by Anna Butros
(Portland, Oregon, USA)
Does it seem that there are always more days in the month than there ismoney? For most people, when the time comes to pay their bills every month, stress levels increase as the hard earned money flies out the window.
If you are in search of some basic energy tips to help reduce your energy bill, one of the best things you can do is spend 15-30 minutes writing down a plan of action.
In this article we will discuss 9 areas where your actions can have the largest impact on your energy bills.
1. If you have a family, sit down and discuss your plans to reduce your energy bill. While there are only few things you can so that will have a big impact on your bills such as installing a solar water heater, there are many little things you can do that will really add up at the end of a 30 day period.
If only one person in a family of four is making an effort to reduce energy consumption, the effects will be minimal. However, if you get everyone on board, the cumulative effect can really make a difference. If you have young children, consider implementing a reward system for conserving energy.
2. Switch to CFL bulbs which consume 60-70% less energy than their incandescent counterparts. By 2014 in The United States, you may not even be able to buy the old style of bulbs as congress passed a law in 2007 that will see them phased out over the next few years. You should expect to save around $6/year for each incandescent bulb you eliminate in your home.
3. Consider a device like the Black & Decker EM100B Energy Saver Series Power Monitor available though Amazon. These inexpensive little gadgets connect to your power meter and allow you to monitor every detail of your electricity consumption from inside your home.
Studies have shown that installing these or similar devices and then implemented the recommended cost saving measures can reduce your electricity bill by up to 20%!
4. Install a programmable thermostat which can be set to turn down the heat or A/C while you are sleeping or at work. Take the thought process out of having to remember when to adjust your thermostat so you can focus on more important things.
5. The refrigerator is the number one energy consuming device in most homes. If your particular model is old, consider replacing it with an energy star unit.
6. Dishwashers and washing machines use a lot of hot water. Run them with full loads only and when upgrading, consider units with high energy star ratings. Unless absolutely necessary, avoid pre-rinsing your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher.
7. You have several options with your hot water tank.
a) You can simply use an insulation jacket
b) You can consider supplementing with solar heated water which, during summer months may save up to75% of your hot water heating costs (Closer to 25% in cooler months)
c) You can install a tank-less water heater. However, with a high initial cost and minimal energy savings, this may not be the best option.
d) Finally, there are several hybrid water heaters now available in the market which offer energy savings of almost 60%.
8. If you live in a cool climate, make sure you have proper weather stripping around your doors and windows. If you live in an older house, you could save double digit percentages on your heating costs if you currently have old or poorly installed weather stripping.
Alternatively, if you live in a hot climate, keep your A/C turned as low as possible or even off when it is not needed. Make sure you are not running your air-conditioning with doors or windows open.
9. Turn electrical devices off when not in use: Lights, computer monitors, TVs, stereos, electric fireplaces and ceiling fans.
All these devices use small amounts of electricity but considering the number of gadgets we have in our homes today, it does not take long for the electrical consumption to add up. Reduce your electricity bill by paying attention to the little things!
Now that you have finished reading through these energy saving tips, take the time to write down a plan and a timeline for implementing each step. Maybe you can only put 20-30% of your plan in effect right away and the rest will have to be done in stages.
Maybe the first step is to get a real assessment of where your maximum potential energy savings comes from. If that is the case then a power saving monitor like the Black & Decker EM100B Energy Saver model to the left is a great way to complete a thorough assessment.
Any time you are considering the purchase of new appliances or equipment such as a solar heater or hybrid hot water tank, always calculate the payback period and get at least three professional opinions.
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