If high energy bills are getting you down every month, you’re not alone. According to the newly released data from the Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS), there has been a downward trend in energy consumption in the US thanks to efficiency initiatives.
These initiatives come in the form of some very simple, if not obvious steps every homeowner can take to decrease their monthly energy bills.
Being “In the Dark” Can be a Good Thing
One of the most obvious and simple steps to take is to shut off lights in rooms that aren’t being used. If you and the family are downstairs watching television, it makes little sense to have lights on upstairs in bedrooms that aren’t occupied. It’s estimated that lighting is responsible for roughly 10% of your home’s energy bills, so you can save a good amount every month by simply shutting off unnecessary lights in your home.
I Second Those (e)Motion Sensors
And speaking of lights, many homes, especially those that utilize outside lighting for security measures, can benefit from installing motion sensors which will turn on the lights only when motion is detected, and turn them off automatically when that motion has stopped.
Switch to Energy Efficiency
Whether it’s the light bulbs in your house or your major appliances, making the switch to energy-star certified products can put a significant dent in your monthly energy bills.
For starters, switch out all of the standard incandescent bulbs to the more energy-friendly compact fluorescent bulbs. These bulbs last longer and use less energy to light your home.
Also, consider purchasing new appliances with an energy-star rating. Older appliances can eat up a lot of energy and usually the cost of replacing them with newer energy-efficient models can offset those initial out-of-pocket costs. Do some research by visiting the Energy Star website and look through the product listings for energy ratings.
It’s cool when rock stars go unplugged, and it’s even cooler when you do. Obviously you can’t unplug your refrigerator every night, but there are plenty of smaller appliances and devices that should be unplugged when not in use such as your TV, DVD player, stereo, computers, fax machines and printers.
An easy way to do this is to group these items and plug them into a power strip that can easily be switched off at night and back on in the morning. Plus, if you do use a power strip with surge protection, you can protect your electronic equipment should there ever be a surge.
Get Help from the Pros
Sometimes in order to save money, you have to spend a little first. One way in particular is to get a professional home energy audit. These can be very beneficial over time as an expert will come out to your home and point out everything that is responsible for your large monthly bill, as well as give you suggestions on what you can do to lower that bill.
Some things they may point out to you are your home’s insulation problems. Many homes “envelopes” are not as tight as they could be because of things like leaky duct work in crawlspaces and attics and poor insulation in walls and ceilings.
The price of an energy audit can vary greatly depending on where you live. It may be $100 or $500. But usually financial assistance is available through state or local weatherization programs for people who don’t have the means.
When scheduling an audit, look for an auditor that is certified by either the Building Performance Institute or the Residential Energy Services Network or both, and ask about their training and experience.
Inquire about Rebates and Tax Credits
There are other ways to save on your monthly energy bills. One way is to check into state and federal incentives for making your home “greener” and more efficient. You can visit the U.S. Department of Energy and Energy Star web sites for specific listings of energy tax credits.
Also, you may want to inquire with your local utility company to see if they offer any kind of rebate programs that can help lower your monthly bills. Many companies will offer monthly credits to those homeowners who allow the company to turn off certain appliances during certain times of the day when energy demand is high. These interruptions in power usually cause little or no inconvenience to the home owner but can save a good amount every month.
Many local utility companies offer savings and rebate programs that reduce monthly bills.
These are six steps that you can take right now to cut down on your energy consumption and decrease your monthly bills.
Categories: Energy Efficiency