10 Ways to Slash Your Energy Bill | How to Be an Energy Star
Searching for ways to slash your energy bill online reveals a huge wealth of information to sift through. But, as Mitchell Kapor said, “Getting information off the internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant.”
To help you organize and make sense of all the energy-saving advice out there, we’ve gathered the most important 10 tips and tricks. Employing these changes to your home can easily reduce your energy consumption by 30-60%!
10 Ways to Slash Your Energy Bill
1. Upgrade to Energy-Efficient Appliances and Lights
Although behavioral changes, like taking shorter showers, programming thermostats, and remembering to turn off lights and fans can make a significant impact on your energy bill, upgrading your appliances and replacing incandescents with LEDs will make a bigger difference in the long run.
Obviously you will want to take replacement costs into account and determine if it makes more sense to replace rather than to repair. But, if you are in a situation where replacement makes more sense, spend the extra money for a more energy-efficient system and you’ll notice huge savings in the long run.
Click here for a list of ENERGY STAR-qualified products, which meet strict energy efficient standards set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy.
Considering that heating and cooling make up around half of your home’s total energy use, it’s especially important to choose an energy-efficient system. There are many things to take into account when deciding to repair or replace your HVAC system.
2. Use Appliances Wisely
Although purchasing energy-efficient appliances goes a long way, you will want to make sure you are using them efficiently.
- Don’t set your freezer and refrigerator any colder than it needs to be.
- A full freezer/refrigerator uses less energy.
- Consider ditching that second fridge, if you have one.
- Consider a smaller fridge if it is rarely full.
- Vacuum the coils on the back of your refrigerator to increase its efficiency (make sure it is unplugged first).
- Wash your clothes in full loads with cold water.
- Consider air drying your clothes and dishes.
- Program your thermostat to be as efficient as possible.
- Set your thermostat to around 78°F while at home and around 6° higher while away.
- Click here to learn how to operate your thermostat most efficiently.
3. Adjust Your Fan
Running your fans counter counter-clockwise during the summer will create a wind-chill breeze effect. Your fan should be adjusted per season.
Modern fans typically have a switch on the base to change the direction. Flipping the switch will reverse the direction of your fan blades, good for creating an updraft in the winter months. Make sure the fan is off before adjusting. You might also find that your fan needs a good dusting.
And remember, fans cool people, not rooms. So when you leave the room, remember to turn it off, as you will only be wasting energy if you leave it on.
If you are outside, fans can help keep the mosquitoes away. If you are going to be near mosquitoes, bring a fan with you. Those dang mosquitoes cannot land in a breeze, so they will avoid any areas with a lot of air movement.
4. Cooking Tips
- Try to cook in the morning or at night when temperatures are lowest.
- Barbecue outdoors whenever possible.
- Consider cold meals instead of hot ones. Click here for a list of delicious hot-weather recipes.
- When cooking on the stove, use a lid to reduce cooking times.
- Microwave meals instead of using the stove or oven.
5. Insulate Your Home
Inspect your home for air leaks. You can test for air leaks with a thin piece of toilet paper or lit incense stick. Once you find the sources of your air leaks, you can fix them with new weatherstripping, weatherproof caulk, or expandable foam spray.
Don’t forget about your attic, garage, or basement. These areas often have substantial energy leaks that, if fixed, can amount to substantial energy savings.
6. Reduce Solar Heat Gain
By reducing the amount of heat from the sun you won’t have to use your air conditioner as often. There are several ways to do this:
- Use awnings and other shading options for your windows and outdoor HVAC unit.
- Use light-colored shades and drapes.
- Use high-reflectivity window films.
- Mesh window screens can also reduce solar heat gain.
- Consider double-glazed windows, storm panels, and other window treatments.
- Plant deciduous trees near your home, especially on the east and west sides.
Full Infographic: energy.gov
7. Create a Crosswind
Create your own wind-tunnel by setting up two fans to create a perfect crosswind. Be sure to close your windows and doors during the day and open them at night.
When the sun has set, open you windows and place two fans so that one is blowing air out of the window while the other fan is blowing air in from a second window. This will help ventilate you home and get the hot, stuffy air out while bringing cool air in.
8. Use Exhaust Fans
In your bathroom and kitchen, use the ventilation fans to get the hot air out. Make sure they are not on when the temperatures are cool. You don’t want the cool air to escape.
9. DIY Air Conditioning
Put a bucket of ice or a cold wet towel in front of your fan so that the fan will blow cool air.
10. Use Window Fan Ventilation
Blow hot air out and pull cool air in by placing one fan as high up as possible in your window (hot air rises) and another fan as low as possible.
Last, but certainly not least, remember to have your HVAC system inspected twice a year for optimum energy savings. Sign up for a Home Maintenance Plan so you never forget about this important home maintenance task.
Additional Energy-Saving Tips
- How to Keep Cool Without Air Conditioning
- Everyday Tips to Save Money & Energy at Home
- Heating and Cooling FAQs
- Outdoor Home Maintenance Checklist for Late Summer
Call Pacific Air Systems for an experienced technician to inspect your home for more energy-saving possibilities.
Since 1984, we’ve proudly served homeowners throughout Federal Way, Graham, Spanaway, University Place, Steilacoom, Sumner, Lakewood, Puyallup, Tacoma, and Gig Harbor.