Energy bills can add up quickly, so unless you live ‘off-the-grid’, you’ll likely want to look for ways to make your home more energy efficient and reduce your overall utility expenditures every month. Heating and cooling most likely accounts for more than half of your utilities every month, but there are several factors at play. Where you live and the size of your home are the two driving factors in your heating and cooling costs, but you can certainly make smarter decisions, in general, to reduce your overall expenses and make your home more energy efficient. Here are a few tips.
Be more mindful of the electricity you use
Electricity accounts for the largest percentage of the average American’s utility expenses every month, and your air conditioner is very likely the largest draw on your electricity bill. Depending on where you live, your AC unit may only run during a few months out of the year, but even during that short duration, your air conditioner could be running quite frequently which can use up a significant amount of electricity. In warmer climates, this is a greater burden on what you draw from the grid. If you haven’t invested in a smart thermostat, reducing the time your AC unit runs when you are not at home can have an immediate impact.
In addition to your AC unit, your washer and dryer are the second largest culprit of electricity use. Maximizing loads of laundry every week can also help to reduce your energy consumption.
Lastly, energy efficient light bulbs and simply unplugging appliances when not in use can also have marginal impacts on your electricity bill. Considering the cost of electricity in the U.S., it’s no surprise that more households are shifting to solar power. And, if you have the capital to invest in a product like Telsa’s Powerwall, you might even be sending power back to the grid.
Use natural gas more efficiently
The second largest utility expense on average is natural gas. Geography also plays a part in your natural gas bill every month - in this case, your availability to it. States with limited access points to natural gas lines will likely pay more per unit than States along pipelines, generally speaking. Luckily, despite where you live, there are ways to cut down on your natural gas usage.
Consider replacing the windows in your home with more energy efficient versions. While the up-front cost appears daunting, consider the cost savings down the road. Cooling down your home is a huge consumption of natural gas depending on the power source of your furnace.
Reducing the amount of time you spend in the shower is also a great start in reducing the amount of natural gas you use. As nearly 2 gallons per minute, a shower can run through hot water quickly and reducing shower time by just a couple of minutes per day can really add up to a lot of savings and eliminate waste. A gas fireplace can also burn through quite a bit of gas in a short period of time. So, depending on your source of warmth during the winter, you may want to limit the number of times you use your gas fireplace as cozy as they are.
Lastly, replacing your air filters every 3 months is a great way to reduce the burden on your furnace. Dirty air filters put a strain on your furnace, causing it to work harder and longer to heat your home. As with most machines or tools, a proper maintenance schedule pays off in the end.
Limit your water consumption
According to the Washington Post, Americans waste upwards of 1 trillion gallons of water per year. Water can become a significant expense annually if you’re not paying attention to the volume of water you use every day. While it may seem insignificant, just turning off the faucet as you brush your teeth can lead to a noticeable reduction in water usage.
A few other ways to reduce the amount of water you consume is to limit the number of days you water your grass during the summer months. Brown patches can be an eyesore, but you’ll be more satisfied at the end of the month. As mentioned already, reducing the time you spend in the shower can greatly cut down on your natural gas usage, but will obviously have just as much of an impact on your water bill. Ensuring that your dishwasher is full every time you run it is also a great way to cut down. Think every day about how you can cut down on times when water is flowing freely.
We’ve listed out a few ways to make your home more energy efficient and how to cut down on your annual utility expenditures. If you have any other suggestions, drop us a line, we’d love to hear from you.
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