Let’s face it, we need water and electricity. It cannot be eliminated so let’s see if we can lower those costs in order to free up more money for debt, investments, vacation or maybe even mad money!
First, your hot water heater is the second largest user of electricity in your home. It accounts for between 14% and 18% of electricity used each month. There are a few things you can do to lower this cost.
• Lower the temperature of the hot water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
• Install a water heater blanket. These start at around $30 and go up from there.
• You can also insulate any exposed hot water pipes which will keep the heat in longer.
Second, when watering your yard, stick with first thing in the morning or if you have a sprinkler system, water in the middle of the night. Watering after 10 am causes your water to evaporate too quickly. Best watering times are between 4 and 10 am before it gets hot.
Third, be careful with showers! Take a hot steamy shower for too long and it will show up in your water bill. If you are trying to cut costs in your monthly bills try setting a timer and see if you can complete your shower before the timer goes off. Don’t underestimate the savings you’ll see by cutting your shower time down.
According to Green Starts Here you will save $15 to $50 per year by cutting your shower by just ONE minute! If you could shave off two minutes that would double and if the entire family jumped on board that creates quite a savings.
Fourth, washing clothes is a must for all of us. However, don’t do that load of laundry until you have a full load to wash! Your argument might be that if the load is smaller you will use less water. That might be true but you end up using the same amount of electricity as when you wash a large load. We will look into this a bit more under the energy section of this post.
Fifth, repiar any leaky toilet, faucet or sink. This could add up over time if not fixed.
To find out if you might have a small leak somewhere, read the water meter before running errands. Make sure the house will be totally empty while you are gone. When you return a few hours later, check the meter again. If the meter has changed you have a leak somewhere.
Here is a quick list of ideas to save generally throughout the day:
• Turn off the water when brushing your teeth
• Look for ways to reuse water where you can and use it to water small plants or flowers in pots
• Install a water efficient shower head
• Install a dual flush on all of your toilets
• Only wash dishes when you have a full load!
I cannot imagine living without electricity! So, since we need it, lets try to save as much as possible.
1. Change your traditional power strips to Advanced Power Strips (APS). Traditional power strips continue to pull energy even when electronics are not in use. There are different types APS so be sure to pick which one would be best for your situation.
An activity monitor APS can turn everything off for you if you are prone to fall asleep during TV shows or while working on your computer late at night.
A masterless APS is good for those who do turn off their electronics but are concerned about the “vampire draw” even when these things are not in use. Vampire draw is a small amount electricity that is still be drawn or used even if you are not using the electronics.
2. Unplug items not in use. You might be surprised how much energy is being used from things that are plugged but not in use. I mentioned a vampire draw in the previous item. This is a very real expense and does add up over time.
Items to consider unplugging when not in use:
• Computer of any kind that are plugged in
• Any and all electronics (cell phones, tablets, etc.)
• Toasters, can openers
• Your garage refrigerator (when not being used to cool something)
• Washing machine and dryer
• Curling irons, hair dryers
• Any electronic charging cord
3. Turn off the lights! This is a no brainer and certainly not a surprise that it made its way on this list. It is SO important as part of a plan to cut electricity costs. When not using a room, turn off the lights.
4. Sealing gaps and cracks around doors and windows. You can use weather stripping that is super easy to install. You can save between 5% and 10% on your electricity bill just by doing this one home improvement. Many cannot afford solar panels and other very expensive ways to save on electricity. However, weather stripping is a cheap way to cut costs.
5. Only use the clothes dryer when necessary. For someone trying very hard to save money this is another way to cut costs.
Now, I am one who likes some things super soft and fresh out of the dryer. However, some clothing items I prefer to air dry even if the label says using a machine dryer is fine.
Create a clothing line in your back yard and air dry as much as you can. The dryer pulls electricity and furthermore, in the summer heats up your home costing you more money on air conditioning. So, you save two ways: 1) By not using the dryer it keeps the house cooler. 2) By running the dryer as little as possible you are saving on electricity.
6. Wash your laundry in cold or warm water when you can. Washing in hot water is necessary sometimes and even suggested for some items. However, washing in warm water when you can will cut your energy usage in half and when you use cold water it cuts it even more!
7. Only wash FULL loads of laundry. Your washing machine pulls the same amount of electricity for a large load of clothes as it does for a small load. So, wait until you have a full load before starting your machine. This way, all clothes get washed but you only use electricity once rather than multiple times for tiny loads of laundry.
8. Check the energy rating when buying new appliances. When shopping around be sure to check the energy star rating. To some, $50 or $100 a year might not sound like much but over time and with multiple appliances, it adds up. If all of your appliances save you $100 a year then you could save upwards of $600 to $700 a year!
9. Adjust how you dress when you are in your home. Instead of constantly turning the air up and down choose different clothing. In the winter put on a warm sweater, socks and sweat pants. In the summer, put on those spandex shorts that you would never wear in front of anyone and opt for a sleeveless tank top. I find that the winter is a super easy time for me to do this. Sweaters and warm socks keep me warm and lower my electricity cost. It’s a win both ways!
10. Use a lower heat setting on your dryer. Using the hottest heat setting on your dryer is a big draw in terms of electricity. If you opt for a lower heat setting, the dryer will run longer but the electricity savings makes it worth it.
Comment below with other ways you have found to save on electricity.