Your house has one key job: to protect you from the elements. However, that function doesn’t come cheap. It takes a lot of energy to keep your home’s temperature under control. And with winter fast approaching, many people are preparing for the annual increase in their electric and/or gas bills. Fortunately, there are things you can do to lower your bills so you aren’t going broke every month for the luxury of living indoors!
1. Adjust your thermostat
Your thermostat helps you control the temperature inside your house. While you don’t want to be uncomfortably cold or hot, you shouldn’t run your HVAC system too much. Adjusting your thermostat to appropriate temperatures while you’re asleep or out of the house can save you roughly $180 a year on your energy bills. So, when you leave or go to sleep, turn down the heat, and do the opposite in the summer with your air conditioning to help save money.
2. Insulate your home
Your home is insulated to help regulate the temperature inside. Without the proper insulation, your heating and cooling would escape outside and it would basically be for naught. Not just any insulation will help you keep your home comfortable, though. Spray foam insulation is one of the highest-quality insulation types there is. In fact, spray foam insulations can cut your monthly heating and cooling costs as much as 60%. Not only will your home feel more comfortable when you beef up your insulation, but you’ll be saving money too.
3. Get new windows
Your windows don’t just let the light in, they can let the outside air in too if they aren’t up to date. Old and drafty windows can let air escape and increase your energy bills by 10% up to 25%. Replacing your windows with Energy Star efficient windows can help you save a lot of money every month. You can also deduct the cost of your new windows on your federal income tax return, saving you even more money.
4. Use LED lights
Another tip to help you lower your energy bills every month: switch over to LED bulbs. LED lights use at least 75% less energy and last 25 times longer than older, incandescent lighting. Plus, LED lights don’t emit as much heat and are more resistant to breakage, making them a safer choice. By 2019, LED lights are estimated to achieve a 53% penetration of the global lighting market, and it’s easy to understand why.
5. Only heat the rooms you use
This may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many people don’t follow this tip. If you have a guest room, storage room, or any other type of space that you don’t really use, close and seal off the vents in those rooms to be more energy efficient. This will also direct the flow of air to the rooms you use most. If you use a space heater in the rooms you need the heat and set the thermostat to 62 degrees Fahrenheit, then you can save nearly $200 each year.
6. Replace your HVAC system
This project may sound expensive, but you would be surprised at how much money you might be wasting on an old HVAC system. Older systems are not as energy efficient, and they might be causing you to dish out more in repairs too. If your home’s heating and cooling system is more than 10 years old, then you should think about upgrading it. Newer units typically do the same amount of work while using much less energy compared to older units.
7. Switch to natural gas
If you have the option, you should consider switching to natural gas appliances instead of using electric-powered appliances. Natura gas furnaces that are qualified for electric rebates have an annual fuel utilization efficiency of 92% or higher, making them up to 15% more efficient than standard models. One in four furnaces in the U.S. is more than 20 years old, and replacing your furnace can save you a lot of money in the long run.
8. Turn down your hot water heater
Finally, you can turn down the heat setting on your hot water heater if you want to save money on your monthly energy bills. According to the Department of Energy, water heaters account for 14% to 25% of our monthly energy bills. Water heaters are often factory-set at 140 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hotter than anyone needs. The Department of Energy says most can live comfortably with 120-degree water. Turning down your settings can save you anywhere from 3% to 5% on every 10 degrees you set it back.
Energy bills are no joke, and you might be feeling like you’re dumping all your money into them every month. Well, try these tricks to help you lower your bills so you can have a little extra dough left to treat yourself at month’s end.
Struggling to pay for home energy improvements?
Note: Some families may qualify for a deferred loan for energy efficiency improvements in their home, including insulation. A deferred loan means the longer you stay in the house, the less you will have to pay back, and if you stay long enough you may not have to pay back any of it. Check with your county for any programs they offer and if you qualify (eligibility is based on income).
Learn more tips for summer with this blog post.