Wednesday, March 8, 2017, PM | Leave Comment
As energy and fuel prices are set to go up, everyone is looking for ways to reduce their energy bills.
Luckily, there are many things a homeowner can do to cut their utility bills, and some of the best savings don’t require you to spend any money on special appliances or features.
Simply changing your daily habits can go a long way.
Intelligently Manage Your Thermostat
Most modern central heating and AC systems come with a high-tech thermostat to match. These mini climate computers can save you a bundle on your heating and cooling costs if you take a little extra time to use them to their full potential.
Most of these units can, at the very least, be programmed to a daily schedule that controls when they come on. It is better to only apply climate control to your house when you are in it. This means programming it to turn off when you leave for the day or at night when you are cozy in bed.
Smarter thermostat systems can be installed that bring this programming to a new level. Combine the thermostat with a few sensors like those in a security system and they get a whole lot smarter. Most can be set so they automatically come on when you enter the house and automatically turn off when you leave.
Control the Hot Water
Water heating accounts for about 18 percent of most homes’ energy costs. A lot of this energy is also wasted by keeping water hot when it doesn’t need to be kept hot or not delivering the hot water efficiently where it’s needed.
The easiest step is to simply turn down the water heater to its mid-level or warm setting. It takes a lot more energy to keep the water heated to its higher setting, and you probably aren’t using the water at that temperature anyway.
Going a step further, you can install miniature water heaters in often-used places like the kitchen sink. Lots of water and energy is wasted waiting for hot water. The miniature heater provides a ready source of hot water and can dramatically reduce waste.
Seal It Up
Most houses are leaky. They have tiny, often unnoticeable, cracks and openings that allow air to escape to the outside. This can be a disaster for your utility bills.
It pays to have your home professionally inspected by a contractor to find and fix these leaks. They usually happen around windows, especially as the windows and frames age. Lesser known culprits are recessed lighting fixtures, chimneys and plumbing.
All of these have the potential for creating gaps in insulation.
Install LED Lights
Lighting is one of the major energy drains in a home next to climate control. LED lights have numerous advantages over traditional lights. They don’t burn out in the traditional sense and last much longer, they produce almost no heat, so they are safer, and they consume only a tiny fraction of the electricity.
Contact Your Provider and Audit
Many utility providers are interested in helping their customers save money. There may be multiple suppliers in your area with different rates. Even if you have only a single option, it can be helpful to contact them for incentives and deals.
Energy providers like Lumo Energy may offer various rates and plans to customize to your needs.
It is also worthy to ask your provider about an audit and installing a smart meter in your home.
A few small changes and inexpensive installations or upgrades to your home can have long-term cost and energy savings. The small changes you make today can will pay off in the future. It is definitely well worth the effort.
Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from West Jordan, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing and spending time with her dog, Max.