For families looking to save money, energy consumption at home can cost more than many realize. Many households aren’t conscious of how much energy their appliances take up, especially when they’re left them running. Those costs add up when it comes time to pay the bills.
According to the EPA’s Energy Star program, the average family in the United States spends about $2000 on energy bills. Many little things can add up to meaningful savings, so considering your energy habits carefully is a smart option if you find your bills are higher than you’re used to. If you’re unsure where to get started, here are four small things you can do to save on your energy bills.
1. Turn off your air conditioner when you’re not at home.
One common way to waste energy is when, regardless of whether you’re home or not, your air conditioning system is always running. While it’s nice to come home to a chilly house when the temperatures are high, you’re paying a premium for the privilege, and for many families, it just isn’t worth the expense. If you like a particular temperature while you’re falling asleep, consider that it likely won’t wake you up not to have the air conditioner running all through the night. Many thermostats also have a timer that will turn your heat or AC off automatically. Make use of it if you have one, so you won’t even have to remember to turn it off on your way to work.
2. Adjust your water heater.
While a steaming hot shower might feel good, your water heater is costing you more than you might think. According to the EPA, the average household spends $400 to $600 every year on h, which adds up to 14% to 18% of the household’s total utility bill. Not running your water heater at the maximum temperature might seem strange, but your water heater likely has a default temperature around 140 degrees. Reducing it a little won’t take anything away from your being able to take a nice, warm shower.
3. Use energy-heavy appliances at night.
Companies that manage utilities charge a higher rate for power consumed during peak hours. That means you can save a little money by using your washing machine, clothes dryer, dishwasher, and other energy-intensive appliances late at night, and it’s basically like getting your power on sale. There’s no reason you can’t let the dishes run while you’re sleeping, and the change in routine will cut costs and save you from paying the highest price for your energy needs.
4. Reduce your lighting expenses.
There are a couple of surprisingly simple ways to save money on lighting. First, using incandescent bulbs instead of LED bulbs will not only use less energy, but they’ll also save you money over the course of the life of the bulb. Some vendors estimate that LED lights last over 40 times longer than their incandescent counterparts, in addition to using less power. Compact fluorescent lamps, or CFLs, are also recommended by the EPA. It’s also important to get used to doing simple things, like turning lights off when you leave a room.
For anyone looking to upgrade their living situation and save money on energy costs, there are plenty of improvements that you can make around the house and habits that you can change. You don’t necessarily have to overhaul your home or lifestyle to see a noticeable difference in the amount you spend on your energy bills, and investing in your home is something you won’t regret if you choose to sell at a later date. If you’re tired of your monthly bills being an unpleasant surprise, there’s no reason not to start taking inventory of your energy consumption habits today and start finding the areas in your life and routine where some small changes can add up to a big difference.