Opening your monthly utility bills can be scary depending on the season. Household bills can quickly add up, especially if you don’t know how to reduce your energy usage. Most homeowners know to turn off the lights when leaving a room or to shut off the faucet while brushing teeth or doing dishes to avoid wasting water. These are good habits to practice, but for even more impact on your energy bill, check out these five energy-saving tips.
1. Make energy-smart choices when doing laundry.
Washing your clothes in cold water instead of hot water comes with several benefits. For instance, cold water is gentler on your clothes and your energy bill. It takes a lot of energy to heat water for multiple loads of laundry. Using cold or lukewarm water greatly reduces your energy usage.
Running the high speed or extended spin cycle on your washing machine will also remove as much moisture as possible from your laundry, requiring less time in the dryer, thus reducing energy usage. And remember, always run a full load of laundry, and adjust the load size setting to reflect small, medium, or large loads. Using the right load size setting ensures you’re not using an excessive amount of water for each load.
2. Adjust the temperature based on the season.
Sure, you don’t want to shiver while spending time at home during the winter, but lowering the temperature a few degrees can make a difference in your electric bill. A good gameplan is to lower the temperature at night to save on energy. Each degree on your thermostat could save you 10 percent on your electric bill.
And during the warmer months of the year, skip the air conditioner and use fans and open your windows at night to allow for natural breezes and cross-ventilation. Keep your curtains and blinds closed during the day, especially in the summertime, to keep the sun from heating your home. Designate cool zones in your house by only cooling the part that you spend the most time in.
3. Unplug your electronics.
Most homeowners don’t realize that any electronics that are plugged in still draw energy when turned off. Any electronic device with a transformer draws energy regardless of use. This “phantom” energy contributes up to 5- to 10-percent of your annual energy usage. Unplugging your electronics every time you finish using them may sound inconvenient, so use a power strip for your electronics and switch off the power when nothing is in use.
4. Update your roof.
Your home’s roof is the first line of defense against rain, wind, snow, and other seasonal elements. Homeowners in areas prone to big storms know how damaging hail and heavy snow can be. Hailstones are known to cause cosmetic damage like dents to traditional shingles that require roof repair. Whether you need a new roof because of hail damage or you want to protect your home from future hail impact, consider a Class 4 Impact Resistant shingle.
When doing research on new roofing, look for local companies that have a track-record of providing high-quality, impact-resistant roofing. Impact-resistant shingles and impact-resistant roofing materials are designed to withstand high winds, debris, and hail that result from hail storms. Resistant shingles are made with an SBS (styrene-butadiene-styrene)-modified asphalt formula. These rubberized asphalt shingles are the most advanced available and better protect your roof from damaging hail than aluminum or resin shingles.
To test how durable impact-resistant roofing materials are, steel balls are dropped from 12 to 20 feet onto the most vulnerable areas of the shingle, including the underside of the shingle, before being examined for fracture damage. Class 4 IR shingles have the highest impact rating of any other type of shingle.
By protecting your roof from hail and other weather damage, you’re less likely to experience energy “leakage” through this first line of defense in your home. Most roofs need to be replaced every 10 to 20 years, regardless of damage, but if your roof has taken the brunt of heavy storms, it may be time for a roof inspection and repair.
5. Monitor your energy usage.
The best way to understand your energy usage is to get an energy audit from your utility company. Energy providers can pinpoint where your energy usage goes, how you can lower it, and whether or not your efficiency efforts are working.
Compare electricity rates with a range of energy providers to find the best electric plan for your household’s needs. Whether you want to shop electric rates from alternative suppliers, have an interest in renewable energy, or want to explore switching to natural gas, there’s an electric supplier for you.
These five simple tips can help you save big on your energy bills in the long run.