Owning a home can be a very expensive investment. There are repairs that will need to be made and bills for the house that will need to be paid. When you are looking for ways to lower household costs consider some simple ways to lower your energy bills.
- The first thing you should do to lower your gas bill is to turn your thermometer down. Lower the temperature by a few degrees when you leave for work in the morning. If you go away for the weekend keep the temperature set at a lower degree.
- Buy a programmable thermostat. With a programmable thermostat you can set temperatures for certain times of day. Program the house to be cooler in the hours you are not going to be home.
- Make sure your filter is clean. The filter should be changed every 1 to 2 months. A dirty filter can cause your heater to have to work harder and to stay on for longer.
- Keep your furnace well maintenanced. Make sure it is working properly at all times.
- Have a professional clean your ducts. This will optimize air flow and reduce the amount of time it takes your heater to warm your home.
- Purchase an Energy Star furnace if possible. A furnace upgrade can save you almost $600 a year in energy costs. Energy Star appliances run on a 95% efficiency as opposed to a 60% efficiency that a standard furnace runs on.
- Set up a set monthly bill with your gas company. They will usually offer a payment plan for a year based on your current use. This will help level out costs in the cold winter months.
- Keep your vents clear of furniture, rugs, curtains or anything else. Blocking the flow of heat will not only force the heater to run longer, it is also a potential fire hazard.
Windows and Entry ways
- Seal off your doors and windows. If your windows are not properly sealed then air is leaking out, this will cause your heater to run more to keep your house up to temperature.
- Use a sealant or caulk to fill these gaps. If you have a basement look for leaks in it also. Fix them with caulk. In the winter you may want to consider putting plastic over your windows.
- Keep your windows open during the day to let the sun help heat your house. Close them at night to prevent hot air from leaking out.
- Use weather stripping around doors.
- Turn your water heater on a cooler setting. It should be no hotter than 140’F.
- Only do full loads of laundry.
- Set your washing machine to cold. This will help reduce energy and save money.
- Buy an energy efficient front loading washing machine.
- Turn the water off when you brush your teeth.
- Only wash full loads of dishes in your dishwasher.
- Buy low flow shower heads and faucets.
- Make sure you do not have leaking faucets, a faucet drip can waste gallons of water a day.
- Check your toilets and make sure they are running efficiently.
- Turn off the lights when you are not in a room.
- Use incandescent bulbs
- Run heat associated appliances such as the oven and the dryer at night when it is cooler. Heating up the house during the day will cause your air conditioner to have to run longer.
- Have your air conditioner inspected to make sure that it is running efficiently.
- Keep your air filters cleaned.
- If using a window unit make sure that you buy the right size for the area you want to cool. An air conditioner that is to big just wastes energy.
- Close the blinds to keep out the suns hot rays.
- Unplug cell phone chargers, and other small appliances. These will suck energy even when they are not being used.
- Plug your electronics into a power strip and turn them all off when not being used.
- Look into energy efficient appliances and use them instead. These appliances have been tested to run more efficiently using less energy and can save you on your monthly bills.
- Look into alternative energy sources. Some electric companies are offering plans that will use alternative energy during certain times of day. Check with providers in your area to see what other options you may have.
- Insulation plays a key factor in saving energy costs in your home. You want to make sure that your house is properly insulated in all areas. If you have an unfinished basement, insulate it. This will make sure all the hot or cold air (depending on the season) is staying in the house where you want it to be.
- Install double pane windows in order to further insulate against the elements.
- Insulate your floors. If your floors are insulated they will feel warmer and help keep the hot or cold air in the room.
- Make sure your pipes are insulated. You also want to make sure you do not have any leaking pipes.
Learn how to generate your own energy
- Have solar panels installed for use as a water heater and energy source.
- Look into using a wind turbine to provide energy to your home.
- Use an in-ground heat pump to warm your home.
- Install a form of hydroelectricity.
There are numerous ways to create an energy efficient home. The first place to start is to do a home energy evaluation. Look around your house and note all of the places that you could be losing air through. Look for appliances that are plugged in and left on. Take special notice of the appliances that are always using a signal such as a television set or a video game. Count how many times you walk into a room and the light is on with nobody in it. Keep a list of all these things and then go to work to start fixing them.
Installing solar panels or buying a new furnace may be out of the question financially, but that does not mean there are not other things you can be doing to save money on your energy bills. Put the money you start saving into a fund to buy another energy efficient appliance. If you take small steps it is easy to create a household that uses less energy and saves you money.