This time of year when we are spending money on gifts, holiday parties, and indulging in goodies for ourselves, we often forget to continue to find ways to save money. One way you can quickly start saving money is by reducing your utility bills – electric, gas, water and sewer. Creating a few habits that helps you reduce your energy usage can help you save a lot of money in the years to come.
Here are my top energy savings habits:
- Readjust your thermostat settings. For every degree you lower your thermostat in winter for at least eight hours per day, you may save as much as 2% on your heating costs. It costs you nothing to implement.
- Turn off lights and computers when not in use. Unplug chargers, too. They drain energy even when nothing is plugged into them.
- Switch to LED and CFL light bulbs. While these bulbs cost more than what you might have been accustomed to paying for incandescent bulbs, they last much longer and reduce energy use up to 75%.
- Install ceiling fans. Fans make you feel cooler, so you might be able to do without air conditioning in some climates. In others, you may reduce energy consumption by keeping your thermostat set a few degrees higher when the AC is running. Be sure to turn fans off when no one is in the room.
- Save energy when cooking. Your microwave uses 80% less energy and a convection oven uses 20% less than your regular oven. Pressure cookers reduce cooking times.
- Vacuum your refrigerator coils. Twice a year is recommended, more if you have shedding pets. Dust-covered coils can reduce your refrigerator’s efficiency by 30 to 50%.
- Do laundry with energy efficiency in mind. Run full loads and use cold water, which works as well as hot water with today’s detergents. Hang clothes out to air dry. If you use a dryer, clean the lint trap each time.
- Make effective use of natural light during the day. If you can’t add energy-efficient windows or full skylights, light tubes installed in the roof transmit, amplify and diffuse sunlight into your rooms during the day. Awnings or solar-filtering shades let in light while controlling heat gain. Window films also reduce heat loss in winter.
- Replace worn weather stripping. Sealing air leaks around windows and doors blocks heat from leaving and entering your home.
- Buy ENERGY STAR-compliant appliances. When replacing old appliances, choose the most energy-efficient models. If you want to save money, look instead for coupons and sales, and pass up unnecessary extended service warranties.
I love creating new ways of saving more of my hard earned money. It’s even better that using less energy not only saves you money, but it also helps reduce your carbon footprint. When you help the environment, you are also helping yourself. It’s important to create habits now that will help your future self spend less and save more.