January 18, 2017

Put the Squeeze on Your Energy Bills

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Energy bills can really take a toll on your budget, especially in the coldest and warmest parts of the year.

I’ll be the first to admit, sometimes it’s easier just to crank up the thermostat a bit and not think about it. But when the bill arrives, I always get a sinking feeling knowing I could be paying less.

According to EnergyStar.gov, as much as half of the energy used in our homes goes to heating and cooling. So it makes the most sense to try to make the most changes in those 2 areas.

When it’s cold

Instead of turning up the heat when you’re feeling chilly, put on a sweatshirt and warm socks. Laying on the couch? Grab a blanket! You can save around 10% a year on your heating bill by turning your thermostat back 10°–15° for just eight hours per day.

Use a programmable thermostat that allows you to automatically adjust heat while you are away. Unless you have pets and your house gets really cold, your furniture doesn’t care what the temperature is. I should add that if you live somewhere with freezing temps, you should always keep your thermostat at 55° to protect your pipes.

Make sure your HVAC filters are clean. Furnaces use less energy when they don’t have to work so hard to pull in air. Added benefit – You’ll be breathing cleaner air! FiltersDelivered always offers free shipping and you can get 15% off with coupon FV15.

Heat rises – if you have a ceiling fan, turn it on low and run it clockwise to help circulate warmer air.

Water heating accounts for about 18% of the energy consumed in your home. Setting the temperature on your water heater to 120° will save energy and prevent accidental burns. If you can afford it, upgrade to a tankless water heater. It saves energy by heating water as you need it. Another perk – you’ll never run out of hot water!

When it’s hot

Invest in a whole house fan. When the temperature outside is cooler than the temperature inside, open your windows (this is a very important step – skip it and you will have big problems!), and turn on the whole house fan. Cool air will be sucked in through the open windows and the hot air inside your house will be vented out through the attic.

If a whole house fan isn’t in the budget, grab some box fans. And I don’t mean those little dinky ones that are made specifically for windows. Get a few nice, big 20″ old-school box fans. Place them in open windows facing in toward the house. This will help pull cooler outside air in. This is most effective in bedrooms and other small rooms.

Have ceiling fans? During the summer, they should be set to turn counter clockwise to improve cool air distribution.

Close registers in rooms that aren’t being used and don’t need to be cooled.

Again, make sure those filters are clean! FiltersDelivered always offers free shipping and you can get 15% off with coupon FV15.

Don’t heat up the house by cooking in the oven. Fire up the grill, use the crock-pot, or make a stir-fry on the stove.

All Year-Round

Washing laundry in cold water can save about $60 per year.

Only run the dishwasher when it is full and use the shortest cycle possible to get your dishes clean. Pre-rinsing before you load the dishwasher is key!

Save $25-$75 per year by turning your computer off every night (assuming you still use a desktop).

Unplug electronics when not in use. Even if they aren’t on, they are still using energy.

Installing high-efficiency shower heads can save as much as 15,000 gallons of water per year. As an added bonus, that’s 15,000 gallons of water that don’t have to be heated!

Want even more tips? Check out Consumers Energy’s free online brochure, “More Than 100 Ways to Save on Your Energy Bill“.

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