Who likes paying for utilities? I do love my AC and heater but if I can save money by making some minor changes without sacrificing my comfort, I will take it. There are plenty of ways to save money on energy. I will stick with 3 tips this month.
- Doing an energy audit to see if there is any low hanging fruit that I can work with to save energy,
- Turn the thermostat down 3 degrees and use slippers/sweaters/throws to balance my comfort.
- Turn off devices that consume energy continuously.
An energy audit will evaluate your home to see how much energy you use, how efficient your home is and also suggest measures that can be used to save energy and lower energy bills in the process. An energy audit typically includes – blower door test,a thermographic inspection, checks for air leaks and insulation.
- Most of the utility companies will do a free energy audit. Give them a call!
If they don’t offer a free energy audit, you can always hire a professional auditing company or go the DIY route. Energy.gov has an excellent guide on DIY energy audit.
Even if you are not doing a full blown energy audit, there are several things you can do that will take only a few minutes and can save a lot of money.
- Turn the thermostat up a few degrees (in summer) or a few degrees down (in winter). “The rule of thumb is that you can save about 3% on your heating bill for every degree that you set back your thermostat” full time, says Bill Prindle, deputy director for the nonprofit American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). That means if you lower the thermostat by 3 degrees you can save ~10% of your energy bill.
- Slay energy vampires. A lot of electronic devices (and we really have a LOT of them) consume energy even when they are in standby. Here is a table of different devices and how much they consume while they are on or stand by. It might be a good idea to use something like a Belkin Conserve Socket to shut off devices while not in use. If you really want to understand the energy usage of all your devices you can try something like the Belkin Conserve Insight Energy-Use Monitor or P3 Kill A Watt Electricity Usage Monitor (Tip: Before you buy these monitors, check your local library, you might be able to borrow them and avoid spending money).
I won’t list every single tip on saving energy. If you are interested, Energy.gov’s Energy Savers website is a treasure trove of information on how to save energy (and money). They also have a booklet that summarizes different ways to save energy – Download the Energy Savers Booklet.
Savings: $10-$25 a month (depending on the average energy bill across U.S.).