Who wouldn’t love to cut their energy bill a little? Did you know there are some simple steps you can take – this weekend even – that can help you reduce your energy bill by a few hundred dollars a
year? While the monthly savings may not seem like much, add them up over 12 months and that’s a nice bit of change sitting in your bank! Think of it as your own personal vacation slush fund!
Replace air filters every month during the summer and check them frequently during the winter to keep air flowing freely through the ducts and reduce strain on the blower motor. If you have pets, I can guarantee you’ll see a reduction in dust and if someone in your family has allergies – they’ll feel better throughout the year. You can feel better knowing you should save at least $40 a year.
Close closet doors to lower the square footage you’re heating (and cooling). Shuttering closets along exterior walls also helps to insulate the house. Believe it or not, just this one, simple act can save you close to $50 a year in energy costs and the added bonus is not having to see your teenager’s messy closet!
Sign up for your utility’s time-of-use plan. Many regional power suppliers offer rebates for reducing electricity consumption during periods of peak demand. You’ll have to retrain your schedule so that you’re washing clothes and dishes at night during non-peak hours, and turning the thermostat up or down a couple of degrees during a cold snap (or heat wave). To me, that’s a small price to pay for what could end up being a savings of up to $50 per month on your energy bill!
Shorten your dryer-vent hose. The average family does 3-5 loads of laundry a week. If you’ve noticed that it’s taking longer for your clothes to dry, you may need to clean your dryer hose and while you’re at, shorten it. First, disconnect it and vacuum it out. Then trim the hose length so that it’s just long enough for you to pull the dryer a few feet out from the wall. A short and unobstructed line makes your dryer run more efficiently. Doing this costs you nothing and not only saves money on your energy bill but your clothes will dry up to 20% faster.
Borrow or rent big tools— Instead of buying these expensive items, consider renting or borrowing them. gas-powered post-hole diggers and table-mounted routers—from a DIY-er in your area for a small fee. Renting these machines will cost you around $100 per day – a big savings if you only used them once a year.
Make your own cleaning solutions using inexpensive items around the kitchen, such as white vinegar and baking soda. See The Green Guide for recipes. Your initial cost for buying extra pantry supplies like the vinegar, baking soda, etc is nothing compared to the savings you’ll see when you stop using commercial cleaners. Did I mention that it’s much greener, too?
Repainting the interior? Choose one neutral trim paint for the entire house rather than buying a gallon of a particular color for each room and using only a fraction of each can. Crisp white trim is always in style, and you’ll never have to rummage around for the right can for touch-ups. Using one color can save you money since the gallon of white will stretch further.
Turn down the thermostat on your water heater. If you’ve never adjusted your water heater, it’s probably set at 140 degrees F to shorten the wait time for a steamy shower. But lowering the temperature 10°-20° will still give you a nice, hot shower and decrease the chance of your kids accidentally scalding themselves. And this simple act can help lower your energy bill at least $30 a year.
Lose the desktop. It’s not only easier to move around with a laptop but since it runs on batteries, they can use 80 percent less electricity than a desktop computer. Of course this only works if you unplug your laptop from the charger while you work!
Install dimmer switches and use energy-efficient halogen bulbs, rather than incandescents. Dimmable CFLs save even more, but there can be inconsistency at low power. Halogens tend to outlast incandescents, saving you more money over time on replacement lights. Added bonus – Duke Energy has free CFLs for their customers. If you haven’t ordered yours already, what are you waiting for?
Have you made any subtle changes around the house that have saved you money? I would love to hear what they are and perhaps share them at another time!