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Save Energy and Lower Your Energy Bills

Updated on September 11, 2014

Conserve Energy and Save

Keeping our houses cool in the summer and warm in the winter can place a burden on your finances. Too minimize energy costs you need to save energy anyway you can. There are simple things you can do to lower your bills each month and keep a few more dollars in your pocket. Below are some energy saving tips to help you keep your home comfortable while you save energy. You will also discover the added savings of investing in necessary home renovations.

Photo credit: kconnors from morguefile.com

Don't Forget!

Your utility company can be a great source for help and info. Many of them provide information about how to lower your bills and some will do energy audits for free or at very low cost. Also ask about "time-of-use" rates. It might be cheaper to run that dishwasher at night than during the day.

Places to Get More Energy Conservation Information - Sites that want you to save energy

Check out these sites for more details about energy efficient products and other ways to use less energy.

Reduce Energy Costs

Complete Guide to Reducing Energy Costs (Consumer Reports Complete Guide To...)
Complete Guide to Reducing Energy Costs (Consumer Reports Complete Guide To...)

This book gives you advice and strategies to lower your energy use and energy bills.

 

Save Energy with Temperature Control

Install a programmable thermostat

Similar to cruise control for the speed of a car, a thermostat allows you to keep the temperature steady in your house. But unless you're home 24/7, you don't really want it to stay steady. With a programmable thermostat, you can set the temperature lower while you're out during the day or at night while you're sleeping. Lowering your thermostat from 78 to 65 for 8 hours a day can save 10 percent on your heating bill. Lowering it two degrees around the clock can achieve even greater savings.

Dropping the room temperature in your house while positive can be an adjustment; especially, if you are easily impacted by temperature changes. To deal with the changes you have to pick up your heat from somewhere else - not another heater - by pulling on an extra layer of clothes to keep you toasty and on track with your energy saving goals.

Programmable Thermostats Save Energy and Money - Find a thermostat to transform your heating bills

Honeywell  RTH7600D Touchscreen 7-Day Programmable Thermostat
Honeywell RTH7600D Touchscreen 7-Day Programmable Thermostat

Set the temperature with a touch of the button. Set the temperature lower when you are out to save energy.

 

Lighting Ideas to Lower Your Energy Costs

Using Compact Florescent Bulbs

Compact fluorescent light bulbs have come a long way in recent years, improving not only in efficiency but also in light quality. If you're still concerned about light quality, consider replacing at a minimum bulbs in general lighting areas like hallways, entryways, outdoor fixtures and accent lighting. You can save 75-80% on your electricity bills by using these as much as possible. Remember that they have a tiny amount of mercury in them, so handle and dispose with care.

CFLs cost quite a bit more than an incandescent bulb, however. Popular Mechanics has a stellar article, complete with chart, comparing the different brands in different settings from a lab test they did. Definitely worth checking out.

LED Bulb Saves Money and Energy

Becoming Energy Savvy

Do you have plans to reduce your energy consumption?

See results

Save Energy by Removing Air Leaks

Check your house for air leaks and stop those drafts

Once you've got the air in your house just the right temperature, you certainly don't want it escaping or air that's colder or warmer getting in instead. So you want check to make sure air stays where you want it. You can light a candle or incense or use a feather - run it around the openings where you want to check and look for flickering or waving. That's a sure sign air is moving in places where you don't want it to. You can also try slipping a dollar bill in between the edges of the windows or doors to see if it's time to start replacing the weatherstripping.

So where do you need to check? Anywhere things join together or come apart. This includes:

  • Dropped ceilings
  • Recessed lighting
  • Attic entrance
  • Sill plates
  • Water and furnace flues
  • Door frames
  • Chimney flashing
  • Window frames
  • Electrical outlets and switches
  • Plumbing and utilities
  • All ducts - look for sections that have separated and for holes. Consider insulating the ducts.
  • Crawl Spaces
  • Base boards

Insulation for Energy Conservation

More is better so check how much you have!

Insulation keeps your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. There are several common types of insulation - fiberglass (in both batt and blown forms), cellulose, rigid foam board, and spray foam. Increasing the amount of insulation in your attic, walls and floor can greatly decrease heat loss.

You can also insulate your walls by mixing a special insulating additive into your paint. Paint the wall and viola! Your walls get an extra level of insulation permanently to help keep the warmth in. There are at least two places to order the additive from - www.hytechsales.com and www.insuladd.com.

Keep in mind that you can also add insulation to the pipes to keep the water warm as it travels through and your ducts to keep air warm and cold.

Windows

Windows can be an expensive change, but they’re one of the worst places for losing energy if you have old ones. Single-paned aluminum windows transfer heat and cold readily, making them prime prospects for replacement to improve efficiency. Energy efficient windows can reduce heating and cooling bills by as much as 15 percent. And, you might qualify for rebates from your utility company and tax breaks.

What to do if replacing old windows isn’t in the budget just yet. Good drapes can also help with the windows if you can’t or don’t want to replace the windows just yet. Use them to keep warm air in at night and to let in the sun’s warmth during the day. If your windows aren’t double-insulated, tape clear plastic sheeting to the inside of your window frames. Do this if you can feel drafts, water condensation or frost. If leaky windows continue to be a problem, consider installing storm windows over single-pane windows or a storm door over a leaky front door.

Fans

Redirect the heat

Newer homes tend to have higher ceilings, which just means the heat your system creates can get farther away from you in the winter. (Unless you’re Spiderman and can climb the walls to find the warmer spots!) Redirect the heat back down into the room with a ceiling fan. Most fans have a switch that reverses the direction of the blades to counter-clockwise, pushing warm air back down into the room. Just keep it on low to make sure the air stays warm!

Heating

Fireplaces, furnaces and hot water

Fireplaces - Keep the damper closed when it's not in use - just make sure to wait several hours after the fire dies. Don't use a ventilation fan while you've got your wood-burning fireplace on or you'll end up with smoke and soot throughout your house and you'll lose the heating benefits of the fireplace.

Furnaces - Regularly clean and replace your furnace air filters. Don't block your registers or returns.

Hot water heater - Set your hot water heater to 120 degrees, 140 degrees if you have a dishwasher without a heating unit. Turn it down at least 20 degrees if you leave the house for a few days. You can also insulate your hot water heater with a "blanket" or cover, which you can get at a home improvement or hardware store. You can also save on heating hot water by taking shorter showers, as showers can account for two-thirds of your water heating costs.

Appliances with an Energy Star Rating

Save electricity.

Energy star appliances can save money, but they're typically more expensive than buying cheaper appliances. Before you buy a new appliances, shop around and try to compare how much you'll save with the appliance versus how much you'll spend to buy the energy-saving model.

  • Keep your refrigerator full. It'll operate more efficiently.
  • Wash clothes in cold water. Cold-water washing can get all but extremely soiled laundry clean and save you around $60 yearly. Plus, it conserves your clothing as well, by limiting shrinkage, dye bleeding, and other types of fabric damage.
  • Dishwasher - Use your dishwasher. Running a load of dishes saves more fuel than hand-washing as long as you don't rinse the dishes before putting them in (with new machines you won't need to). Run the machine only when it's full and turn off the "heat-dry" cycle. Set it to "air-dry" or just leave the door ajar.
  • Don't turn off your computer, as long as you have a newer model that goes into sleep mode. Any energy savings is fairly negligible. Monitors take more energy than CPUs but dim themselves when not in use, and you can set them to sleep sooner rather than later to save more.

Save Money and Energy with Green Computing - Cut your energy costs

Under the category every little bit helps, finding a PC that cuts down your energy output is something you can to do keep costs down.

Any of these tips helping to keep money in your wallet? Got something better share? Here's the place to do it!

How Are You Saving Energy?

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    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great lens on energy saving methods. A lot of pertinent information here.

    • profile image

      upvc_double_glazing 5 years ago

      great post on ways to save energy. Definately agree with the windows section, we know all to well the importance of fitting double glazed windows and checking loft insulation

    • TopStyleTravel profile image

      TopStyleTravel 8 years ago

      Great info on a timely subject. Saving resources and cash. 5 stars. My suggestion to lower energy costs is to install Solar Star attic fans. They are low cost & require no electricity to operate. Best of all you get a 30 % Federal Tax rebate. More info at their website: www.solatube.com

    • profile image

      Oosquid 8 years ago

      Excellent lens and very useful information. I like to keep warm and love low bills. 5 stars.

    • Paula Atwell profile image

      Paula Atwell 8 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      Excellent and good timing for winter.

    • TheBookGarden1 profile image

      TheBookGarden1 8 years ago

      Some great general info here! Good to see people concerned about looking after this planet, after all, it's the only one we have!

      Perhaps you'd also like to look at my lens about saving energy with your PC - Green Computing

    • Teddi14 LM profile image

      Teddi14 LM 9 years ago

      I hope to put insulation in my attic before winter. I would also like to replace some of my windows on the southwest side of my house. I would love to get blown in insulation (all my insulation has fallen to the bottom of my 100 year old 2 story house) but I don't think I will have enough money for that too. I really enjoyed this lens. Very informative! I am lensrolling it to my lens about saving energy. https://hubpages.com/politics/save_gas_and_energy

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      RuthCoffee 9 years ago

      Nice lens, great suggestions all of us can take and implement in all areas of our homes. Thanks for the info!