We all wince whenever we receive an energy bill with sky-high numbers. Research shows that an average home usually spends $1,900 a year just on energy bills. The good news is that there are some simple measures you can take to conserve your energy usage. So before you cry “scam” after seeing your bill, hit the online review forums, or file a complaint, take a look at these 7 tips, compiled by the experts at Vista Energy.
#1. Turn down your thermostat: Every degree counts. Did you know that lowering your thermostat by just five degrees could save up to 10% of your energy bill? Most people don’t even notice the difference in temperature. Next time you feel a draft in your home, just put on a jacket instead of turning up the thermostat.
You can also use a smart thermostat to reduce your bills, which can be controlled and operated through your smartphone. It can save up to 20% of your heating and cooling bills every year.
Another alternative is installing a programmable thermostat, especially if you spend a lot of time away from home. It studies your household heat patterns, and adjusts your thermostat accordingly. It controls nearly half of your entire energy usage, and can save you up to $180 a year. Welcome to the future.
#2. Use LED lights: Let’s face it, we all forget to turn the lights off when we aren’t using them, and it wastes more energy than you’d think. Even just turning off two 100-watt bulbs for only 4 hours a day can make a difference.
The specific type of bulb you choose for your lighting is another significant factor. Switch from normal bulbs to energy efficient and low-wattage LED lights. LED lights work up to 20,000 to 50,000 hours, and take up about 50-80% less energy than your typical incandescent bulbs. Though the initial cost of LEDs is higher, they ensure a reduction on your energy bills with a lifespan that’s five-times that of incandescent bulbs. LEDs are a must if you want to save on your energy bills.
#3. Seal your leaks: The more leaks you have, the more cold air rushes into your home, which means you increase your thermostat temperature, which in turn boosts your bills. There could be many cracks or crevices hidden around your house in unlikely places, such as your basement and attic. A simple trick is to hold your hand against the crack. If you feel a draft, then your warm air is definitely escaping through it. Use caulk and insulation pads to seal those cracks and leaks all around your doors and windows.
#4. Fireplace usage: Who doesn’t love a warm and cozy fireplace? Unfortunately, a lot of money escapes through it along with the smoke, even when it’s not in use. But there are a few things you can do to minimize the loss of energy. Install a sealing damper at the top of your fireplace, which helps to keep your conditioned air tucked inside your home. Try installing a fire back at the back of your fireplace. This is designed to absorb heat, effectively keeping your home cozy and warm.
#5. Use eco-friendly products: From tiny light bulbs to big appliances like refrigerators, there are many eco-friendly products out there designed to cut your energy consumption by half. More than a decade ago, researchers started looking for ways to make everyday appliances more energy efficient. That means lower bills for you. When it’s time to shop for new appliances, look for the Energy Star rating, signifying that the appliance is part of a government-backed program committed to environmental protection. Though the initial cost may be high, these products will save you money in the long run.
#6. Turn off your computer: Computers are as common as people these days, and most of us can’t imagine even an hour without our computers, let alone days. We waste a lot of energy by leaving our computer on even when we aren’t using it. To save energy, get in the habit of either turning your computer off, or putting it to sleep. This can save you $50-$100 a year.
#7. Switch off the sockets: Even when we are diligent enough to remember to turn the TV off, how many of us unplug it from the socket? We’re going to venture a guess and say . . . no one. Microwaves, toasters, blenders, chargers and other electric appliances connected to a socket are actually siphoning energy even when not in use. A quick solution would be to buy a multi-socket plug for all these devices. When you turn off the plug’s switch, you are turning off all the appliances connected to it.