If you are looking for ways to save more money, your monthly bills are one good place to start. For many homeowners, figuring out how to make a living space less of an energy hog can be overwhelming and time-consuming. Saving on energy doesn’t necessarily mean buying new fancy electrical appliances, as this may end up costing you more.
The Energy Department states that a middle income American family will, on average, spend $2200 annually on utility bills. Your monthly bill could be higher or lower, depending on your habits. You have a chance to lower up to 25% of your utility bills.
How? Let’s discuss the appropriate ways to lower your energy bills. Some may help you lower the small margins of your utility bill. However, if you use the tips, collectively, you will notice a significant change in your utility bills.
Start With an Energy Audit
An energy audit is the first step you need to take if you want to know how to lower your energy bill. An energy audit can be described as the process of inspection on your home to identify where you are losing energy and what measures you should take to optimize energy efficiency.
Your home needs an energy audit every two to three years to ensure the efficiency of energy usage and cost-saving.
Types of Energy Audits
1. A Professional Energy Audit
It is advisable to trust a professional in any given field. You can rely on experts’ experience to complete a task quickly and efficiently. However, you will need to part with a significant amount for the service rendered.
A professional energy auditor will assess how you use your energy and the key energy outliers. They will carry out processes you wouldn’t be able to do yourself, but the advantages of a professional energy audit over Do-it-Yourself (DIY) energy audit include:
- You will save time significantly and delegate it to other activities.
- You will get a professional opinion on potential energy and cost savers.
- You will get accurate reports and recommendations from an experienced and skilled energy auditor.
2. A DIY Energy Audit
Do you keep copies of all the receipts of your utility bills? Some of these bills are water, electrical, heat, AC, etc. You can rely on them to perform an energy audit by yourself. Underline the final costs of each of the bills for the preceding years.
How to Assess Your Utility Bills to Save Energy
- Identify the final monthly amount for every energy bill.
- Identify your low, mid, and high consumption periods for energy.
- Identify how much energy and what you have paid in the past month
- Identify how you have used the energy and match it to the high, mid, and low consumption period. You will be able to identify some actions that brought your bills high and the ones that maintained your bills at a minimum.
- Figure out if it was possible to save money for each month and if you have registered an increase or decrease in energy consumption.
The variables you can use to assess your bills will help you to come up with final figures which include:
- How much energy you have used in a year in KW/h
- How much you spent on energy bills in the year
- When and how you used energy when the bills peaked at high or mid.
At this point, you can either call the professional energy auditor or assess the house yourself for energy efficiency.
Advantages of a Home Energy Audit
a. Save Money
An energy audit can help you save between 5% and 30% on your energy bill if you make the upgrades needed.
b. You Will Be Able to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
The greenhouse effect ensures that our planet is warm enough for us to survive. You will reduce your carbon footprint if you reduce your carbon emissions, and this will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
You can reduce your carbon footprint and help preserve our environment through actions like using energy-efficient appliances and fixing air leakages.
c. You Will Save Energy
You will learn how to make your energy bill lower as you be able to identify and create a list of areas that can save you energy. Proper insulation and fixing leaky windows have the largest impact on saving energy and cost.
d. You Will Ensure Your Safety and Health
A professional energy auditor will also check for health and safety hazards using advanced tools. They will look for electrical hazards, proper wiring to ensure safety from electrical fires, fuel leaks from the furnace, and will inspect appliances powered by combustion fuels.
You Will Set an Example for Your Friends and Family
You will not just help your friends, family, and neighbors to save on energy bills but also set an example to be followed. A collective energy audit has a worthy impact on the greenhouse effect of the planet as it will be able to minimize their energy consumption.
15 Ways You Can Lower Your Energy Bill
Your energy bill has three main categories. They are Heating & Cooling, Water and Power & Lighting. The categories have further specific tips that tell you how to make your energy bill lower and how to keep it low.
Heating and Cooling
1. Use Energy-efficient Appliances
Energy-efficient appliances will have a significant impact on your energy bills. They can complete the expected task while consuming the least amount of energy possible. You can set them to operate at lower energy or temperature settings.
Examples of energy-efficient appliances are refrigerators, dishwashers, air conditioners, and washing machines.
Energy-efficient Appliances Offer the Following Benefits:
- You Will Be Able to Conserve Energy. The energy you save will serve other appliances at home.
- You Will Save Money. Energy-efficient appliances will help you save between 30-80% of your bills.
- Energy-efficient Appliances Will Sustain the Environment as they reduce the rate at which the country exploits the natural sources of energy, which are oil, water, coal and natural gas.
2. Fixes – Improve the Efficiency of Your Heating and Cooling Systems
You need to upgrade your air conditioning and furnace units to energy-efficient ones, as they are cheaper to operate, and as a result, they will save you money. You need to get a new system if you currently rely on one that is more than 17 years old.
3. Schedule Yearly HVAC Maintenance
You should schedule for maintenance of your HVAC system every six months to ensure that they are in great working condition and that they will save you money.
Negligence of HVAC service check-ups may cause a bigger problem, such as higher monthly bills and replacement of a broken part.
A well-maintained system will work efficiently, provide healthy air, and will require little repairs. You will also get to replace the items under warranty within the time limit.
4. Keep Your Vents Open and Clean
A clean air duct will contribute to lower energy bills. Air ducts contribute to 20 percent of energy consumption when you operate your heating and cooling systems. Air ducts contribute to higher energy consumption and bills through disconnected segments, leaks, excessive dirt or blockage, and poor insulation.
You Can Optimize The Air Ducts Performance Through:
- Fixing refrigerant leaks
- Check and recharge your refrigerant levels
- Inspect and adjust fittings
- Inspect your thermostat
- Inspect and clean coils.
Open and clean air vents enhance the energy efficiency, and this will help you to save on costs.
5. Keep Refrigerator Coils Clean
Refrigerator coils are responsible for cooling and condensing the refrigerators. One of the tips on how to keep the energy bill low is always to keep them clean. Your fridge contributes about 30% of your total energy consumption.
Dusty and clogged coils will reduce their efficiency which increases their energy consumption and your electricity bill.
How to Clean Your Refrigerator Coils
- Locate your refrigerator coils. Your refrigerator coils are located at the back of your fridge. Roll it from the wall to access the coils.
- Some fridge models are fitted with a panel that covers the coils. Some screws hold the panel in place. Go ahead and unscrew them to access your coils.
- Use the hose attachment on your vacuum to clean the coils as it will suck the dust accumulated on the coils.
- For the coils behind the panel, you need to vacuum the space behind the panel. Replace the panel when you are done.
6. Use a Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat is very recommendable if you want to save big on energy consumption. It is time you invest in one if you are yet to. They help regulate the house temperature and save energy when you are away.
For example, during the day when you are off to work, and the kids are in school or during a hot day, you can lower the temperatures to conserve energy.
A programmable thermostat can track your schedule and know when to save energy. Furthermore, you can control it remotely with a smartphone or laptop. You will need it to be logged on to your home’s Wi-Fi.
7. Lower the Temperature on Your Hot Water Heater
Water heaters have a default temperature setting of 140 degrees. You can serve the same purpose if you lower the heat to 120 degrees. Furthermore, you will save energy and the costs of water heating by 10%.
Are you out of town for a few days? Ensure you leave your water heating temperature set at the lowest possible temperature to lower your energy bill.
8. Replace Your Showerhead and Faucets
You have the potential to save 2700 gallons of water if you rely on faucets and shower heads with the WaterSense label. The WaterSense label efficient shower heads and faucets will regulate their flow rates.
Watersense Options Have the Following Advantages:
- Shower heads have a flow rate maximum of 2gpm.
- Kitchen faucets with a flow rate of 1.5gpm.
- Lavatory faucets with a flow rate of 0.5gpm for public restrooms and 1.5gpm for private restrooms.
- Foot-operated or shut off kitchen faucets will shut off the water to let you carry out with intermittent activities such as dish washing or scrubbing.
Note that faucets with automatic sensors will not help you to conserve water as they can be triggered to release water when unnecessary and will not shut off immediately after use.
9. Take Shorter Showers
It is common knowledge that long showers consume more water. However, you can save ten gallons of water per shower taken if you minimize your shower time by just two minutes. You can reduce your shower time to take as little time as possible to save on water consumption.
10. Use a Tankless Hot Water Heater
Units with tanks will use 30% to 50% more water as compared to tankless water heaters. Thus, depending on your water consumption rate as a family, you can save $100 every year or more.
Tankless water heaters are triggered to heat water when you switch on the faucet. A storage tank that maintains 40 to 50 gallons of water brings in extra costs.
11. Use Cold Water for Laundry
Your washer uses between 75% to 90% of its energy to warm water. You have a chance to keep your energy bill on the low if you wash with cold water. Furthermore, cold water is also suitable for cleaning the delicate fabric such as silk & lace and removing stains.
Your clothes are also less likely to fade, shrink or ruin in cold water.
Power and Lighting
12. Install Motion Sensor Lights
Have you ever left a room and wondered if you switched the lights off? Or have you been undecided whether to switch off the lights because you would be back in a few minutes? Motion sensor lights will switch on and off automatically as they have motion sensors that are triggered by movement.
You will be able to save energy and costs as they turn on only when you are in proximity.
For example, leaving a security light on the whole night can be costly. However, the motion sensors will turn them on whenever they detect movement. Motion sensor lights not only offer energy and cost-saving advantages, but they also offer convenience and protection.
For convenience, you will not need to check whether all the lights are off before you go to bed, you will not need to reach for a switch to turn on the lights and you will not have to fumble your keys or trip on your front door at night.
For protection, criminals will be spooked when the lights turn on when they are close. They will think someone is watching them.
13. Switch to LEDs
LEDs (Light-Emitting Diodes) are expected to save the country over $30 billion in electricity costs by 2027. These light bulbs last 25 times longer while consuming 75% less energy. They dedicate only 5% of their energy to heat and 95% into light.
They present the chance to save your electricity bill by almost 30%, give or take.
LEDs direct their light in a specific direction and eliminate the need for diffusers and reflectors to provide adequate lighting. LED products are available for industrial and commercial lighting, residential lighting, and holiday lighting.
14. Add Solar Panels to Your Home
Solar panels are a source of free energy. They use the sun’s solar energy and convert it into heating and electricity energy. The only costs you save are the installation costs.
Advantages of Solar Energy
- Reduced Electricity Bill Cost
You will reduce how much you rely on energy from the grid. Solar batteries can also power your home at night. You will lower your energy bill from costs associated with electricity from the grid.
- Renewable Energy
Fossil fuels are nonrenewable sources of energy. However, solar energy is always available and free as long as the sun maintains its cycle.
- Close to Zero Maintenance Costs
Solar energy requires no maintenance as compared to other forms of energy, which are often replaced in invasive repairs.
- No Carbon Emissions
You can be proud of maintaining the environment if you own a solar energy system. The conversion process does not emit any greenhouse gases that accelerate global warming.
15. Use Energy Tracking Apps
You can now track your home’s or business’ energy consumption using an app. Look up some of the best energy tracking app and pick one to get started right away. They will provide you with the information you need to point out areas you could save energy and learn how to keep your energy bill low.
Turns out that the biggest yet simple ways to save money on your utility bills don’t need you to invest in buying any new machines.
You can lower your utility bills simply by sealing up any leaks in your house. This is because unmonitored air leaks let the cold air in making the heater work extra to compensate by heating up your rooms.
Washing your laundry using cold water is also one simple way to save on energy consumption. Line drying your laundry is recommended as it saves you money on electricity bills. Ensure you work the tips above as a collective to be able to save on your energy bills.
Saving your energy bills also helps you to save the environment in the process as you will be reducing your carbon footprint.