When was the last time your electric bill made you smile? If you are like most Americans it is very hard to get excited about receiving an electric bill unless of course you were able to save 43% from the month prior. While this sounds like a farfetched scheme involving late night infomercials, it is actually quite simple and attainable. My endeavor to become energy efficient was more out of necessity than a desire to save the planet, reasoning aside, I and my family are very happy with the going green path we are on. In order to stop wasting energy and reduce our overall bills we personally went through the steps below and saw a 43% savings. You may or may not achieve this level of savings but any savings is good for the wallet and Mother Nature.
Get Started with a Home Audit – Its Easy!
All basic research pointed to a home energy audit as the first step. An energy audit can help you assess the major components of your energy usage and create a personalized roadmap on how to start becoming energy efficient. One of the key steps is to understand your baseline electric bill; this will set the stage on how your efforts stack up. The best way to explain how to locate your baseline bill is to locate the month where the heating and cooling usage is at its lowest, usually coinciding with the lowest bill of the year. You can also review your energy bill on a month by month basis to have a comparison as you implement the strategies noted below. Contact the power company to help you obtain this information if you have trouble. Now that you have established your baseline I will help you shortcut the full energy audit to help you start saving money and the planet now just by implementing these 8 tips.
Money Saving Tips to Lower Your Power Bill
Thermostat Management: Heating and cooling are the energy hogs in the common American home. The simple act of raising the thermostat by 1 degree for cooling will save 6-8% per month on energy costs. A 3%-5% savings can be seen when lowering the thermostat by 1 degree for heating.
Flip on a fan: Since ceiling fans provide additional cooling, raising the thermostat 2-4 degrees when in use can save up to 14-28% in cooling cost.
Use the off switch & keep your HVAC tuned: Turn the AC or heating system off if you plan to be out of the house for more than 4 hours. This plus providing proper maintenance and care to the system can save up to 15% per year. Replacing or cleaning filters monthly are an important part of basic maintenance. Reusable air filters are a more eco-friendly solution so you are not piling up landfill waste. Additionally, unless you have asthma or other health issues using a simple air filter will increase efficiency, adding houseplants can act as your natural HEPA filter.
Seal up leaks: Save 2% on energy costs by sealing leaks in the attic, fireplace and electrical outlets. If you have a wood burning fireplace, keep the damper closed unless it is in use.
Lower the shades: During the summer lower shades and you can save 2-12% on cooling cost. The inverse of this is that by raising the shades in the winter, you can save 1-12% on heating.
Going on a trip?: If you are planning a trip and use an electric water heater, turn it off if when your house is unoccupied for 2 or more days, this will save up to 2-10% on your heating bills.
Low flow for low dough: Using flow-restricting devices for faucets and shower heads can save 5-10% on heating costs and help conserve water which will in turn lower your water bill as well.
Pool pumps: If you have a pool, set it to run only 3-4 hours in the winter, this is sufficient and can also save you about $4.88 for each hour you are not running the pool pump. Check out these tips on how to conserve water with your pool as well.
These tips worked for my family and we saw the rewards of a lower electric bill through energy efficient practices. If you can’t implement all of these tips, start with one and work your way through the rest as time permits. There really is nothing to lose, why not give it a try?