In the winter we fire up our heaters and in the summer we blast our ACs, so can we ever escape the increasing utility bill? Making our homes more energy efficient is the key to saving that money, and help the environment while we’re at it. Start with these 10 tips and watch your bill and your carbon footprint reduce at the same time!
1. Paint your roof white.
Buildings with white roofs require up to 40% less energy to cool off than buildings with black roofs. Black and dark colors absorb the thermal energy from the sun heating the building, while white reflects it and keeps the place cool. Apply an elastomeric coating (found at most hardware stores) with a heavy duty paint roller and save $120 or more each year on your cooling costs.
2. Install an irrigation meter.
Install a separate irrigation meter to measure how much water you use each month for irrigation, swimming pools, and other outdoor water sources to save on your sewage usage bill. Instead of just charging you upfront gallon in for gallon out, your utility company will read the irrigation meter every month and subtract that usage from your sewage usage. While it does cost some money to purchase and install, after a few years you’ll have paid it over and saved on your sewage utility.
3. Check your utilities each night.
Are all the lights in your house turned off? What about the fans? Did someone leave the air conditioning running? Every night before you turn in, do a sweep of the house to make sure that all your utilities and electronics are off. A few minutes every night buys you big savings every month.
4. Set your water heater at 120 degrees.
You can save up to $461 a year by lowering your water heater’s setting from 140 degrees to 120 degrees. The water heater then takes less energy to heat the new water as well as keep the standby water at that higher temp.
5. Use reusable furnace and AC filters.
Not replacing your filters makes your HVAC run less efficiently and using up more electricity. But a reusable filter that can just be taken out and hosed down when it gets clogged keeps your HVAC running at its best and actually increases its lifespan. In less than a year, you can save $20 over the disposable filters you need to buy every three months.
6. Upgrade to energy-efficient appliances.
Yes, upgrading your appliances does come with an upfront cost, but the investment is more than paid back with savings on your utility bills. And many state and local governments and utility companies offer financial incentives for you to upgrade your appliances, so you can make that investment back even faster!
7. Seal any cracks around your doors and windows.
Heat leeches out of every crack in your home, so seal them up tight with expanding foam or caulk. Pay attention to around doors, windows, and outdoor pipes.
8. Compare your bill and your meter.
Everyone makes mistakes, and sometimes this means your utility company misreads your meter. When you get your utility bill each month, check to make sure the meter reading on your bill and the actual meter match up. You could be getting overcharged.
9. Buy Energy Star products.
Energy Star certifications now appear on light bulbs, televisions, fans, and more in addition to the bigger appliances. Switching over to Energy Star products add up in savings, even the smaller items. And they don’t cost any more than non Energy Star products, so there is no downside!
10. Buy a programmable thermostat.
For the small price of a $25 programmable thermostat, you can save up to $180 a year. Program the unit to a higher temperature in summer and a cooler temperature in winter at those hours when your family isn’t home. Your furniture won’t mind a hotter or colder house, and it can save you a significant amount.
Utility bills don’t have to be a financial terror every month. Small changes add up quickly to big savings, so even a few of our 10 tips will have you seeing results on your next statement! If you have any questions about your utility please call us at 661.268.0198