If you’re like many people, you’ve probably found that your power bills have increased significantly over the last year due to being at home more because of the coronavirus pandemic.
If so, you no doubt want to find ways to reduce the amount you have to pay. You’re likely keen to lower energy consumption to live more sustainably and have a lighter footprint on the earth, too.
Happily, there are multiple ways to shave money off these utility bills and cut the amount of power you and your family use.
Get an Energy Audit
It’s wise to get an energy audit on your power usage right away so you can see at what level you and your family currently use energy. Getting a big picture perspective via an audit will make it easier to determine where you need to make changes, in big and small ways.
Many local contractors specialize in providing these types of auditors, so search online for people in your area whom you can hire. Another option is to install a do-it-yourself energy monitor in your property. This will track your usage day to day. Also, you’ll find online tools now available that you can use to calculate your likely energy consumption. Input information based on your home and lifestyle, and an estimator will give you an indication of usage.
Replace Old Windows and Add More Insulation
A big consumer of power in most homes is heating and cooling systems. If you want to reduce the amount you use throughout the year, look for ways to cut back on how much you run your HVAC. One way to do this is to replace any old windows in your property that may let hot or cold air in unnecessarily.
Windows may have cracked panes or broken frames or might be ill-fitting, thereby not having a proper seal. Put in new windows to solve these issues. If you need to find a glazier or tradesperson for the job, look up “house window replacement near me” online or similar search terms to find contractors.
It also pays to add more insulation to your property, especially if you’re living in an older home that initially may not have much put in. Also, note that insulation can degrade over time, and today’s products tend to be higher-quality, so it’s worth making the upgrade for both comfort and costs.
Reduce Appliance Use, and Keep Machines Maintained
Another way to reduce how much power you consume is to reduce your usage of appliances. Mindful choices add up over time. For example, don’t automatically turn on your HVAC systems if the weather gets a little chilly or warm. Instead, change your outfit, open or close windows, or take advantage of blankets or energy-efficient fans.
Air-dry your clothes rather than using a clothes dryer, too. Plus, it helps to wait until you have a full load before switching on your dishwasher or washing machine. Use short cycles and cold water where possible to cut back on power needs as well.
Your machines will operate more efficiently if you keep them in good order. Clean them all regularly and conduct maintenance as required so they run smoothly and don’t drain so much power. For instance, remove the lint from your clothes dryer each time you use it and a few times per year scrub the lint trap filter to remove dust and dirt buildup.
Dust the coils on your fridge so it doesn’t have to work too hard to keep the contents inside cool and clear the air vents on your TV and other entertainment devices. Change filters in your HVAC systems and clean out these devices at least once or twice a year. Hire an electrician to do these jobs if you have no experience in them, as it’s crucial to be safe.
Cut Back on Phantom Energy
Lastly, keep in mind that you could be paying more for your power bills than needed if you have too much energy drainage happening from appliances when they’re not in use. Known as “phantom” energy, this happens when devices are plugged in and not being used but still consuming small amounts of energy. The pull on resources is slight, but it adds up over a year, especially when multiple power points and appliances are involved.
Reduce this consumption by plugging machines you don’t use very often onto a single power board. Leave this strip switched off at the wall most of the time, and only turn it on when you have to use one or more devices.
Every little step you and the rest of your household can make to cut a bit of power here and there daily will produce results. Take note of where your energy usage sits after 12 months, and you’re sure to notice a significant change.