Energy bills represent one of the largest costs of living, whether you’re a homeowner or live in an apartment or condo. No matter what weather extremes you may face, summer heat or winter cold, there are several ways to keep your energy bills manageable. Here are some suggestions from your local electrical experts, Tap and Sons.
- Change filters often. Air-conditioning units and heating systems both rely on filters to keep dust and airborne contaminants from entering the interior part of the system and causing clogs and debris buildup. Changing your filters often will allow your systems to work debris-free, which means parts don’t wear out as quickly and your system requires less repairs or part replacements. An unchanged air filter means your heating or cooling system must work harder or run longer to keep the temperature in your home comfortable, and that uses more energy.
- Adjust your thermostat. In the colder months, turn down the heat in your home at night and when you’re away. Just a few degrees can result in major savings at the end of the billing cycle. In summer, turn the thermostat up just a few degrees to see similar savings. During the week, the programmable feature allows you to set the thermostat to keep the heat or air conditioning down during the day and increase the temperature 30 minutes before you arrive home. A digital thermostat is a great way to ensure these temperature adjustments happen without your assistance.
- Rotate ceiling fans in different directions. Ceiling fans are very helpful both during summer to keep air cooler, and in winter to keep it warmer. Your ceiling fans should spin counter-clockwise in the summer, pulling warm air up to the ceiling and away from the living space. During the colder months, the spin should be reversed so that your blades turn clockwise, pushing the warm air down from the ceiling to help heat up the room.
- Use energy efficient appliances. The efficiency of your electronic appliances can go a long way toward saving on energy costs. An older, less efficient appliance will draw more energy and end up costing more every month than a new, energy efficient model. Spending more up front to buy an energy efficient appliance that performs well for years and saves you money every month can be a wise investment.
- Fill the cracks. Take a look around your home for any leaky windows and doors and use caulk to fill any holes or cracks that allow warm air to leak out. Don’t forget to check areas where pipes come into your home, and seal around them to prevent air leakage. If you have exposed pipes in a basement or crawlspace, they should be wrapped in insulation to help them maintain the right temperature and ensure your pipes don’t freeze in winter.
- Use alternate heating sources. If you have a wood burning fireplace or wood stove, it can help keep your heating costs down in winter. Just remember to have your fireplace chimney checked by a professional once every season before beginning to use your fireplace. Close the flue when the fireplace is not in use to prevent warm room air from escaping and keep drafts of cold air at bay.
- Close doors. Close off any rooms you’re not using. This includes shutting off any vents in these unused rooms, to help direct air flow to the parts of the house or apartment you will be occupying. Before closing these rooms off, check to make sure you’re not storing anything in them that is temperature sensitive, such as expensive electronics that could be damaged by extreme temperatures.
- Add insulation. Poor insulation can lead to excessive energy expenditures, so be sure to check your attic for proper insulation. In an unfinished attic, you should not be able to see any exposed floor joists. A house that is properly insulated will reduce the money you spend on cooling and heating every month.
- Turn off electronics. Plug small appliances that don’t need to stay on – such as toasters, toaster ovens, coffee makers, bread makers, mixers, stereos, DVD players, etc. into a power strip. Turn the power strip off at night when going to bed, as anything that is plugged into an electrical source will draw electricity, even when turned off.
- Change your lighting. An easy way to cut your energy costs is to replace any existing incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient ones. These bulbs may cost a bit more up front, but the extended life and reduced energy draw pays off over the long haul. Remembering to turn all the lights off when you leave a room will save even more.
By following these 10 steps to cut down on your energy usage, you’ll not only save money, but your energy footprint will be reduced, thereby helping the environment as well as your wallet. For all your electrical needs, or to upgrade your home to more energy efficient fixtures and appliances, call the friendly local electrical experts at Tap and Sons.