9 Tips for Lowering Your Energy Bills
No matter what type of climate you live in, if you’re like most folks, you still want to save money on your energy bill. Skyrocketing costs during sweltering hot spells or freezing cold stretches can quickly cut into your savings. Here are some easy ways to help you save more of your hard-earned cash and cut down your carbon footprint at the same time!
Use Your Thermostat Wisely
The biggest expense most people face is keeping their home or apartment at an ideal temperature that provides a comfortable environment. Given the weather conditions, costs can vary wildly from month to month. Experts agree, by resisting the urge to adjust the thermostat and keeping it closest to the temperature outside, you will see a noticeable difference in your energy costs.
What’s the ideal temperature to set your thermostat? During hotter weather, set your cooling system to 78 degrees Fahrenheit while you are home, or higher if you plan on being gone for more than four hours. Experts believe this simple trick can save you six to nine percent off your home energy bill alone!
Thermostat settings for colder periods of the year should also be adjusted depending on whether you plan on being home or away. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that for every eight hours you lower the thermostat by one degree, you'll save 1 percent on your bill.
Set it to 68 degrees Fahrenheit during the daytime and bring it down overnight by as much as 10 or 15 degrees to see an energy usage reduction of 5 to 15 percent per year on your bill, according to Energy.gov. Depending on your comfort preferences, you may find it more comfortable to sleep in a cooler environment while using winter blankets to regulate warmth.
Some apartments come equipped with smart home technology, like programmable thermostats, which allow you to set your home's temperature schedule to coincide with your personal habits and work schedule, optimizing how and when you use energy. But no matter what your preference, manual or state-of-the-art, adjusting your thermostat will ultimately help you save money.
Insulate Your Residence
Now that you’ve got the place at the right temperature, maintaining it is your best bet to lower energy costs. If you discover any gaps or spaces in your windows where air might be coming through, submit a request with your maintenance team to see if they can help cover or fill in spaces with rope caulk, a putty-like substance.
Window insulation film is another option. It offers an additional barrier between the inside of your apartment and the outside environment. You can pick up a kit online or at a local store. Most offer plastic shrink film to apply to the inside window frame with double-sided sticky tape.
Protip: Use a hair dryer to heat the film, shrink it, and remove any wrinkles! You can also install removable magnetic window insulation if you want to still be able to open your windows.
Bubble wrap also works well as window insulation, although it looks far less aesthetically pleasing. A quick squirt of water on your clean window should hold it in place but you can also seal the edges up with painter’s tape or any other paint-friendly adhesive to keep from damaging your apartment.
Lastly, thermal curtains and black out blinds can contribute to the stability of your apartment’s interior environment. During colder months the curtains keep the warm air in. On hot summer days, they block out heat and light. They also help reduce noise. Make sure the ones you pick completely cover your windows to effectively insulate your apartment.
It may seem like a no-brainer, but one of the best ways to save money on your energy bills is to simply dress smarter. By wearing less indoors when it’s hot out, or bundling up during colder weather, you can make a big impact on your energy bills without doing or spending anything extra! Better yet, take some of the savings you’ll earn on your energy bill and use it to pad your wardrobe with comfy climate-friendly clothing.
Regularly Check and Replace Your Air Filter
Though you may not know it, the thankless job of your air filter is to catch dust, pollen, and lint, while keeping clean air freely circulating through the cooling and heating system. Keeping the HVAC healthy is essential to maintaining energy-efficient central air and heating systems.
Dirty filters make that system work harder, burning up more energy in the process. By asking your maintenance team to regularly check and replace your filters, you will lower the amount you’ll have to pay on your electric bill.
You should also check your other appliances for dust build up, including your refrigerator and your dishwashing unit. Trapped particles and debris can cause them to overheat and poorly function, eating into your monthly budget.
Be sure to check that all your home appliances are clean and work properly on a regular monthly schedule. Dust and vacuum regularly to prevent excess dirt build up.
Wash Using Colder Water
One of the best ways to make your laundry washing more energy efficient is to adjust the water temperature. Using colder water prevents the water heater from having to work as hard and can save a considerable amount of power, along with your money!
But you don’t have to stop there. You can also take slightly colder showers to save on energy costs. You, and your laundry, will still get just as clean, it just won’t be as expensive! While you’re rinsing off, consider shortening your shower times. Using less water to heat will cut down on both your electric and water bill.
Get Cleaned Up Somewhere Else
Belong to a gym? Like working out? Want to save money on your bills and get pumped up? Try getting cleaned up there instead of at home several times a week. Showering at the gym or cleaning up at work four or five days a week instead of at home will make a sizeable dent in your water and electric bills, cutting down on costs across the board.
Find and Report Leaks Right Away
A leaky faucet or running toilet can cost you big time. Every second of every day it’s not fixed, you’re literally flushing away money. That’s why it is important to identify them fast and make sure to get them fixed. Putting off minor repairs can have unforeseen consequences and waste useful resources. According to a report by the EPA, homes that have leaks waste 90 gallons of water or more every single day. A single leaky pipe or toilet can waste up to 10,000 gallons of water a year!
Skip the Oven
Whenever possible, use alternative methods to heat your food. A toaster oven, electric skillet, or microwave can warm food without wasting the extra resources. You'll use less energy and save some bread at the same time.
Plus, you will save time and eat sooner!
Be Energy Smart
Using your appliances wisely will help you to cut costs and save money. Waiting until later in the evening to run appliances can lower your energy costs. Do your laundry all at once, to maximize heat costs. Hand wash and hang dry whenever possible. Load the dishwasher to capacity before running it.
But don’t stop there! Turn off lights you don’t need like when you’re watching television or using a tablet or laptop. Unplug appliances when you’re not using them.
With a little practice and a dose of mindfulness, you can easily make a game out of finding new ways to save on energy!
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