Inflation isn’t just affecting the cost of gas and groceries. Utilities costs are going up, too – particularly energy costs.
That means it’s time to dust off all the tried-and-true tricks for cutting back on your energy usage. While you probably need to use a minimal amount of energy in your home, you still have at least some control over how much power and gas you use. You can cut energy costs by using more efficient light bulbs and appliances, installing ceiling fans, turning your hot water heater down, and programming your thermostat so that you’re only heating and cooling your home when you’re in it.
1. Use Energy Saving Light Bulbs
Switching from incandescent to energy-saving LED light bulbs is one of the simplest things you can do to lower your electricity consumption. LED light bulbs use 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs, and last 25 times as long, so you’ll save money on the light bulbs themselves, too. LED bulbs don’t get hot, either, so you don’t have to worry about burning yourself when you replace them – and the bulbs don’t emit heat that can raise your cooling costs in the summer.
2. Replace Old Appliances
If you’re still using 10- or 15-year-old appliances, it’s time to seriously consider buying new ones. Your old appliances just aren’t as efficient as they could be, anymore. Newer appliances have newer technology that allows them to operate while consuming less power. You could shave a lot of money off your power bill by replacing your older appliances with new, efficient models. Look for appliances with the Energy Star rating.
3. Install Ceiling Fans
Installing ceiling fans is another upfront expense, but it’s well worth it for the increased savings and comfort ceiling fans can bring to your home. You can buy ceiling fans in a wide variety of sizes, designs, and colors, so there’s no need to hang up some old-fashioned wicker monstrosity if that’s not what you want.
A ceiling fan can make a room feel four degrees cooler in the summer, and it’s not just for summer cooling, either. You can reverse the direction of your fan blades in the winter, so that they spin clockwise. This will push warm air down from the ceiling to make the room feel warmer and make the most of the energy you’re using to heat your home.
4. Turn Your Water Heater Down
Do you really need to take scalding hot showers? Lots of people have their water heaters turned up too high, and don’t realize it. You can save $36 to $61 a year by turning your hot water heater down to 120℉, instead of the 140℉ that many manufacturers set their heaters to. Unless you have a dishwasher that doesn’t have a water heating element, you don’t need water hotter than 120℉. Having it turned up all the way 140℉ increases your risk of scalding injuries, especially if you have children in the house.
5. Program Your Thermostat
Installing a programmable thermostat can slash your heating and cooling costs by as much as 10 percent a year. You can program your thermostat to only heat or cool your house to a comfortable temperature range when you’re actually home and active. That means you can set your thermostat to go up to 85℉ in the summer during the day, when you’re out at work. In the winter, you can set it to 50℉ during the day when you’re out. You can even program your thermostat to a higher temperature at night in the summer, and open your windows for a cooling night breeze instead. In the winter, keep your home cooler at night and snuggle under more blankets.
Programming your thermostat so that your heating and cooling system is only working overtime to keep your home comfortable when you’re in it is just common sense, and it can make a huge difference to your power or gas bill. For extra convenience, put in a smart thermostat – that way you can control your home’s temperature via your smartphone and adjust the temperature remotely on days when you’re going outside of your normal schedule.
Energy costs might be through the roof these days, but you can still take steps to cut your energy costs. You almost have to, if you want to afford anything else! Follow these steps to cut down on your energy intake, and you can continue to make room for utilities in your household budget.