Well, if you’re like me then you’re gearing up for the winter months and those high utility bills! I’m much more aware of the bills this year because i’m closing on a house Oct. 24th and i’ve never seen their old utility bills. Not to mention the house is about 1600 square feet bigger than my house right now! So i have decided to whip up a few ideas on how to cut back on that energy bill without spending to much money.
1. Caulk around all windows and doors to prevent air infiltration. Go out and buy some weather stripping (you should be able to get quite a bit for under $10.00) Put that all around your doors and windows that you can feel air. A good way is to use a hairdryer on one side of the door and something that will blow very easily on the other side of the door to see if there are any leaks. (a candle?) – be careful though.
2. Install timed thermostats (they’re about $35) that allow you to set the temperature for certain times of the day. You can have it set cooler during the day if you’re gone and have it start heating up just before you come home from work. Most people say to set it for a few degrees cooler at night but since i have two kids, at night is when i set it higher and during the day i set it a bit cooler. For most homes, the heating bill drops by about 2 percent for every 1 degree the thermostat is lowered. If you set your thermostat to 58 degrees at night you can cut your bill up to about 7%! This is a good excuse to get the husband to cuddle with us too =) You can have a fan going too if you’d like to help keep the heat moving around.
3. Insulate your water heater and turn the thermostat down to 120 degrees. Most are set at 140 degrees. If you have a bigger family you might want to only turn it down by 5 degrees or so and see if there are any complaints from family members stating they’re running out of hot water fast. If there are no complaints try turning it down a few more degrees. You can save up to 10% in your bill by turning it down.
4. Insulate all pipes that are exposed to the cold. This will help keep them from freezing even when you turn the thermostat down at night.
5. If you have more than one level in you house turn the heat up the most in the lowest level, remember heat rises! But since heat does rise make sure there are no holes or air escaping into the attic.
6. Take shorter showes. Also, buying low-flow shower heads, this can use almost 50% less water!
7. Replace your old light bulbs with EnergyStar compact fluorscent bulbs, especially in the light fixtures that you use the most. This also helps our carbon footprint.
8. At night close your drapes as this acts as a insulator.
9. Don’t block your baseboards or registers so the heat can circulate properly.
10. Fix leaky faucets. They can use 6-10 gallons of water a day!
11. Remember to turn off any lights when you’re not in the room. Unplugging a lot of your appliances when you’re not using them can save energy too! Take a look at night when all the lights are off and walk around the room and see how many little lights you can see from things being plugged in (the computer, etc.) all those little lights looking back at your are constantly using energy. 75% of all energy is used from appliances that are not being used!
12. Do not fill your fridge or freezer plum full. This will cause them to run much longer to keep all that food cold or frozen.
13. Try and use your microwave whenever possible as opposed to the stove. But if you are baking you can turn down your thermostat even more and use the heat from the oven to warm up the house. Do NOT ever heat your house with your oven only though, this can be very dangerous. If you are baking, when you’re done, you can warm up any food if you are about to eat with the leftover heat from the oven. – Everytime you open the oven door it drops the temperature 25-50 degrees.
14. Washing and rinsing dishes 3 times a day by hand actually uses more water than washing one load in the dishwasher. Running the dishwasher at night also helps produce some heat for your house. Also, let them air dry instead of the heated dry option.
15. Clean registers and vents.
16. Put plastic over your windows. They have a new plastic now that you use a blow dryer on and it seals right to the window making it hard to even tell you have plastic on your windows! You can see right through it.
17. If you have a fireplace make sure to keep that damper closed!
18. Set your computer to ‘sleep’ after a few minutes of not being used. Consumer Reports estimates that you can save 80% of your computes electrical use through this small step.
19. You can spent a little more for detergent that allows you to wash your clothes in cold water. – Remember to much detergent causes the washing machine to work harder!
20. Do not overload the dryer and make sure to clean the lint out after every cycle.
21. A lot of people have one room as the ‘warm room’ and keep the rest of the doors to the bathroom and such closed.
22. Install foam insulation gaskets behind electric outlets and switch plate covers.
Well, those are the tips i have for you right now. There are the most common things that are going to help save your money but it’s just the fact of breaking bad habits like turning off lights behind you and not wasting water.
Good luck to all you this coming winter. I hope you stay warm and save money!