Spring is here and that means summer is quickly approaching. This is my favorite time of the year when it comes to all the outdoor activities I can plan with my family; but when it comes to those sky-high utility bills, I cringe! Here a few tips to keep your budget in-check and your monthly bills from being as high as the outside temp.
- Shorter Showers: I enjoy those long relaxing showers as much as the next person, but they aren’t always the most practical. This is the first (and most obvious) way to save water.
- Low-flow Shower Head: Install a low-flow shower head to prevent you from using so much water. If you prefer a stronger pressure, invest in an aeration shower head. These shower heads give you the same pressure, but use air instead of water to deliver it.
- Water Heaters: The average factory setting is 140 degrees which is too hot for human skin. Turn down your water heater temperature to around 120 and never be scalded again. If the time has come for a new water heater, look into going tank-less or for a hybrid variety. The upfront cost will be higher but your savings in the long run will be greater.
- Light and Bright: Florescent light bulbs are so last decade! Upgrade to LED, they use a fraction of the energy, last longer and provider a better quality of light.
- Insulate: Adding insulation to your home can help keep your house cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Check out the Department of Energy to find the best insulation for your home.
- Cross Ventilate: Opens windows across the room or house from each other to create a cross ventilation breeze.
- Green Thumb: Planting trees and shrubbery around your home can help keep your home shaded and cool. Trees on the south side of your home help provide shade during the summer months and allow the sun to shine through the bare limbs in the winter to keep your house warm.
- Get Smart: Upgrade to a digital thermostat. There are several internet connected thermostats that are programmable and even have smart phone access to adjust the temperature of your home from the palm of your hand.
- Fill up the fridge: Make use of all the space in your refrigerator and freezer, they operate most effectively when full. If you don’t typically keep them fully stocked, fill the empty space with ice or a food storage container so you aren’t chilling empty space.
- Stand-by: Unplug items that aren’t in use. Up to 75% of electricity used to power household electronics is sent to them while they are turned off. Unplug cords and devices or use power strips, which shutdown power to products in stand-by mode.
- Air is free: Washing dishes and clothes are necessities, but using the dryer, or drying mode doesn’t have to be. Hang your clothes to dry, and turn off the extra drying setting on the dishwasher to let those items air dry, it’s free!
- Fans: Use your ceiling fans properly and in conjunction with other heating and cooling units. Most fans have a reverse direction switch to push heat down in the winter and up in the summer. Remember, fans don’t actually change the temperature of the room, so turn them off when you leave.
- Vents: Clean HVAC vents and ducts regularly as well as replacing filters according to the manufacturers guidelines improves the air you’re breathing and allows maximum air flow.
- Mind the Gaps: According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, gaps around windows and doors are the equivalent to having a 3×3 ft hole in your wall. Caulking, weather strips and heavy drapers or window treatments are great ways to combat against leaky windows and doors.
- Energy Efficient Appliances: If you are in the market for new appliances, look for energy star- certified ones. The upfront cost may be more, but the savings will pay off in the long run.
The great thing about saving money on your utilities is that once you get the hang of it, you don’t need to think about it again.
What are some tricks you use to be more energy efficient?