By Aurora McCausland
It seems as if we only get a few months out of each year where we aren’t either blasting the AC or running our heater 24/7. Those few months, we get to experience a lower utility bill, resulting in a bit of extra cash in our wallets. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could experience those utility savings year round? No, you don’t have to tell your children to just put on another sweater when they are cold in order to save on utilities! Here are a few creative ways to cut your utility bill!
Get an energy audit
Many utility companies will offer a free energy audit to their customers. Call your utility company and ask about free energy audits! It doesn’t hurt to ask. Chances are, they will be more than happy to send a technician out to your home to do a quick audit. With the results of this audit, they will let you know what areas you are using the most energy. In turn, this will help you know where to cut back on energy usage!
Line dry your laundry
Drying your laundry takes up a lot of energy, and this amount just climbs the more people live in your household. Winter may not be the best time to start line drying, but during the summer months, set up a few clotheslines in your backyard, and hang up those hard to dry items(like linens and other textiles!) that take a few cycles to truly get dry.
Make sure that your home is properly insulated
If your home isn’t well insulated, you’ll be essentially paying through the nose to heat/cool the area surrounding your house! Not a very effective use of your energy or money, honestly. Adding insulation to windows and doors is inexpensive and will make a big difference.
Install dimmers and ceiling fans
Do you really need all of the lights on in your home at full force? Installing dimmers will allow you to spend less energy lighting the same rooms that you were before. This is not only easier on your utility bill, but it’s easier on your eyes! In the evening hours, once the sun has gone down, you should be dimming the lights in front of you to help your brain ease into sleep easier later on. Ceiling fans are another great way to save energy! Contrary to popular belief, they aren’t just for cooling a room down. They can also warm up a room! That’s right! Ceiling fans can rotate two different ways, and you should switch that as the seasons change to promote warm air from circulating rather than cool air.
What in the world is a phantom load? Did you know that 75% of the energy used in your home electronics is used when you aren’t even using those appliances and electronics? That’s what a phantom load is. Things like DVD players, TVs, computers, and many kitchen appliances suck up energy when you’re not even using them. The best way to cut back on this excess energy use, is to plug all of these energy sucking appliances into power strips. When you are no longer using them, flip the power strip off. Once you get into the habit of it, it will feel similar to just flipping off the lights when you leave a room, and you will save a whopping 75% of your homes energy usage.
Make the switch to LED
LED light bulbs use 90% less energy than conventional light bulbs! That reason alone should be enough to motivate you to place an order for all new LED light bulbs right now. You can stock up on the more environmentally friendly bulbs, and then swap your existing bulbs out as they burn out. They may be slightly more expensive of an upfront cost, but they last longer than a regular light bulb does, and you’ll consequently lower your utility bill. So you’ll end up saving money before you know it.
Change your filters and have routine HVAC maintenance
If your HVAC system is working harder than it should have to, it’s going to cause your utility bill to skyrocket! Changing your air filters will prevent your HVAC from having to work too hard. When they are chock full of dust and debris, they can’t push the warm air into your home, so it has to create more hot air in order to be effective. Another way to ensure that your heating and cooling systems are working properly are to schedule routine maintenance for your HVAC system!