Saving Money

The Ultimate Guide to Saving Money on the Electric BillWho doesn’t want to save money? Here are 40 things you can do to your home to make that payment to your service provider a little easier.

Energy Audit
Local HVAC companies, your service provider and independent companies will provide this service. They can inspect your home and pinpoint the areas where something could be done to save money on electricity.

Install Dimmer Switches
These devices can save you money, but make sure you check for grounding and appropriate box size. You might have to upgrade wiring to meet local electrical code demands.

Keep Your Refrigerator and Freezer Completely Full
Once food is frozen, it too will act like an insulation. This will cause the unit to work less to cool the space.

Use Ceiling Fans
The main idea for these is to keep air moving. This will put less demand on the HVAC system to circulate air. If it is wintertime, reverse the fan action and the hot air that is rising will be forced back down to the floor.

Hang the Clothes Outside
Yes. Grandma had the right idea. Set up an outdoor clothes line. You will save money and your clothes will smell great! If you can’t set one up outside, consider the use of a rack inside a room that has less trafffic during the day.
Tip: If you don’t like the stiffness that results from drying outside, include 1/3 cup of white vinegar in the final rinse cycle. White vinegar is a natural fabric softener and will also loosen up the leftover laundry detergent in the fibers of the clothing. It will also evaporate, so don’t worry about the smell.

Unplug Things
Televisions, computers, stereos, kitchen appliances, fans, all use electricity when they are not being used. Use a power strip wherever you can and turn the power off to anything that is not being used. You can also purchase “smart strips” that will turn off when the items plugged into it are not being used.

Use an Attic Fan
Hot air rises and it ends up in your attic. An attic fan will exhaust the hot air and when reversed will pull in cold air to cool the attic. It’s a good choice.

Make Use of the Sun
Determine the side of your house that gets the most sunshine on any given day. During the summer, close the curtains and blinds on that side to prevent hot air from heating up the space even more. During the winter, open these blinds and curtains to allow the sun to heat that area.

HVAC Maintenance Contracts
Electrical and mechanical systems and parts have warrantied lives. They get overheated, have undue stresses placed on them, and just wear out. A yearly visit by an HVAC provider can do a great deal in preventing any surprises or large bills all at once. Have your HVAC system inspected so that it will operate at peak performance levels.

Change the Filters
Yes. You have heard it several times. But, it remains very high on the list of important things to do throughout the year. Clean filters will clean your indoor air. They will allow air to flow more freely and reduce the demand on the electrical and mechanical parts of your HVAC system.

Switch to LEDs
These bulbs use 90% less energy than conventional offerings and according to Consumer Reports last five times longer than other bulb types.

Evaluate Your Landscaping
Use trees, shrubs, and flowers to produce shade and windbreaks for your home.

Wash Your Dishes by Hand
Instead of using the dishwasher all the time, do them yourself. Get your family involved and it will take less time. It might even be fun!

Lower Your Hot Water Heater Temperature
Install some kind of insulation around your water heater, insulate the pipes, and lower the temperature of your hot water. Instead of using cold water in the shower or tub to decrease the heat of the hot water, why not just lower the temperature at the source?

Don’t Use Peak Rate Electricity
Speak to your energy provider or search their website for the times when energy is less expensive during the day. Operate your major appliances during these times.

Energy Star Appliances
These appliances have been tested and comply with national energy conservation standards as set forth by the Department of Energy. They use less energy than older models.

Use Cold Water in the Clothes Washer
Clothes Washers have to get water to a certain temperature during the cycle. Using cold water will eliminate this requirement. Plus most clothes will last longer if not constantly subjected to hot water.

Fill Up the Clothes Washer.
Don’t just wash a small load of clothes. Do the wash less number of times by only washing a full load of clothes.

Use Low Flow Shower Heads
Low flow shower heads allow less water to come out of the nozzle. If you use these, your hot water heater will have less demand to produce hot water, thus saving you money.

Programmable Thermostats
This type of thermostat is designed to adjust the temperature based on a series of settings that go into effect at different times during the day.

Use More Blankets
Design your bedding for comfort based on how many are needed and what kind of material offers you the best chance for warmth. You will be able to keep the thermostat at a lower temperature at night if you use more bedding.

Clean the Lint Screen in Your Dryer
Keep this screen clear and clean. Clear it after each load and clean it with soap every few months.

Tip: Did you know dryer lint is an excellent fire starter?

Use Dryer Balls
Dryer balls get in between items of clothing during the drying cycle. They pull the items apart allowing the hot air to directly touch the material. Clothes dry faster.

Use Tankless Water Heaters
Tankless water heaters provide hot water upon demand without storing the hot water in reserve. The water may also be cleaner as it has not been stored in a tank full of sediment.

Make Use of Insulation Behind Electrical Outlets & Switches
The area behind outlets and switches is not usually insulated. Purchase electrical outlet sealers and place them in these areas.

Storm Doors
These doors can add visibility, keep out bugs during the summer, protect the main door from the elements, and come in many attractive styles. Some of them have insulative qualities.

Clean Refrigerator Coils
Dirty condenser coils make your refrigerator work harder, which will drive up the energy bill. Keep the coils clean and the refrigerator will be more efficient.

Turn Your Stove/Oven Off Early
Turn the stove off before the total cooking time is needed. When water reaches a boil, turn it off. If you turn the oven off before the total cooking time has been reached, then the last bit of heat will do the rest of the cooking.

Install Motion Sensors
Why use light when no one is around? Use motion sensors attached to lights and they will only turn on when a body is present.

Put a Timer on Your Water Heater
Hot waters heaters work all the time to keep a supply of water at the ready. A timer will tell the water heater to heat water only when you need it.

Outdoor Solar Lights
Solar lights will charge their battery during the day and light your way during the night.

Uncovered Foods in the Fridge
Don’t put uncovered foods in the fridge and let the food cool down if it has been hot. The hot food will produce condensation inside the fridge and cause it to cycle on longer.

Don’t Put a Second Refrigerator or Freezer in the Garage
The temperature of your garage will fluctuate based on the outside temperature and the amount of outside air allowed into the garage. A refrigerator or freezer placed in the garage will have to continuously compensate for this change in temperature by overworking at times.

Use Lids for Pots and Pans
Foods will cook faster and the stove will use less energy if lids are used.

Don’t Preheat the Oven
Temperature critical foods such as meats may require preheating, but if you are cooking long baking items, you may not actually have to preheat the oven.

Use a Microwave
Microwaves don’t use as much electricity as stoves and don’t put off as much heat either.

Flush Your Hot Water Heater
Hot water heaters build up sediment based on the minerals found in your local water supply. As this sediment accumulates, the water heater becomes less efficient.

Home Insulation
Make sure all areas of your home are insulated with the correctly coded insulation for your area. Consult with local construction companies, HVAC providers, energy audit companies, and the Department of Energy for code specifications.

Use Weaterstripping
Inspect your doors and windows. If you can see gaps, then heat is escaping or the outside air is coming inside. Seal this with weatherstripping.

Use Insulating Paint
It is now possible to purchase ceramic additives that turn normal paint into paint that insulates.