The Utility Bill Strikes – Strike Back with Energy Efficiency!
There are few worse feelings as a homeowner than cracking open an envelope from the utility company and realizing that the bill is a lot higher than you were expecting. We’ve all been there, and it’s a major downer. Fear not, though, because there’s something you can do about it! With a little bit of a can-do attitude and some minor expenses, you can tackle the problem head-on and cut down on your utility costs. Energy efficiency is the name of the game, and we’re here to give you a few helpful pointers.
- Attic – As we’ve learned in school, heat rises. When you’ve got your heater running but you have poor insulation in your attic, your hard-earned dollars are fluttering straight out of the top of your home. Luckily, insulation materials are pretty cheap and very easy to install, and it’s one of the most energy-efficient approaches you can take. You can save around 20% on your heating/cooling bills just by ensuring your attic is properly insulated! Check out Energy Star’s website to determine if your home could benefit from an attic insulation project.
- Outlets and Light Switches – This may seem like a weird idea, but a small amount of heat can actually be lost in older homes through electrical outlets and light switches. Some of you may have even noticed a draft from your outlets – and that means you’re losing money. Luckily, it’s an inexpensive fix.
While we’re touching base with electricity in your home… If you’re not using it, turn it off!
- Water Heaters – The Energy Department reports that if you insulate your water heater, you could reduce heat standby costs by 25%-45% and save you anywhere from 7%-16% in water heating costs. Most home improvement stores carry pre-cut jackets or blankets for water heaters that only cost around $20. It’s a piece of cake!
- Weather Stripping – Yet another cheap and effective approach to dealing with drafts throughout the house. Zero experience needed to implement these improvements. Check out the Energy Department’s page on weather stripping.
Take the Manual Approach!
- Laundry – Try drying your clothes on a hangar (indoors, if you’re concerned about allergens). You’d be surprised how much money you can save every month just from cutting down on using the dryer every time you wash your clothes.
Also, wash your clothes in cold water! Cutting down on using hot water will save you some serious money every month.
- Dishes – Hand-wash and dry large dishes, pots and pans. They take up a lot of room, and it’s just more efficient to free up that space for smaller dishes.
Upgrade the Unit, Downgrade the Energy Usage
- Lights – For all of the energy going into incandescent light bulbs, the majority of it is converted to heat, and very little is actually converted into light. It’s just not efficient, and there are so many better options out there. Consider a light bulb overhaul for your home – they last longer and consumer far less energy. Check out our blog post on making the switch to LED lighting. This is energy efficiency at its finest.
- Thermostats – Did you know you can buy a programmable thermostat to regulate your home’s temperatures for you? No more micro-managing. We recommend setting it around 55-60 degrees in the winter and around 76-78 degrees in the winter. You’ll notice the difference when the heating bill comes around! For more information and benefits of installing a programmable thermostat, click here.
- Go With the Low-Flow – According to the Department of Energy, “Federal regulations mandate that new shower head flow rates can’t exceed more than 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm) at a water pressure of 80 pounds per square inch (psi). New faucet flow rates can’t exceed 2.5 gpm at 80 psi or 2.2 gpm at 60 psi. You can purchase some quality, low-flow fixtures for around $10 to $20 a piece and achieve water savings of 25%–60%.” Those are some serious savings! You can purchase low-flow fixtures to replace shower heads, faucets, toilets, dishwashers and clothes washers.
Some Final Thoughts…
All in all, the majority of these suggestions are easy to implement and they don’t cost much. If you were to make all (or even a few) of these changes this week, you’d be sure to notice a substantial difference in your energy bills – guaranteed!
Would you like some assistance maximizing the energy efficiency of your home? At HEP Is On The Way, our professional services are centered around your home. We specialize in heating and air conditioning, electrical, plumbing, septic, roofing and more! If’ its connected to your house or under your roof, our master technicians can handle the job quickly and efficiently! Need help with a project or repairs around the home? Do you need advice or have any questions? Give us a call today at (865) 240-0438!