Energy is a big expense. When I say energy I’m referring to power/electric, and gas. These bills can be very high if you own a home in a less temperate area. It makes sense to try to lower your bills if you can do so with relative ease. Here is a list of what you can do to conveniently lower your energy bills.
As a child my father was always preaching to us to turn our lights off when we left a room. But one day he called us all in and announced that we were going to have a new policy. If our next power bill was less than our current power bill, he would give the difference to the kids.
That was the most motivated we ever were to turn off lights, TV’s, radios, etc. when we weren’t using them.The next month our power bill was less and we were able to reap the rewards of our efforts. Involving your kids (if applicable) in efforts to save power is a great tool.
Other ideas could include
- Hang your clothes to dry. I hang dry all of my clothes except the underclothing, socks, towels, blankets and t-shirts. This has saved us considerably on laundry. I wash multiple loads that only have a few items I want dried in the dryer. As each load is done washing I hang everything and put the few items that need drying in the dryer. After 3 or 4 loads I have a pretty good size load that I’ll start in the dryer. I usually set it to dry for only 30 minute cycles and check back, if they still are not dry I’ll dry them for another 10 or so minutes.
- Dressing warmer in the winter and using thicker blankets and dressing cooler in the summer and using very thin blankets or only sheets helps make you comfortable without making your furnace work so hard.
- Use energy efficient bulbs. LED bulbs save considerably and despite sometimes requiring that you switch out your light switch they save considerably!
- Turn off lights when you aren’t using or needed them.
- Have a programmable regulator on the hot water heater that shuts it off during the day or night. This could save you considerably ($10-30 a month) if you don’t often use hot water during the day or night.
- Get a water heater blanket (here are a few for really cheap $10-$30 on Amazon) for your water heater if it is exposed to cold temperatures. Also, some areas have peak times when you pay more per kilowatt. You can check with your power company and try to avoid these times if possible.
- Many utility companies will give you the option to be on the budget plan. The first year we were offered to sign onto the budget plan we declined because that year we were trying to revive our dead grass and spent a lot on watering the lawn. This next time it is offered we will accept. It is a great option to save/budget for many families though.
- One lady I heard of hated wasting water waiting for her showers and baths to turn hot. So while she waited for it to turn warm enough to shower or bathe in she filled up buckets and used that water to feed her dog, water her plants, and even her bushes. If you think about it, a lot of wasted water runs down the drain while you are waiting for the temperature to heat up, so you could end up with a few buckets of water to use for other things if you wanted. If you have toddlers and little kids filling buckets with water without lids is a very real danger so please be careful!
- To save more money on hot water you can do what my Swiss friend taught me to do. First, fill up both sinks with hot soapy water. Put your dishes in one sink to pre-wash them and get the grime off. Rinse them and scrub them, then move them to the hot soapy water to clean them really well and sanitize. Then turn the water on a low setting to rinse them off. Set them to the side and air dry or hand-dry them.
- If you use a dishwasher, stop pre-rinsing the dishes. Most new dishwashers are designed to remove food that is stuck to the dishes.
- Clean your dryer vents often.
- Clean your or replace your furnace air filters on a regular basis.
- Put tin foil on windows that face a lot of sun during the summer. This will keep out rays of sunlight and keep a room considerably cooler. Since this can look tacky I only do this on windows that face away from the street.
- Air dry your hair. I do this all the time. Luckily I have straight hair and can get away with it. On days when I need to blow dry my hair I first towel dry really well, then I get ready and do everything I need to do before leaving (besides putting on my earrings and necklaces), finally I blow dry my hair. Waiting until the last possible moments, I blow dry my hair in a few minutes as opposed to much longer when it is sopping wet.
- Insert socket sealers (like these) behind the outlets or use child outlet covers and use these door draft protectors on any door that may be leaking cold air through to keep drafts from coming in.
- Using a microwave to reheat a meal is the lowest energy burner. When cooking something if you can use a toaster oven that will save considerably as well.
- If you have used the oven in the winter open it up when done and it will heat the home (of course make sure that it is safe to leave it open). In the summer its best to try to cook oven free meals as much as possible.
- Check and see if there is a pre-pay discount available on your utilities. It doesn’t hurt to ask.
- Buy a space heater (this one is really inexpensive with great reviews) they can heat up rooms and homes inexpensively.
- If you have a stove, burning pellets saves as well.
- The point-of-use surge protector offers energy-saving potential. This is because many of the devices we plug in are constantly draining electricity, even when they’re switched off. This is referred to as vampire power, also known as phantom load or standby power. In the United States, this drainage costs consumers more than $3 billion a year [source: U.S. Department of Energy]. If you don’t have a point-of-use surge protector, you can get one here… or you can just try to unplug devices and things as often as possible.
- When the dishwasher starts its drying cycle, open the door and place a folded towel over the top. The trapped heat will dry your dishes without using energy.
- Buy Goal Zero products. They are an amazing company that offer solar energy packs that charge a variety of items.
- Clog holes, cracks and windows or other places that may be leaking air into your home, etc. with insulation foam.
- Every device that you have plugged in uses up electricity (even when it is not on). It is important to unplug the electronic devices you are not using: toasters can openers, mixers, blenders, even computers, lamps and hair dryers. It may be too difficult to reach behind and unplug washers, dryers, TVs and large devices but the more you can unplug the more you will save each month. We try to unplug everything that has an easily accessible outlet to save,
- If your windows face south, in the winter open them up on sunny days the whole time the sun is up and lower them as soon as it sets. In the summer keep them shut as often as possible. Once I started doing this I noticed another significant change in our bills. They were much lower and we were actually using the sun to do the job of the furnace. I’d set the furnace to be very low while we were at work and I opened the blinds. It rarely kicked on. Once we came home from work I’d close blinds and turn the furnace up. It worked like a charm.
- Along with 26 you can get a programmable thermostat. In the winter you can set the furnace to go a few degrees lower at night and during the sunshine peak hours. You can set it to a higher temperature to warm the house up around the time you get out of bed until the sun is warming the house and then again at night until bed time. In the summertime you can also set it to be cooler during peak sun times and not as high during the night. Just be sure not to turn it so high in the summer that your A/C has to work really hard to cool off your home (that actually is counterproductive). A few degrees won’t hurt but many will.
I know I haven’t covered all of the easy and convenient ways to save on energey bills. Many of you probably have other great ideas. What do you do to save energy? Leave your tips and tricks in the comment section below.
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[email protected]'s Calling says
I love your dad’s idea! I also haven’t thought of many of those ideas. Thank you for sharing!
Anita Fowler says
You’re welcome! Thanks for the comment.