Energy-Saving Tips for a Lower Bill
One “invisible” cost to enjoying the modern conveniences of electricity is using too much of it. If your energy bills have been higher than usual lately, then it might be time to refine some of your usage habits. Below are some low-cost practices you can adopt today.
Let’s Talk Electronics
An “always on” lifestyle could be zapping up your budget. One of the simplest (but easily overlooked) ways to start saving energy now is to turn off your devices whenever you aren’t using them. This includes your television, computers, entertainment centers, work-from-home setup, or almost anything requiring an electrical outlet to work.
By “turn off,” we mean “completely.” That means bypassing any device’s “standby” or “low-power” mode and unplugging it from the source. This can be easier if you plug multiple devices into a power strip. A power strip allows you to turn off multiple items completely at the flip of a switch.
Bear in mind that power strips can look almost identical to some types of surge protectors, which need to be on to function properly. It is important to know the differences between these types of devices so you know which is right for your needs.
If you need to protect sensitive electronics (like your home office setup) but still want to save power, try plugging all of these devices into a single surge protector so they have protection during use. When you’re done for the day, unplug the surge protector from the outlet.
Look Out for Your Lighting
Another fixture you might be over-using is your home’s lighting. According to the US Department of Energy, lighting makes up about 10 percent of a home’s energy costs. So, making sure you only flip the light switch when necessary can shave pennies off your bill daily.
Consider replacing your lightbulbs with LED lighting. Thanks to advances in LED technology, some models of replacement bulbs can imitate the “warm glow” that made incandescent bulbs famous. If a home-wide replacement isn’t feasible right now, make the changes gradually. Replace bulbs in rooms you use frequently and scale from there.
Keeping Your Cool
In Florida, it can sometimes feel like there are only two seasons: hot and slightly less hot. A significant portion of your energy bill comes from keeping your indoor temperatures comfortable. According to the University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, heating and cooling costs can account for about 40% of your energy bill.
Change your usage habits to control cooling costs. Try setting the thermostat to 78°F, and setting it slightly higher whenever you leave your home. Also, use a ceiling fan while people are in the room. Running a fan can reduce the felt temperatures in the area, lessening the need to tinker with the thermostat.
Water Usage and Energy Costs
Many of your home appliances that use water also use electricity or gas to regulate the temperature. In a sense, your water usage also affects your energy bill. Here are a few tips.
First, set your water heater to a lower temperature. Doing so means your heater won’t have to work as hard, saving energy in the process.
Around the kitchen, only turn on the dishwasher with a full load and air dry if possible. Instead of rinsing the dishes before loading the racks, simply wipe them down. Many contemporary dishwasher models will do the rinsing for you.
On laundry days, try to run full loads whenever possible. Set the water temperatures to either “cold” or “warm.” Air drying your clothing is the least energy-intensive option, but isn’t always feasible. When you need to use the dryer, make sure the lint trap is clean. Also, instead of a hard timer, try using your unit’s moisture sensor if it has one.
One last thing you can experiment with when using your appliances is noting your area’s “peak” and “off-peak” hours. These are periods when energy demand tends to be at its highest and lowest, respectively. Adjust your usage to align with off-peak hours so you can take advantage of lower rate charges. Check with your utility company if they use such a system when calculating your bills and act accordingly.
The tips above are some of the practices you can adopt now to start saving on your energy bills. Try experimenting with these recommendations and adopt a style that best suits you.