Whether you’re battling a high heat index in Texas, or below-freezing Midwestern winters, heating, cooling and energy costs can eat up your budget. These easy tips for reducing energy costs can help you save money all year round. Anyone can do this!
Turn off lights whenever they’re not in use. If your co-inhabitants don’t make a habit of turning them off too, quit trying to get them to do it and just do it yourself.
Make sure to turn off the cable box and unplug anything you’re not using. You can even put the TV and cable box on a timer so that when you’re ready to use it, the cable will have reconfigured itself and be ready to go. And, that way, it’s not using electricity while you’re away at work, or asleep for the night.
Window coverings can be a great way to beat the beast. Try decorative thick-fabric curtains or lined drapes to keep out UV rays in the summer and chilly winds in the winter, while keeping your style intact! Covering west and south exposure windows can really keep the house cooler in summer. In the winter, be sure to keep all the windows covered, particularly at night.
Sealing gaps around windows and doors is easy to do. It makes the house more comfortable and can save you significant energy costs. If you can feel the cold air blowing in around the window, it’s probably not sealed properly. Take off the trim (carefully so as not to damage it) and use spray foam to seal it up.
One of the very easiest ways to lower energy costs is to use foam gaskets in the electrical outlets of your house. The purpose of the gasket is to create a barrier between the inside and outside of your home. Keeping the air you want in from escaping, and the air you don’t want from intruding!
All you need is a screwdriver. The gaskets themselves are very cheap. You may even want to cover the interior outlets, including the light switches. More info at: http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/tips-sealing-air-leaks.
Managing your thermostat can really beat the beast! Install a programmable thermostat to help you automate efficient habits. You might be surprised at how much money a programmable thermostat can save you.
Keep your house a little cooler in the winter, and dress warmer so you’re not tempted to crank up the heat on a wintry night. In summer, try not to use the air conditioner much at all. Try to trap the cool air from the evening and overnight. Then, close the house and window coverings in the morning. More tips at: http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/thermostats
For every one degree change, you can save between one and three percent of your bill. In cool temperatures, set it for 67 when you’re home, and 55 at night or when you’re away. In warm temperatures, go for 75 degrees instead of 70. If you can make a 10-degree change, that could add up!
Managing your energy usage at the thermostat can make a big difference in lowering your heating or cooling bills.
You can do your own assessment of your home’s energy efficiency, or you can get a professional energy audit. Many utility companies offer these audits, and some are free. Contact your utility to find out what their options are.
And one last budget buster – get on the Budget Plan with your utility provider. You’ll pay the same amount every month; this avoids those unpleasant surprise bills. You can usually set up a budget plan online or by phone. Just contact your utility company.