Only in the last few years has the notion of “going green” and leading an energy-efficient lifestyle been en vogue. However, the need for the average family to save money on their utility bills has been important for about as long as there have been utility bills at all. The nice thing about living in today’s modern world is that it’s possible for the average household to save cash on their energy bills while reducing their carbon footprint.
There’s no need to upgrade to fancy appliances that cost an arm and a leg either. In fact, some of the best ways to cut utility bills involve time-tested methods that anyone can do on a daily basis. So with that in mind, here are some habits people can adopt without cost that will save on household energy costs.
According to statistics, home heating and cooling can account for over 50% of a household’s energy cost. The best way to prevent HVAC costs from skyrocketing is to take control of the thermostat. That means setting the system to 68 degrees during winter daytime and 55 degrees at night. As for the summer, it’s best to keep the thermostat at 78 degrees. The water heater should be set between 120 and 130 degrees.
Utilizing natural light is also an effective way to curb energy costs as well. During winter, it’s ideal to keep shades and blinds open in order to maximize sunlight exposure in the home. Conversely, homeowners should close blinds and shades in the summer in order to prevent excess sunlight from seeping in.
Use Kitchen Appliances Efficiently
The refrigerator is also a big energy hog, and it’s possible to save loads of cash on utility bills by proper fridge management alone. The refrigerator should always be set between 38 and 42 degrees while the freezer should remain between 0 and 5 degrees. It’s also vital to ensure the fridge doors seal properly when closed. If it’s easy to slide a dollar bill out from between the door and fridge, likely the rubber door gasket is damaged and needs to be replaced.
The same can be said for an oven door, as this needs to have a proper seal as well. Also, people should avoid opening and closing the oven door multiple times when cooking, as this releases heat. The same goes for the range. It’s important to use pots and pans that match the diameter of the burner; a smaller pan will result in heat waste.
It’s also important to wash dishes in an efficient manner. Most modern dishwashers have water-saving features, but users should still only wash full loads and avoid hand washing whenever possible.
Unplug appliances not in use
This seems like a no-brainer, but it is staggering how many people forget to heed this advice. And it results in rising energy costs. Here are some basic tips to follow regarding unplugging.
- Unplug appliances not constantly in use, such as appliances in basements or garages
- Unplug phone and computer chargers when not actively charging.
- Use power bars in order to consolidate electronics, and kill the power to these appliances via the bar during nighttime.
By following the above tips, average people can save dozens or even hundreds of dollars on their utility bills every month. The most important thing to keep in mind is that appliances and electronics not actively in use can still draw as much power as one or more 100-watt light bulbs.
About the Author: John Sun is a specialist reporter for the Australian energy industry,e.g. for Solar Panels Perth and writes on the current water and energy challenges facing Australia.