1. Get an Energy Audit
Almost every energy company provides a free home energy audit. Some provide an actual expert who comes to your home, evaluates your appliances and energy practices and makes suggestions on how to improve. Others simply have fill out an online survey and provide tips. Almost all also provide free lightbulbs, faucet fixtures, and other small improvement hardware to help you reduce your overall bill. Check your power company’s website and see if they offer an energy audit. For my Indianapolis area friends, here’s the link for Duke Energy, IPL, and Wabash Valley Power.
2. Keep Your Furnace Filter Clean
Changing the furnace filter is one of my least favorite jobs, but I know our furnace heats most efficiently when we show it some love. Some furnace filters can actually be cleaned in between replacement. You can vacuum or hose down the filter (preferably outside) to get the dirt out. Be sure you check your furnace’s manual before you go that route, though. As a rule of thumb, a typical suburban home without pets needs a changed furnace filter every 90 days. If you have pets, you’ll need to change it every 45-60 days. Not only will you keep your heating bills down by ensuring your furnace runs at a peak performance, you’ll also reduce the risk of maintenance problems or worse fire, both which could cause an enormous dent in your budget.
3. Be a Thermostat Ninja (or Program It)
Be wise about how you set your thermostat. If you’ll be out of the house during the day or even more extended period of times, be sure you dial it down during the winter and up during the summer. Most thermostats should be set at 68 degrees. If you can, dial it back 5-10 degrees at night and when you’re gone to save 8-10% on your bill. If you have the budget for it, you may want to consider a programmable thermostat that automatically changes depending on the hour of the day. For more on making the most of your thermostat, go here.
4. Clean the Coils Of Your Refrigerator
This one seems crazy but we try to do this at least once a year. Take your vacuum hose attachment or Shop Vac and thoroughly sweep out the coils and register at the bottom of your refrigerator. Dirt, hair, and dust can clog the coils and slow your refrigerator down. Not only will you save on energy costs but you will prolong the life of your fridge, too.
5. Cut Phantom Electric Costs
All of those plugs in all of those walls of all of those appliances doing basically nothing. From your phone charger to the blender, the TV, the laptop, and more, you’re losing money by leaving things plugged in. Your cable box, plugged in all month long can cost you as much as $8 a month to power! Make a habit of routinely unplugging those small appliances that are not in use. A power strip might help you turn off several at once.
There are a million more small ideas that can help you save money when it comes your energy costs. From keeping your exterior doors closed and your interior doors open to drying loads of laundry back to back (because the dryer won’t have to reheat), from keeping your fridge and freezer full to making you sure you take advantage of rebate programs, I’d recommend checking out Wabash Valley Power, Duke Energy, or your energy provider’s website for some fantastic ideas. You can also head to Energy.Gov’s Energy Saver, too.
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