Reducing energy consumption and consequently costs in our homes is a goal in most households. Power bills are increasing as our power dependent lifestyles increases the need for more power in our homes. Home appliances are being optimized to work better and reduce unnecessary power consumption. But there is space for more improvements, becoming energy smart and working to control energy usage and reducing energy waste can help reduce those hefty power bills.
Here are 9 steps you can take to reduce that power bill;
- Start with your Power Bill
You don’t have to worry about how you’re going to monitor the power you use throughout the year. Your power bill has a lot of information on it that you need to assess your home’s power usage. The power bill will tell you how many therms of Natural Gas and how many kilowatt hours of electricity you used in the last month and can help you compare with previous months or years. Having an annual record of power consumption is an important step towards reducing your power bill.
- 2. Conduct an Energy Audit
An energy audit of your home will help guide energy saving measures. The audit will identify areas of energy waste and guide you in what measures you should take to save more energy in your home.
You can get free energy audits online. You can also look whether power company offers one on their website.
- 3. Change your Lifestyle
Lifestyle change is a necessary and unavoidable step in reducing energy consumption and avoiding wasting energy. It will take a conscious effort on your part in order to do so. Things change fast and you may overlook some of the changes you made in your home over time that increased your power consumption. Also power prices have changed over time.
Little things also matter in this aspect. Switching off the lights when you don’t need them or when no one is in the room, setting back the thermostat at night or when you are away at work are small contributions that can make a difference.
- 4. Weatherization
This is one of the most cost-effective methods of reducing energy usage and lowering power bills. Whether you live in a cold climate and need to keep the cold weather out or you live in a hot climate and need to keep the hot weather outside, weatherization measures offer the help you need.
You home has unnecessary air passage ways. Sealing this passages offer the air barrier you need to separate the outdoor climate from the indoor climate.
Adding insulation to your home’s building shell – the ceiling, floor and walls, strengthens your homes thermal barrier and offers defense against heat loss or heat gain because of radiation, conduction and convection.
- 5. Heating & Cooling Efficiency
Upgrading your heating and cooling system to a more energy efficient source can save energy for years to come. There is no reason for any home to have a $400 electric bill anymore. Air source and ground source heat pumps have greatly increased energy efficiency in the last decade. Ductless heat pumps provide heating and cooling at a fraction of the cost of baseboard heaters, resistant, ceiling heat, or electric wall heaters.
The 70% efficient gas furnace of the 1970’s has been updated to the 95% efficient gas furnaces available today. Heating and Cooling contractors are available to visit you home and discuss the options available at best fit you home and your needs.
Also before upgrading central heating or cooling equipment, have the supply and return ducts sealed against air leakage. No use wasting all that efficiently conditioned air through ducts that leak.
- 6. Water Heater
The only time we pay attention to our water heater is right after a cold shower. After all, the water heater is often located in a mostly hidden place, it doesn’t make any noise, and it doesn’t have any bells and whistles, does it? The water heater is often the #2 energy user in our homes and therefore, when we’re attempting to reduce energy use, needs to have some attention directed its way.
If you water heater is leaking water from the tank, replace it right away and pay attention to the energy efficiency rating of the new water heater. If your water heater is not leaking, do these two energy saving measures:
Adjust water temperature
The most energy efficient water temperature is 120 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have a gas water heater, adjusting the temperature is not completed with the dial on the water heater gas valve. If you have an electric water heater you may need to remove the cover to adjust the temperature. It is advisable to turn the electricity off at the circuit panel before making the adjustment.
Water Heater Blanket:
Insulating you water heater blanket is a plus but if you have already considering an additional blanket around the outside will save energy.
- 7. Upgrade your appliances
As mentioned at the beginning of this article modern appliances have been optimized for better efficiency in energy use. Modern inverters in refrigerators have better inverters, washing machines uses less energy and water. Shop for appliances with the Energy Star Label and check compare wattage’s.
- 8. Lighting Technology
In your audit how many light bulbs did you take account of in your home. How many light bulbs do you have in your home? Consider LED bulbs that can reduce energy consumption.
- 9. Solar or Renewable Energy
Renewable energy sources like sources have upfront costs but will give you energy for free for a long time. It is also a good back up for emergencies when you can no longer access power from the grid. There are also programs like FIT which allow you to sell excess energy to the grid and some tax incentives are available in some states and countries for those that use renewable sources of energy.