Fall may soon be on the horizon, but we’re in the midst of the dog days of summer, and that means scorching temperatures and higher utility bills to stay cool. If you live in an older home, that may mean your bills are higher than most due to drafty windows, doors, and other things, but there are things you can do–in any season or any home–to reduce your energy bills and even help the environment. Here are our top tips.
1. Wash clothes in cold water
Did you know washing your clothes in cold water can save you more than $60 a year on your utility bills? You’ll reduce the energy your hot water heater needs and cut down your bill over time.
2. Reduce your water heater temperature
Speaking of hot water heaters, turn yours down to approximately 130º. Your water will still be plenty hot for showering and washing dishes, and you’ll enjoy a lower electricity or gas bill.
3. Use blinds and shades to your advantage
In the summer months, close shades or blinds to shield your home from the sun’s heat and give your air conditioning a bit of a break. In the winter months, open them up for the reverse effect–a source of heat. Mother Nature for the win.
4. Install a programmable thermometer
Did you know programmable thermometers can save you up to 10% in heating and cooling costs? It’s true. Set your thermostat to keep your home at the optimal temperature when you plan to be at home and allow it to get a little warmer or cooler when you’re away to see significant savings. Some thermostats, such as the Nest smart thermostat, are even able to be controlled remotely via apps for added convenience.
5. Unplug appliances not in use
Did you know appliances and electronics left plugged in are still using electricity? Turn off all items not in use to rack up savings over time. If you keep multiple items on a power strip, you can flip multiple devices on and off at once conveniently. You’ll notice a difference in your bills.
6. Swap out incandescent bulbs for energy efficient ones
You can save up to 80% off your electricity annually simply by swapping out traditional incandescent bulbs with filaments to new CFL and LED bulbs. They’re a bit more expensive up front, but they last much longer and will pay for themselves very quickly.
7. Use low-flow faucets and shower heads
Low-flow faucets and shower heads reduce the amount of water used at one time and can significantly save you money on your water bill.
8. Change air filters regularly
A dirty air conditioner or furnace filter forces your system to work harder. Change these out every six months for improved energy efficiency and keep some green in your pocket.
9. Seal doors and windows
Air leaks can account for up to 20% higher energy bills. You can seal up windows and doors very inexpensively and will enjoy lower energy bills and a more comfortable home year-round.
10. Look for EnergyStar appliances
Replacing an appliance? Consider buying an EnergyStar rated product. These high-efficiency appliances will shave up to 30% off your bills and pay for themselves over and over again.