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Remember mom’s mantra that you didn’t live in a barn and should close that door behind you when you walk in?
Mom was right. Heating uses more energy than any other source in the home, according to Chip Berry of the US Department of Energy; other energy suckers include air conditioners, water heaters and power supplies for appliances, electronics and lighting.
If your dollar isn’t going as far as you’d like, your energy bills could be a way to cut costs. Whether hot air is escaping from your attic or your appliances are silently stealing more electricity than they need, you can lower your energy bills in 2015 with a few quick fixes and long-term changes. term.
Energy audit of the house
Take a tour of your house and see where you are losing energy. Most heating, cooling, and insulation companies will come forward and give your home a professional energy audit for a small fee, and sometimes even for free. You can also make one yourself. There are many tools and applications available to consumers, including Energy Star Domestic energy benchmark, which helps homeowners improve the comfort level of a home and lower utility bills.
“Check for leaks and drafts,” says John Tough, vice president of operations and business development at Choose Energy, an online energy marketplace serving 13 states. “That alone can save you 5-10% on your energy bills.”
Tough also recommends lowering the temperature of your water heater to 115 to 125 degrees, as water heating typically accounts for 20% of a home’s total energy use.
There are lots of quick and easy ways to save energy and lower your monthly bills.
- Explore Your Options: “About half of households in the United States can purchase electricity and natural gas plans,” says Tough. “Having energy options means you may be able to save money on your bills every month. “
- Blackout Curtains: If you can’t afford to replace your windows with energy efficient windows anytime soon, a faster and cheaper solution is to install blackout curtains or drapes. In summer, they block sunlight from warming a room, and in winter, they help block out the cold. Blackout curtains are available nowadays in different colors and styles to complement your room decor without looking hideous or backward.
- Power off: Turn off everything when you are the last to leave the room, including lights, TVs, and computers. Unplug any items from the wall that are not in use. The electrical outlet draws current even when the device is turned off. It adds up and costs you money. Disconnect phone chargers, stereos, mixers, can openers, and grinders, among other gadgets.
- Make a decision: stop lingering in front of the refrigerator with the door open to decide what to eat; it takes more energy to keep the refrigerator temperature down.
Long term investments
You can save money in the long run by investing in modern appliances, energy efficient windows, home sealants, and newer heating and cooling systems. Adding insulation reduces air loss, making it easier and cheaper to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. Other options:
- Radiant thermal barriers: keep heat outside in summer and keep it inside during winter, reducing heat gain 93%. “Radiant barriers work best in hot climates and hot conditions, but they can also benefit in cold climates by retaining heat in the home,” says Robert Wadsworth of the Reflective Insulation Manufacturers Association.
- Thermostats: A programmable thermostat will keep the temperature comfortable when you’re home and awake, and adjust to use less energy when you’re away or asleep.
- Incandescent Lights vs. Compact Fluorescent Lights: “If you have all the incandescent lights in your house and replace them with all the CFLs, you’ll save more money on your energy bills,” says Berry, of the Department of Energy. “They’re just a lot more efficient.” According to Energy.gov, CFLs and light emitting diodes, or LEDs, are 25% to 80% more efficient than incandescent and last up to 25 times longer.
Image via iStock.