I despise wasting money and especially wasting money on energy. And with reports that electric bills have soared $300 per household in the last 5 years, it’s becoming more and more important to only use the energy we need if we want to avoid wasting energy … and dollars.
“Making money is like digging with a needle, spending it is like pouring water on sand.” ~ Confucius
And so it is with our energy usage. It’s so easy to consume energy and to waste it! But with skyrocketing energy costs, if you’re like me, you are constantly looking for ways to reduce your family’s energy consumption and put that money in your pocket instead.
I have a confession to make – I’m not “green.” I don’t drive a Prius, don’t recycle that often, and don’t subscribe to any of the global warming alarmist rhetoric. What I do subscribe to is saving money and if there are cost savings to be had, I’m definitely on board.
My personal electric bill runs anywhere from just over $100/month in the spring and fall to over $200 in the summer and winter. We have some pretty hot summers where I live (well over 100 degrees in the summer with 90% + humidity) and with an open floor plan type of home and three kids coming and going, it isn’t easy to seal off parts of the house. Also, we’ve already had over 12 inches of snow in early December so we can get pretty cold as well.
Do You NEED to Save Money On Your Electricity Bill?
That may depend on where you live. You can sort the table below by either the State or Cents/KWH.
Electricity Costs Per KW Hour by State
|US Average (including DC)||11.54|
You can check out a visual of electricity rates at USA Today.
No Cost and Low Cost Ways to Save
The thing about making money or saving money is that both require changes in behavior. Some changes are easy to make and cost nothing, or almost nothing, to implement.
- Turn off the switch: The fastest, easiest, and least expensive way we can start saving money on our energy bills is to turn off lights when we’re not using them and shut down the computer or TV if we’ll be away from it for more than a few minutes. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t take more energy to turn a light or a computer on and off a couple times than it does to keep it running for hours. That idea is based on outdated technologies (like a lot of commonly held myths). These days, it’s cheaper to turn the power off and on as needed. You can save $25–$75 per year by activating power management features on your desktop computer alone. By putting your computer to “sleep” for 12 hours per day, you can save about $45 per year.
- Turn your temperature up or down: Adjusting your thermostat just a few degrees lower in the winter and higher in the summer will save you more money than you may think. Consider wearing an extra layer in the winter instead of turning up the heat, and supplementing your air conditioning with portable fans in the summer. But better yet …
- Install a programmable digital thermostat: Switching to a programmable digital thermostat takes just a few minutes and usually costs less than $75, depending on what kind of thermostat you buy. By setting your thermostat so that your home is cooler during the winter, when you’re away, and when you’re asleep, and warmer during the summer and when you’re home, you’ll save hundreds of dollars a year. As a bonus, you’ll always wake up and return to a comfortable house. Of course your cat may not like it …
- Insulate: Do you feel a cold draft coming from under the door or a window that won’t close properly? Such openings cost you money in lost heat. Stuff holes with cloth, or use duct tape or sticky tape to block the breeze. Windows and doors are the places through which a house loses most of its heat. An 1/8 inch gap around an exterior door has the same surface area as a hole nine inches in diameter. Would you tolerate a hole that large in the side of your home?
- Use storm doors and windows: Don’t keep your storm doors and windows in the basement every winter—use them year-round. They help insulate your house, making it cozier and cheaper to heat.
- Seal windows with plastic: You can find plastic for home sealing at most home improvement stores. Using plastic is even more effective than stopping up a drafty window during the cooler months. Easy to install, this extra layer of insulation (formed by the air that’s trapped between your window and the plastic) is a great alternative if you don’t have storm windows—and another protective layer between you and the elements, even if you do.
- Use window treatments: Close curtains and blinds at night in the winter (when it’s coldest) and during the day in the summer (to keep the sun out). Those extra layers will keep the heat in during cold months and out during warm ones. On winter days, open draperies to take advantage of the sun’s natural heat.
All this is EASY to read and talk about
It’s putting it into action that’s difficult. Are you ready and willing to save some serious cash by reducing your energy needs? Let’s get to it!