Tips for Keeping Your Energy Bill Low Year Round

Regardless of the type of energy you use for heating and cooling, there are some things you can do to better control your energy expense. While your refrigerator requires a lot of electric, your heating and cooling systems take the bulk of your energy dollars and there are a few things you can do to cut the costs. Not only will these tips reduce your overall energy consumption, they can also help maintain the comfort level of your home.

Many of the tips will help in both the heating and cooling system so when you look at the amount of work any the tips may require, consider the pay-off being two-fold. However, before you get started the first thing you should do is conduct an energy audit of your home. Not so much to determine which of your devices is causing the most strain on your budget but to determine how much your house is costing you to heat or cool it.

One of the best tools you can use to determine wasteful energy use is a candle. It won’t provide you with any real heat, but it can tell you where your heat or cooling is being wasted. Every candle will typically give off a small trail of smoke. Hold the candle near your doors, windows and even light switches to see if the smoke moves horizontally. This is an indication that air is moving into or out of your home. Either way, it signifies a loss of heat or cooling. Seal your windows and doors and if air is coming through the light switches, remove the plate cover and fill with insulation. You might want to check with an HVAC contractor to ensure you use the right insulation.

Change the filters in you heat or air conditioning units to ensure the air flows freely. A clogged filter will make your unit work harder and produce less heat or cool air than it will if it has unrestricted air movement. If you can’t do this on your own, contact an HVAC contractor for help.

You have probably heard the top reason for lowering your heating bill…reduce the temperature on your thermostat to 68-degrees and in the summer, adjust it upwards to 72. Both temperatures will be comfortable and won’t take as much energy to reach.

Look into installing a programmable thermostat. You can set the home temperature in the winter at a lower temperature if you’re not going to be home and program it to turn up the heat about 30 minutes before you expect to get home. There’s no reason to heat the whole house if no one is going to be there to enjoy it. If you have rooms in the house that are rarely used, consider closing them so you only heat, or cool areas that are going to be used.

While heating and cooling units will eat away at the bulk of your energy budget, look at your hot water heater’s setting. You really don’t need your water running at 140-degrees. A water temperature of 120 degrees will still feel good and will save you energy. It also reduces the chance of scalding young children.

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