy by allowing your home to get warmer in the summer and cooler in the winter. That may sound backwards for some people, but it can save families as much as 15 percent on their energy bill. Heating and air conditioning are the biggest sources of wasted energy in the average home, so they should be used wisely. In the summer, you should be keeping your thermostat at 78 degrees when your home and 88 degrees when you’re gone. In the winter, your thermostat should be set at 68 degrees when you’re home and 58 degrees when you’re gone. If you have a programmable thermostat, you can set it to adjust your home to the ideal temperature in the winter or summer.

  2. Purchase Energy Efficient Appliances. Older air conditioners, heaters, dishwashers and refrigerators use a lot more energy than newer models, so if you find that you are running your electric bill up you might want to consider replacing them with more energy efficient appliances. Ask to see more energy efficient models when you shop for new appliances.
  3. Have Your HVAC System Checked Regularly. As we said before, heating and air conditioning systems are the biggest sources of wasted energy in the modern home, and they use up even more energy if they aren’t maintained regularly. Contact an HVAC professional to have your HVAC system cleaned and checked over for potential problems at least once a year.
  4. Use Better Cooking Habits. When you prepare meals at home, only use your oven when you have to. Use a microwave if you can. When you do use your oven, don’t open the oven door to check on your food until it’s done cooking, and keep lids on pots when you use your stove top.  Also utilize outdoor grills to keep your home cool.
  5. Plug Your Electronics into Power Bars. Many modern homes have several electronic gadgets and appliances running almost non-stop these days. Computers, televisions and video game systems can use up a lot of energy even when they aren’t in use. By plugging them into power bars or power strips that can be shut off, you can avoid your power being drained by the lights, timers and other things that draws “phantom” power when the devices aren’t in use. Power bars are also useful for protecting your appliances from power surges that could damage them.
  6. Replace Your Light Bulbs. CFL LightbulbsCFL bulbs and LEDs are much more energy efficient than old-fashioned incandescent lights, so pick some up the next time you need to buy new light bulbs.
  7. Be Aware of Your Water Consumption. Not only can wasting water add to your water bill, but the energy it takes to pump your water adds to your energy bill. Don’t run your water constantly when you brush your teeth or rinse your dishes, and take showers instead of baths. This will all help you conserve water. Have any leaky faucets or pipes fixed as quickly as possible to avoid wasting water and to avoid water damage.

By Frank Prestwood