Everyone is always looking for ways to reduce their energy bills. Here are 5 Things You Can Do To Reduce Your Energy Bills.
5 Things You Can Do To Reduce Your Energy Bills
Energy costs have risen dramatically within the last couple of years and many of us are feeling the squeeze. By taking steps to lower your energy bills, you could help to make things more financially manageable. But just what are the most effective ways to lower your energy bills? Below are 5 of the biggest things you can do that have a major long-term effect, as well as 5 small things that can still have a big difference.
5 big ways to reduce your energy bills…
It may be possible to reduce your energy bills significantly in the future by making a few big investments now. This does require spending a lot of money upfront, however, you will make back this money. 5 examples are listed below:
Consider switching to solar panels
Installing solar panels on your property could allow you to harvest all your own energy from the sun without having to rely on a mains electricity supply. In other words, you may never have to pay an energy bill again. Of course, installing solar panels can be expensive, so it may take a while for you to make your money back. Most people pay for solar panels through finance, which is paid over several years. This home solar calculator is a great tool that can help you determine whether solar panels are worthwhile.
In most cases, you’ll need to own the property to install solar panels on it and you’ll need to make sure that you’re willing to stay there long-term in order to reap the benefits (although solar panels can add value to your home, potentially allowing you to make a profit when you sell). The type of solar panel and where it is positioned can all affect how much energy you are able to harvest. Contrary to what some people think, it doesn’t have to be a clear sunny day to harvest solar energy – solar panels will still produce electricity on a cloudy day.
Install a programmable thermostat
Instead of having to manually adjust the temperature on your thermostat, you can automate temperature control with a programmable thermostat. Such thermostats can be programmed to turn on and off at certain times so that you don’t accidentally leave them on one morning while leaving the house. Some can even be triggered to turn on and off when your home reaches a certain temperature.
On average, those with a programmable thermostat save $180 per year. Such thermostats cost $100 to $450 to buy, and about $80 to $200 to install.
Know when to upgrade your heating/cooling system
An ancient HVAC system or furnace could be costing you a lot more energy than is necessary. Not only do many heating/cooling systems become less efficient as they age, but many soon become outdated – a newer system could have many features that help to conserve more energy while still providing the same power.
HVAC system replacement is unfortunately not cheap – it can cost anywhere from $3,200 to $12,500. A new furnace system can meanwhile cost between $3,000 and $7,600. You will eventually make your money back (especially if your current system is very old and worn), but it won’t be for a good few years. Of course, upgrading could have other benefits such as making your system more powerful, safer and more reliable.
Invest in insulation for your home
Insulating your home is a way of reducing heat loss. For homes that experience very cold winters, it can be an effective way to reduce energy bills by keeping the home warmer longer and reducing the need for frequent heating usage.
There are many different ways that you can invest in insulation. Permanent modifications that you can make to your home include attic insulation, double pane windows, cavity wall insulation and underfloor insulation. Temporary measures that you can take include investing in thick winter curtains or using insulating film on windows.
Buy energy-efficient appliances
If you’ve got very old appliances that are not particularly efficient, consider whether it could be worth replacing them with newer models. Many older appliances guzzle huge amounts of energy, whereas many newer appliances use a lot less. Some of the appliances that use the most energy include the washing machine, dryer, oven and refrigerator – replacing old models of these appliances could have a big impact.
When shopping for new appliances, look for energy star certification. This is one of the best ways to tell how energy-efficient an appliance is.
5 small ways to reduce your energy bills…
You don’t have to spend a lot of money upfront to make a big difference. In fact, there are many measures you can take that cost little or nothing, which could result in huge future savings. You can check out 5 examples below:
Take shorter showers
Showers can use up a lot of energy. If you typically take a ten minute shower, consider cutting this down to five minutes – you’ll save eight cents every time you take a shower, which will add up over the course of a year.
Shorter showers also save you money on your water bill. You’ll also extend the life of your shower.
Don’t wash half loads of laundry
Do you regularly wash small amounts of clothes in the washing machine, or do you try to fill every time? All those small loads could mean more washing machine usage and more energy consumption. The average 395kWh washing machine costs 29 cents per spin cycle – every time you opt for a full load instead of two half loads of washing, you could be saving 29 cents.
Some people like to wash smaller loads because they like to separate colors, but most modern clothes and modern washing machines are designed to prevent colors from running, so there’s usually very little purpose to this (with the exception of separating whites and delicate items). Start getting into a habit of filling up the washing machine every time you use it so that you’re getting your money’s worth.
Turn off lights and unplug appliances when you leave a room
Leaving lights on in a room and leaving appliances plugged in that don’t need to be plugged in can have a huge impact on your energy bills. Whenever you leave a room, get into a habit of turning off light switches – you’ll save a few cents. Similarly, you should go around unplugging any appliances that don’t need to be left plugged in. Many appliances like microwaves and TV screens will still consume energy while plugged in even when not in use.
Weatherstrip your doors and windows
Small gaps around the frames of windows and doors can let air in and out. They can be a huge source of heat loss in winter, resulting in the need to turn up the heating more regularly. By adding weatherstrips to the sides of doors and windows, you could save a lot of money.
It costs $6 to $7 to weatherstrip a single window. Such weatherstrips can be bought online and are easy to apply oneself (many have an adhesive surface and simply stick on).
Replace old bulbs with LEDs when they die
If you’ve still got old incandescent bulbs in your home, it could be worth replacing these with LEDs one they die. LEDs cost more to buy than incandescent bulbs (usually no more than a couple dollars more), however they can consume as much 5 times less energy to illuminate. In other words, you’ll quickly make back the extra money spent on one of these bulbs.
Pretty much all home stores sell LED bulbs. You can also buy them online.