4 Ways to Reduce Your Energy Costs
Regardless of how you pay your energy bill, it is always best to consider ways to reduce your energy consumption. Not only will you cut your energy costs, you'll shrink your carbon footprint as well. But finding the right balance isn't easy, so we've outlined four ways to get you going immediately.
Between 5% to 10% of your bill likely comes from your lighting fixtures, so replacing incandescent lightbulbs around the house is one of the easiest and most efficient ways to reduce your energy costs. When looking for the right alternatives, make the switch to compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), which are miniature versions of full-size fluorescents but look like the house lighting we're accustomed to, or light-emitting diode bulbs (LEDs), which last up to ten times longer than CFLs and forty times longer than incandescent lightbulbs.
If you're buying appliances for your home, take a closer look at the energy-efficiency rating when you're looking for ways to reduce your energy costs. The appliance's Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) clearly outlines the device's energy efficiency and helps you make a more cost-effective and environmentally friendly choice, especially for appliances that use electricity 24/7, like your refrigerator.
Also, beware of "phantom loads', which occur when appliances are using electricity whilst on "standby mode". Appliances can be controlled automatically with smart power strips or manually with regular power strips that you can switch off at night to save energy and costs.
Adjust your...HVAC servicing schedule
Whilst an afterthought for many when it comes to ways to reduce your energy costs, routinely checking your air filters, and thus cleaning or replacing them completely, can bring your AC's energy consumption down by a lot, sometimes by close to fifteen percent. Maintenance should also remove and clean the vent covers and take an industrial vacuum cleaner to the ducts, so as to dislodge any stubborn dust, dirt and/or contaminants. Of course, this has the added benefit of keeping the air in your home clean!
Speaking of ACs, although we all love our AC units (especially in the summer), consider setting the temp to 24 degrees, which is optimal for comfort and reduces the overall electric load. Also, look at replacing energy-intensive household appliances, such as dishwashers and clothes dryers, with the manual alternatives. Finally, start building small conservation habits into your daily life, like closing the tap when brushing your teeth, turning lights off when you leave the room, and unplugging unused electronics.
When looking for ways to reduce your energy costs, it's not only about what you use, but how you use it and for what period of time. Look at making long-lasting changes to your habits and compliment these changes with energy-efficient lighting and appliances.