Energy bills are a fact of life, but luckily, you don't just have to shrug and pay high bills. There are lots of steps you can take to lower your costs significantly. Some fixes are quite inexpensive, while others are more involved and may even require a remodel. But if you're looking for ways to save money on your energy bills, here are some tips and suggestions you can try.
Do you have a limited budget? Here are some things you can try that are either free or very inexpensive.
Open Your Vents
A lot of people think that it is energy efficient to close the vents in the rooms you aren't using or don’t use often. In truth, the opposite is true. Keeping vents closed causes your HVAC system to have to work harder to keep the temperature in your home consistent. So, opening the vents in the rooms you don’t use might actually save you money.
If you don't want to heat or cool rooms that you never use, you may want to switch to a ductless heating and cooling system that lets you control zones separately. Then, you can save money and energy at the same time.
Lower Your Thermostat
When you are away from home for long periods of time, turn your thermostat down by at least five to 10 degrees. This little trick could correspond to as much as a 10% drop in your energy bill. Another myth people buy into is that it takes more energy to heat your home back up again than you save, but this is untrue. It does briefly take more energy to heat your home up, but nowhere near what you save by turning your thermostat down for the eight or 10 hours you’re out of the house for work.
Use Cold Water to Wash Your Clothes
A significant part of the energy your washer uses is to heat water. So, unless whatever you’re washing absolutely needs to be washed in hot water, use cold instead. Your clothes will still be clean, and your wallet will thank you for it.
Turn on the Fans
When you strategically use fans to circulate the air in your rooms, it will allow your heating and cooling system to rest more often, thus saving you money. In winter, ceiling fans should rotate clockwise — that helps to push the rising warm air back down into your living space. in the summer, they should go counterclockwise to create a cooling breeze.
Turn Off Your Surge Protectors
Surge protectors protect your electronics in the event of a power outage or a surge. However, even when the electronics are off, they are still drawing some power. If you turn off the surge protector before you go to bed and don’t turn it back on again until you’re ready to use your electronics, you can see a drop in your energy bills.
Seal the Cracks
Whenever a lot of hot or cold air is escaping out of your foundation, windows, or doors, your heating and cooling system has to replace that air, and that can drive up your energy consumption. By caulking cracks and using weather stripping to stop these leaks, you can see significant savings. This is a good thing to look for, especially if your home is older.
Get New Light Bulbs
LED or CFL light bulbs have a more expensive price tag than their incandescent counterparts, but they last up to 25% longer and can decrease energy consumption by up to 75%. This is a little change that can pay off in the long run.
Plant Trees or Bushes
Not only will trees and bushes add color and beauty, but they will also shield your home from the sun’s punishing rays, helping to cut down on cooling costs. In the winter, strategically placed plants can insulate your home better, keeping the heat from escaping.
Buy a Hot Water Heater Blanket
A hot water "blanket" is inexpensive and made of fiberglass. When you wrap it around your hot water heater, it keeps the water hot with less energy from the heating element.
Here are some more expensive projects that can help you save money. Although these ideas involve an upfront investment, they can help you to save money in the long run.
Replace Your Windows
Old windows can let a lot of heat escape. Although it costs quite a lot to replace the windows throughout your home, the savings can be significant, up to 15%. If you replace single pane windows with Energy Star double pane windows, you can save between $126 to $465 per year. Even just adding UV-resistant films to your windows has the potential to help you save.
Invest in a New Heating System
Again, this is a big investment, but can really cut down on your costs. If your old furnace is over 10 years old, a new heater will automatically be much more energy efficient. To boost your savings even further, invest in a ductless heating and cooling system. That gives you zone technology so you can set the thermostat on different settings for each area of your home. Additionally, you don't have to worry about losing any hot or cold air through the windows.
Consider Solar Panels
This is the most expensive energy-saving measure you can take, but it can also cut out your energy costs entirely. Often, you can get rebates and tax incentives that drastically reduce the cost of installing solar energy, and if you generate extra energy, you may be able to sell it back to the energy company, bringing your bill down even further.
If you’re serious about cutting your energy costs, explore the tips above, but also consider investing in a ductless heating and cooling system. At N.E.T.R., Inc. we believe in helping our clients save as much as possible on their energy bills. To learn more, to set up a repair, or to talk about saving money with a new system, contact us today.