You do not have to choose between food and energy. Even as energy costs continue to rise, you can fight to keep your costs down. In fact, you are your best hope for keeping your energy costs down. Furthermore, keeping your costs down is simple, you just need to be willing to do a little work.
Compare Energy Providers
You are not stuck with one energy provider. Government deregulation of energy services has formed a marketplace of retail electric providers (REPs) from consumers can choose. Just as you would for any purchase, major or minor, you can compare rates between different companies. LocalElectricityCompanies.com is one such site that shows you rates from electricity companies that are fighting for your business.
Use Lighting More Efficiently
According to U.S. Energy Information Administration, residential lighting accounts for approximately 10% of energy consumption. It might not sound like a lot but inefficient use of lighting in your home can cost you dearly. Thankfully, there are several ways you can save money on lighting cost:
- · Turn off lights you are not using—Leave the room, turn off the light.
- · Use natural light—Whenever possible let natural light illuminate your home.
- · Use task lighting—Use desk lamps and under-cabinet lights rather than ceiling lights.
- · Reduce wattage—overlit rooms waste power. Choose bulbs with lower wattages.
- · Install dimmer switches—Dimmer switches not only reduce energy use, they increase the light of your bulb.
- · Use energy saving bulbs—In our comprehensive guide to cutting down expenses, we advocate for the use of energy saving bulbs that use less energy.
Weatherize your Home
Escaping or invading air will increase your energy bills, so you need to plug the leaks in and around your home. Additionally, weatherizing your home is simple and inexpensive. All the supplies you need—such as sealing caulk and window glazing—can be purchased at your local hardware store.
- · Exterior—Using caulk, seal the outsides edges of all doors and windows and any other entries into your home, including water spigots, gas and waters pipes, dryer vents, and electrical outlets.
- · Windows—In addition to sealing, replace glazing and install weatherstripping. Using heavy drapes during the winter can also help keep cold air at bay.
- · Doors—install weatherstripping and replace the threshold with a flexible vinyl gasket. Rubber door sweeps along the bottom of the door will also keep cold air out.
- · Interior—Attic openings need to have insulation and weatherstripping installed. Close-fitting glass doors are an excellent way to prevent air from entering and escaping a wood fireplace.
Use your Appliances Wisely
Saving energy costs by using your appliances wisely is simple; you just need to make simple changes.
- · Oven—Reduce heat and save on cooling cost by reducing your oven usage. Consider using the microwave or slow cooker which takes less time and uses less energy.
- · Dryer—Hang drying—especially during the summer—will save you money. Additionally, tossing a dry towel into the dryer can reduce drying time (as long as you remove the towel about 15-20 minutes after you throw it in)
- · Washer—Switch from hot to cold water and make sure you are running full loads.
- · Fridge—Unplug and donate/sell your second fridge and ensure your fridge is always at the ideal temperature—between 2°C and 3°C.
These are small changes to make and individually, they may not seem to save you a lot of money, but collectively, you will see big reductions on your energy bills. And not only that, using less energy ensures you are doing your part to help conserve the environment. No doubt, it is a win-win.