10 Ways To Cut On Energy Costs At Home

When it comes to reducing energy costs, little gestures can go a long way. By apply these 10 simple tricks at home, you will shrink your energy bill, all the while doing something good for the planet!

1. Fight the Phantom Load!

You probably think that your TV, DVD, computer, microwave and other appliances use electricity only when you are using them. Well, it is wrong: The phantom load, or standby charge, is the amount of electricity used by appliances when they are plugged, regardless of if they are used or not. You’d be surprised by how much energy phantom loads represent. Try and unplug all your appliances when you do not use them or when you leave the house. If the plugs are hard to reach, try and plug as many as possible on a power bar that you’ll place in an easily reachable spot and switch it off when needed.

2. Install Programmable Electronic Thermostats

An electronic thermostat is good: It’ll allow you to control the temperature of a room very precisely. A programmable electronic thermostat is even better: It’ll allow you to lower the temperature when you are not home, or during the night, which can make you save a lot of money.

While we’re on the subject of heating, know that lowering your thermostats by no more than one degree will help reducing your energy bill considerably.

3. Use Your Dryer As Less As Possible

Along with your refrigerator, your dryer is the most energy-consuming appliance in your home. If you can, try and line dry your clothes as often as possible. If you don’t have a yard or any outdoor space to line your clothes in, no worries: Buy a drying rack and hang your clothes inside – you can also do that on rainy days and during winter. Not only will you save up a lot on energy costs, but you’ll also keep you clothes in good condition for a longer time.

4. Fight Heat Naturally During Heat Waves

Forget bout cranking up the AC! Fight heat by shutting all windows, curtains and blinds during the day to avoid hot air to come in your home. When the night falls and the temperature cools off, open your windows wide and let the fresh air in. You’ll be surprised by how cool your house will remain just by doing this.

5. Insulate Your Windows During Winter

Air drafts can be the cause of considerable heat losses during winter, increasing your energy bills faster than you can account for. Make sure you seal your windows perfectly before the cold season comes. There are plenty of products you can use: Self-adhesive foam strips, clear plastic window films, etc. Ask for advices at your local hardware store.

6. Wash Your Laundry in Cold Water

About 80% of the energy used by your washing machine is used to warm up the water. If you buy a cold water detergent, there’s no reason why your laundry should not be perfectly clean when washed in cold water.

7. Wrap Your Water Heater In An Insulating Jacket

You can buy an insulating jacket for a few bucks in many hardware stores. It’ll help your water heater maintain the temperature of the water and it’ll reduce your energy bill considerably.

8. Turn Off The Lights When You Exit a Room

Lighting counts for about 10 to 15% of our energy bills. Taking the habit of turning the lights off the minute you exit a room is a great way to save some money. In places such as the bathroom, you could even install a timer. Be careful though: If you intend to come back in the room in a few minutes, leave the lights on. Switching lights on and off repeatedly can increase their energy consumption and reduce the useful life of your light bulbs.

9. Switch To CFLs

If you haven’t yet trade your old incandescent light bulbs for compact fluorescent ones, do it now! A CFL can last up to 30 000 hours! And, unlike the common belief may suggest, they don’t create a cold, white, crispy lighting: They come in various tones and shades.

10. Install Ceiling Fans

Not only will a ceiling fan freshen your house during hot summer days, it will also help evenly distribute heat during winter. As a matter of fact, hot air has a tendency to rise up and get stuck close to the ceiling: With a ceiling fan turning very slowly, the hot air will spread all over the room, heating it more effectively.

Caroline Simpson is a writer; a translator and a travel addict who’s always looking for ways to make life easier. She works as a freelance blogger for Standard Life, a leading long-term savings and investment company providing useful financial tools such as their annuity calculator.

3 Comments so far

  1. Money Beagle on May 14th, 2013

    Very good tips. I’d also add to adjust your air flow (in forced air systems) between heating and cooling. In the summer when we run the A/C we have very little air coming out on the first floor and most directed to the second floor, which is actually best for our home to keep temps somewhat even. In the winter, a fairly even flow works best to keep it heated.
    Money Beagle´s last blog post ..7 Things I Learned During Our New Roof Project

  2. krantcents on May 14th, 2013

    Even in southern California, those tips work well. Sure it doesn’t get very cold, but it gets very hot. I already have seen 100+ degree weather in the last couple of weeks. The programmable thermostat is great to adjust temperatures when no one is home.
    krantcents´s last blog post ..Gimme Shelter, Tax Shelter!

  3. Thomas @ Your Daily Finance on May 22nd, 2013

    The using cold water is new to me. I was taught especially with whites to use hot water. But times have change and all the detergents they make these days it shouldn’t really matter. Ceiling fans work a little but if its hot they still tend to throw out that hot air. Better windows for sure will help.

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