Slash Your Utility Bill

For earth day I thought I would do a post about saving energy. Saving is easier than working, right? The more you save, the less you need to work. So here goes…

1 – Unplug your electronics. Big screen TVs & stereo systems are the worst. Older computer systems too. It takes a bit of effort to actually unplug devices, but this can save you $3 – $5 per month. If you are lazy there are power strips that shut off power when they sense inactivity.

2 – Unplug your extra fridge. Seriously this will save you $15 a month. Its easy to do and costs nothing. If you have an old fridge this might even save you more. Newer fridges use half the energy of ones built in 1990.

3 – Light bulbs. If you are desperate to save money, switching from incandescent to CFL spiral bulbs will save you around 50 cents per bulb per month. Dont laugh, it adds up. Since the spiral bulbs are relatively cheap, the payback time is short. Buyer beware as some people are sensitive to the spiral bulbs, they contain chemicals and can also interfere with various radio waves/signals. A much better alternative are the new LED bulbs. Im really excited about these since they dont contain any toxic products, they have a long lifespan (20+ yrs), they are cool to the touch and are dimmable. The prices have come down a lot in just a couple of years too and continue to drop.

4 – Install a newer energy star programmable thermostat. This was one of the first things we did when we bought our house. Smart move. You’re not running the heat (or a/c) when you dont need it.

5 – Since we have no A/C in the house, ceiling fans are a must. We live in a nice moderate temp area… it never gets much above 100 and it never get much below 40. We save hundreds per month not having air conditioning and the ceiling fans move the air around fine. If you can use ceiling fans to get through warm days you could save a lot each month. A whole house attic fan is how we keep the house cool on really hot days.

6 – A ton of air leaks out of homes via the chimney. If you dont use yours or are done using it for the winter, put some insulation in a black garbage bag and stuff that into your chimney to block any drafts. Dont forget to remove it when you fire up your fireplace in the future. Dont say I didnt warn you 🙂 15% of heat escapes out of a chimney so this is an easy fix.

7 – This makes a huge difference… WINDOWS. Replacing those old single pane windows with new double pane, low-e, gas filled, high performance windows makes a noticeable difference. Rooms stay cool in the summer longer, rooms stay warm in the winter longer. You will fork over some cash to get new windows, but if you plan to own your home a while this is a good move to make.

8 – Insulating your hot water tank can save a few dollars a month. This is easy to do since you can buy specially made hot water tank insulated covers. Lowering the hot water temp from 140 to 120 can also save a few bucks. Try and it and see if you can manage.

Those are some of the big ways to save, but there are smaller ways to save too.

– air dry your clothes in the summer

– wash only full loads of clothes or dishes
– wash clothes in cold water

Each of those might save you only $50 a year, but added up can save you hundreds. What are some of the ways you save money?

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