How to Save Energy and Reduce Utility Costs

It’s estimated that every household spends at least 2 thousand dollars annually on utility bills, with power bills representing a big chunk of that amount. The fact is that we could all stand to save some energy and to significantly reduce the amount of cash we spend on utility bills. In order to accomplish that, this article will provide you with a guide on how you can go about reducing the amount of energy that you use around your house. To cut down on your utility expenditure, here is what you need to do.

Use energy efficient light bulbs

LED and CFL light bulbs are designed to save energy, and on average, they only use up a quarter of the energy that is consumed by regular light bulbs. CFL (compact fluorescent) bulbs and LED (light emitting diode) bulbs save energy by emitting less heat while still burning brightly. They are also highly durable, and some of them are designed to outlast regular bulbs by a factor of 10. They are more expensive than regular bulbs, but in the long run, they are worthwhile investments. Make sure that the LEDs and the CFLs that you use have ENERGY STAR labels because this means that their energy saving capabilities have been authenticated by the government. Remember to turn off the lights whenever you leave a room, or you can invest in lights that are controlled by motion sensors.

Install a programmable thermostat

It’s possible to cut your annual energy cost by at least 10% just by installing a programmable thermostat. You can use this thermostat to put your air conditioning and heating on a schedule so that they can be automatically adjusted during different times of the day or at night. Programmable thermostats save the energy that would otherwise have been lost every time that you forgot to adjust your heating and AC. This type of thermostat can be used to manage your furnace and your air conditioning system in such a way that they operate more when you are around the house, and they slow down when you are out, or when you are sleeping.

Ensure that you invest in proper insulation

Good insulation, especially in your basement and your attic, can reduce the amount of energy you need to heat up your house, and it can save you quite a bit of money. The thickness of the insulation in your attic should be higher than R30, but it doesn’t need to go beyond R60. Make sure you use a reputable installer that ensures there aren’t any gaps. Small gaps can amount to a big waste of time and money. You should also ensure that your heating ducts are covered with heavy layers of insulation because uninsulated ducts can waste a lot of heat. Wherever there are openings that can allow warm air to leak out during the winter, ensure that you take steps to seal them. In the cold seasons, you should weather-strip all your entrances and caulk all the openings in your windows. Make sure your window coverings are thick and seal at the edges to trap a pocket of air to insulate the windows and keep the warm air in at night. Make sure you get into the habit of closing them each night too. Also think about how to keep the sun from coming in the windows in the warmer months to lessen the need to turn the air conditioner on.

Invest in energy efficient appliances

You should pay attention to the energy ratings of appliances when you buy them. New appliances are more energy efficient than older ones, and replacing your old appliances, even if they are not broken, can be more economical for you in the long run. Nowadays, appliances come with labels that indicate how much energy they use, and you may be able to find information on the annual cost of operation for different appliances. Washers, dryers, and fridges tend to consume more energy than most other appliances, so you should pay more attention to their energy ratings. Cleaning the cooling unit of a refrigerator can help maintain its energy efficiency.

 Pick up some energy saving habits

Whenever you buy an appliance or an electrical component, check to ensure that it has good energy ratings or that it bears an ENERGY STAR label. You should also plug your electronics into surge power strips rather than plugging them directly into sockets. When your electronics are not in use, unplug them or turn off the surge, because they can still usurp some power when they are on standby. Keep your garage door closed to prevent the loss of warm air in the winter, and replace your furnace filter regularly to maintain the efficiency of your furnace. You can also reduce the amount of electricity used by your air conditioning system by planting a tree near your AC unit. The shade provided by the tree reduces the temperature around the AC unit, making it more energy efficient.