Home Energy Costs Draining Your Finances? Here Are Some Cost Cutting Strategies that Will Help

These are the days of rolling black outs, brown outs and high-energy bills. If you thought cutting your Home energy consumption was to expensive or to confusing here are some simple ideas that you can do and make a real difference where it will count the most…your checkbook.
  • Save money by using as little electricity during what is called Peak demand times? This is usually between 7AM to around 8PM Weekdays. You can save by using the biggest power draining appliances at night after 8PM instead of during the day when energy demand is highest.
  • Only run the dishwasher when it is full. By running the dishwasher in the evening you will not be creating more heat in your home during the hottest part of the day. By opening the dishwasher door after a wash and not running the air drying cycle you will save again.
  • Older refrigerators have a tremendous drain on your pocket book by using lots of electricity. If you have a second refrigerator out on the porch or in the garage that is older, chances are you are throwing away lots of money on your utility bills. If you have a refrigerator that is not ENERGY STARÃ?® rated you can save by buying a new one that is. In some cases the savings in your utility bill will make up for your monthly payment for a new one. Most states offer rebates if you purchase ENERGY STARÃ?® rated appliances. Some have recycling programs for old refrigerators where they will pay you for your old refrigerator and come and get it as well.
  • Keeping your refrigerator’s cooling coils clean will allow the unit to work at top efficiency. This will have the double effect of extending the life of your refrigerator and lower your utility bill. Refrigerators work best when the door is not opened and closed to often. By knowing what you what before opening the door you will save even more.
  • Check that your refrigerator seals work properly. You should have some resistance when you open the door because refrigerator door seals are airtight. If you don’t have a good seal you may need to adjust the door or replace the door seals.
  • If you can use the Microwave more often in summer instead of your conventional oven you will use about half the power and reduce your cooking time by about one third. Using the range uses more energy than the microwave but not as much as the oven. When you use the conventional oven you heat up the home and cause the home cooling system to work harder.
  • Cook outside on the barbecue when possible and you’ll not add heat to the inside of the house.
  • If you are able you can save by cooking several days meals at the same time. You can then freeze portions and reheat them in the microwave when needed.
  • Most water heaters will come preset at about 140 degrees. You can save on water heating cost by setting the hot water heater thermostat to 120degrees. Save even more by washing cloths using warm or even cold water and always rinse with cold water.
  • By showering you will use less hot water than taking a bath and save more by installing a low flow shower-head.
  • Turn off lights that you don’t need on. By turning off unnecessary lights you could be saving significant amounts of energy. You can install a motion sensing light switch that will automatically turn lights on and off when people enter or leave a room. This could provide significant savings especially with small children who have a habit of not turning off lights when leaving a room.
  • Compact Fluorescent Lamps use a fraction of the energy of traditional incandescent lights and last significantly longer as well. Consider this, a 32 Watt fluorescent bulb provides the same amount of light as a 100-Watt incandescent light does. That is a whopping 66% savings. How much can you save by replacing all of your incandescent lights with compact fluorescent bulbs?
  • Survey your home to find areas where you can use smaller Wattage lamps. Does that light on the computer desk need to light up the whole room?
  • Air conditioners use the greatest amounts of electricity in your home in the summer months. In most homes it is greater than half the summer electric bill. You can get around 3-5% decrease in energy use for every degree you can set your thermostat above your normal setting. By raising your home’s temperature setting you will be saving money.
  • Using fans to move air around the room will make the room feel cooler and will use less power than running the air conditioner at a lower setting.
  • When you are going out, going to work or on vacation you can save even more by setting the thermostat about 5 degrees higher than your normal setting.
  • Clean or replace your air conditioners filters on a regular basis. Dirty filters will reduce your unit’s efficiency by restricting critical airflow.
  • Sunlight streaming into the house will add heat. Keeping the curtains closed, pulling down the shade or providing shading around South or West facing windows will lower your energy use. Consider installing an awning or planting trees or shrubs to provide added shade around these critical areas.
  • Ensure your home is properly insulated. This one thing could save up to 30% on cooling and heating costs. Insulation is expressed in its R-value. This is the insulation’s ability to resist heat flow. The higher the R-value, the better the insulation value. The two biggest offending areas are the outside doors and windows. You can get weather stripping and caulking for both the doors and windows at your local hardware store or home center. Don’t forget to check the bottom of the doors and if needed add a door sweep to seal the bottom of the door from drafts.
  • Your attic can build up tremendous amounts of heat if not ventilated correctly. An attic fan will push hot air out thus lowing the temperature throughout your home. An attic fan cost far less to operate than an air conditioner and have the added benefit of increasing the life of your home. A great savings for the small investment.
  • If you have a home PC turn it off when not in use for long periods of time. If you use it off and on several times during the day you can set it up to go into power save mode. Putting your monitor to sleep when not in use will also save energy.
  • Unplugging your laptop during the day and charging it up at night will save energy. This is true with any device that has rechargeable batteries. Charge them at nighttime and you will save. Think about what you have in your home that falls into this category. Cordless power tools, cell phones, kids toys, rechargeable electric razor, PDA.

Don’t forget when you need to replace any major appliance always look for the ENERGY STARÃ?® and you will save. Also check with your utility company and see if they offer rebates or special offers for upgrading to energy saving devices. Check with your state as well because most states will offer some tax incentives to install Energy saving appliances. This way you will get to save twice. With just a few small changes in your home now you can save a lot for years to come.

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