Whether you have just moved into a new home or are looking for ways to make the one you own a little more energy efficient you know that you probably should be trying a little harder to cut down on your electricity use. However not everyone has the time to commission an energy audit or wants to spend money on a ton of new appliances (this may be especially true if you are planning to move soon.) Never fear though. There are plenty of ways you can go greener and save money – up to $900 annually – without having to make too much of an effort. Here are some of the best of them:
Reduce Hot Water Usage
No, you don’t have to try to get used to braving cold showers, but you could turn the water heater down by a degree or two. Keeping it at a consistent 49C (120F) will still give you plenty of hot water for a nice shower but it will actually save you more than you think.
You can reduce hot water usage in other ways too. Only run your dishwasher when it’s full and make use of the newer cold water detergents you can find in most supermarkets these days to reduce the number of hot loads of laundry you do too.
Keep Your Fridge and Freezer Stocked
Everyone knows that they must keep the fridge closed as much as possible in order for it to be most energy efficient. But did you know that keeping your fridge and freezer full can also save money? The stored food will act as insulation and lessen the amount of time that the unit has to actively run to stay cool. And hey, who doesn’t love a full fridge anyway?
And speaking of the fridge another way to save energy – and help it last longer is to keep its condenser coils clean. That does not have to be a weekly task, but checking them once every three months and giving them a good clean should be on your must do home maintenance list.
Turn Stuff Off
You are probably pretty good at turning the lights off when a room isn’t in use, most of us are, but do you bother to unplug the TV or properly shut off your computer at night when you go to bed? Probably not, but you should. Not only do such things drain more power than you think but turning them off properly when not in use can extend their useful life considerably as well.
Seal Things Up
Seal doors and windows with caulk, weatherstripping and plastic film. An investment of $50 in weatherizing supplies can reduce heating costs by two to three times that much. To make things even more efficient don’t forget to do the basement and attic windows as well.
Get a Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat is almost a much purchase at this point for any homeowner and certainly an essential for those serious about energy efficiency. There are lots of different kinds out there right now, and various different price points. Personally we love the Nest E as it is super simple to use (it can be completely controlled via a smartphone app) and exceptionally attractive which is certainly another plus. You can also make it a part of a Nest home system that also includes home security and whole house audio, which is rather neat too.
Check Your Bills
Utility companies make mistakes just like the rest of us, and when they make mistakes reading your meter, it can be costly. While you’ll probably notice a big error on your utility bill, you may not catch more subtle errors.
Make sure you’re only getting charged for the electricity you actually used by comparing the meter reading on your utility bill to what you actually see on your meter. If the amount on your meter is lower than the one on your bill, that’s a dead giveaway that you’re being overcharged.