We all hate spending money, but sometimes it pays to spend money, in order to save in the long run. This is especially true when it comes to home ownership. If your home isn’t energy efficient, then you may as well throw your hard earned money out of the window.
So what can you do to keep the bills down? Well, there are many different options available to you that can lead to extra dollars in your pockets at the end of the year After all, it’s better in your purse than in the utility companies’ wallets isn’t it?
The Simple Things That Can Make a Difference
There are many little things that you can do from day to day to save money. All it takes is a bit of self discipline, and maybe a little persistence to remind others to follow these steps.
- Turn lights off when they’re not needed – This one is self-explanatory, if you leave a room and leave the lights on, you are wasting energy unnecessarily. It might not at first appear to be a huge saving, but it’s a start.
- Keep the doors shut – Open doors let cold air mix with warm, and vice versa, plus you have to heat or cool a larger area.
- Close your curtains at night – If you have patio doors, the sunlight will warm up the room but will also let the heat escape at night, so when it gets dark, it’s time to shut the curtains to insulate the room.
- Install draft strips to your doors and windows – For the cost of a few dollars, you can invest in draft strips for your doors and windows. Not only will you save money lost on heating drafts coming into your home, but having strips on the doors will cushion them when your children decide it is a good idea to play ‘slam the door.’ For the colder states, you could also add curtain liners for extra insulation. You’d be surprised, but according to the U.S. Department of Energy, anywhere between 5% and 30% of your total annual energy usage costs are lost to drafts.
- Turn the thermostat down a couple of degrees. As with turning the lights off when not in a room, turning the thermostat down a few degrees might not seem like a huge saving, but it all adds up. Your family probably won’t even notice it.
Getting the Most out of Your Air Conditioning
An air conditioning unit is a real blessing in the warm weather, so it can be cost effective to have it checked out during the colder months instead of when you start to need it. Then you will have peace of mind that it is running cleanly and at its optimum efficiency. Adding ductwork fogging will help with the air quality of your home. If you have had your air conditioning unit for several years, it might be a good time to think about replacing it with a new, more efficient system, especially if it hasn’t been serviced regularly. You may find that it isn’t placed in a desirable position for instance. Air conditioning units need to be placed in the shade, as they will be made to work harder in direct sunlight.
When it’s time to use your air conditioning, you can save money by following a few simple tips.
- Use a ceiling fan, and turn up the thermostat – It might sound counterproductive to turn the thermostat up, but a ceiling fan uses less electricity than the air conditioner so you will still feel comfortable and save money at the same time. Just remember to turn the fan off (along with any lights) when you leave the room.
- Install a programmable thermostat – You don’t want to be using the air conditioning when you don’t need it, so it’s only sensible to turn it down, or even off when you’re not at home.
- Be efficient in the kitchen – Using an oven will be counterproductive as it generates heat. So try to use other methods, such as a microwave, to heat food; or have a barbecue outside. Dishwashers also give off heat when drying. Try to run these when it’s cooler, for example during the nighttime.
Harness the Power of the Sun
The sun gives off free energy, so why not use it? By fitting solar panels you can supplement your electricity supply or heat your water. You might not see the benefits to your household bills straight away, but it will soon pay for itself, especially as the cost of installing a solar powered system has dropped significantly in recent years.
From just a few free tips, to investing over a few years, you can reduce your energy consumption at a cost to suit your pocket, which means you will have more disposable income to spend on life’s little luxuries.