8 simple ways to save money on your utility bills
We are all undoubtably spending a lot more time at home than usual during the mandated stay-at-home order. If you normally spend a lot of time outside of your house then the last month has probably been a bit different actually living at home.
With so much extra time at home, we are spending much more time in the kitchen, at our home computers, using more air conditioning (or heat depending on where you are), using more water, etc. All of these things use energy and are all contributing to your home’s energy consumption. With such an increase in energy consumption, you can expect your utility bills to jump over the next few months. My energy consumption is something I have always been concerned with and I am always trying to find new ways to reduce my carbon footprint. Now more than ever, I find it is important to cut back for both environmental and financial reasons. I believe that every little thing helps – so here are eight simple ways you can cut down on your household energy consumption:
Wash your clothes in cold water. The energy used to heat the water used in hot water loads is saved when you make this simple adjustment.
If possible, air dry your clothes outside. Not only does air drying your clothes cut back on energy consumption, there are also many other benefits like whitening and disinfecting and removing strong odors from your clothes. Check out other benefits in this article. If outdoor space is not a luxury you have, use a drying rack to dry clothes inside.
When a room is not in use, keep the shades, blinds, and curtains closed. This blocks the sun from shining in and heating up the room. Keeping the room cool this way will keep your air conditioning or fan usage low. Of course, this depends on where you live...in some places you may want to keep the blinds open so that the sun does heat up your room, however for most of us here in Hawaii that is not the case.
This might seem like a contradiction to the previous tip but utilize natural light in your home as much as possible. If you are in the home office or living room during the day – consider opening blinds in that particular room to avoid turning on lights. When you are finished in a room, close the blinds so that the room can cool down!
Unplug all electronics when they are not in use. Even when small appliances and other electronics are not in use, they are most likely still consuming energy. A good rule of thumb – if an electronic saves the time or settings, then it is most likely still consuming energy when turned off or in standby mode. This is known as vampire power or phantom load. To be sure, make it a habit to unplug anything when not in use.
Did you know that an empty refrigerator uses more energy than a full refrigerator? The food inside a refrigerator acts as insulation, and this assists the refrigerator in keeping items cool. Try and keep your refrigerator fully stocked so that the refrigerator doesn’t have to work so hard to keep the temperature low. Added bonus: a full fridge will cut back on your trips to the store!
Be mindful about opening the refrigerator. Limit the amount of time the refrigerator or freezer is open to maintain the cool temperature. Avoid opening the refrigerator and staring inside while you ponder what you want, decide what you are going to snack on before opening the fridge or freezer.
Program your thermostat to increase energy efficiency. Keeping the temperature set a few degrees higher during the evening and early morning when the weather is breezy and cooler will help reduce energy consumption. If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, you can set an alarm on your phone that will remind you to adjust the temperature in the evening and then again in the morning! You can add a thermostat like this one from Nest to your home wish list.