Everyone loves to save money, but did you know you can do so every day with these energy saving tips that will reduce your electric bill? In addition to saving money, lower energy use also means you’re doing your part to cut back on global warming and those nasty climate change effects we’ve been experiencing.
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12 Energy Saving Tips
You’ve heard of the 12 Days of Christmas, right? Well, here are the 12 energy saving tips for winter. Ok, year-round really.
Starting from the easier, lower up-front cost methods, check out easy ways to conserve energy and save money during the winter and beyond.
1 – Adjust Ceiling Fan and Vent Directions
Remember how your science teacher told you hot rises and cold air falls? Well, that is key to optimize air flow and keep your thermostat at a lower setting for conserving energy and saving you money.
During winter, set your EnergyStar ceiling fan blades to turn clockwise to pull up the cool air. Reverse the direction in the summer.
In winter, you’ll also want the cool air drawn into the register vents while the hot air remains. Therefore, open the floor/bottom registers and close the ceiling/top registers. Again, reverse these settings in the summer.
2 – Turn Down the Water Heater Temperature
Most hot water heater manufacturer’s specifications state to set to your hot water heater to 140°F. However, this is not necessary – for health or energy purposes. As CNET notes, it’s easy to set you water heater to 120°F to save money on energy bills.
3 – Turn the Thermostat Down to Save Energy
Want to save as much as 10% this winter on your heating bills? Energy.gov says you can by adjusting your programmable thermostat to 68°F degrees during the day and lowering it 7°-10°F for 8 hours (while you’re asleep), you can see real savings this winter.
4 – Eliminate Home Air Leaks
Most American homes lose hundreds of dollars a year on heating and cooling bills simply through leaky and drafty windows and doors. According to Energy.gov, you can save up to 20% on your energy bills just by sealing those cracks with inexpensive window sealing strips,.door sweeps, silicone sealant, and/or insulating spray foam.
5 – Adjust Fridge and Freezer Temps
Assume you can plug in your refrigerator and freezer and forget about them? Not so. Both appliances can be costing you money if the temperatures are set too low.
For better savings, keep the refrigerator no lower than 38-40°F (around 3-5°C) and the freezer no lower than 5°F (around -15-18°C). If you’re unsure on your appliance’s temperature, test with a thermometer.
For the best long-term savings, in addition to the correct settings, upgrade to an EnergyStar refrigerator and freezer.
6 – Replace HVAC Air Filters
Another inexpensive way to chip away at the energy bill is keeping your MERV 13 HVAC air filters clean.
Air filters should be replaced every 3 to 12 months, depending on the filter thickness. Changing out your filters also reduces the possibility of HVAC maintenance costs and keep your HVAC system working better longer.
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7 – Take Shorter Showers
Ok, now this strategy costs you NO money. You can also end up saving yourself some time! Cutting back your shower time you allows you to achieve a triple-win of lowering your water use, energy use, and save on energy and water bills. If you need help, use a shower timer.
For more of an impact, lower the flow of water by using a WaterSense low-flow showerhead that uses no more than 2 gallons of water per minute. For less than $10 on a showerhead, it’s an inexpensive investment.
8 – LED Light Bulbs and Holiday Lights
Another no brainer: LED light bulbs. Why would you purchase an incandescent bulb that runs hot and lasts less? LED bulbs are safer, inexpensive, and last thousands of hours longer than an incandescent.
Incandescent bulbs contain mercury so please do not throw them away. For proper disposal, contact your municipality or your local hardware store to see if they will dispose of them for you.
9 – Use Lighting Controls
Lighting controls are a great way to “fix it and forget it”, if you will, on your indoor and outdoor lighting. As Energy.gov, states, dimmers, timers and motion sensors take the worry out of having to turn off lights for you when they are not in use.
This can amount to huge energy and money savings over time for such a small investment. Put your indoor and outdoor holiday lights on them, too.
10 – Water Heater Blanket
If you have an older model water heater, consider getting a water heater blanket to cut the time it takes to heat up your water. Starting at around $20, you can’t go wrong.
Even better, see if your local utility will provide one for you.
Newer model water heaters have insulation built in, so no need to worry there. However, no matter what model you have, make sure you also have the water heater’s hot water pipe insulated well. Every bit of energy saving effort adds up.
11 – Smart Thermostats
Want the flexibility to adjust your thermostat away from home for more control on your energy bill? Consider the latest smart thermostats available, like the ecobee4 Smart Thermostat.
Starting at $40 there are many smart thermostat models to choose from. Check out PCMag’s breakdown of their list of best smart thermostats.
Of course, don’t forget to ensure your choice is one of the EnergyStar certified smart thermostats and if there is an available rebate.
12 – EnergyStar Appliances
With a little more upfront expense, but surely to provide a payback over time, consider upgrading your small and large appliances to EnergyStar certified appliances.
DirectEnergy reviewed 2015 appliances and suggested you could have saved $2 to $40 a year, depending on the appliance, using an EnergyStar certified appliance compared to a non-EnergyStar certified appliance. Check out their cheat sheet.
Want More Money and Energy Saving Tips?
Take a few minutes to reach out to your local utility company to see what rebates and energy assessments they offer. My electrical utility did an energy assessment for free.
Also research who partners with EnergyStar for additional savings. Sometimes, these wonderful opportunities are not well advertised (or at all).
Doing a little inquiring on your end could bring bigger savings, not just for your wallet but on climate change effects as well.
Let Me Hear From You
I would love to hear if any of these 12 energy saving tips helped you. Post me your thoughts or questions in the Comments section below. Thank you!
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Founder, CORR Concepts
Gwen is a Sustainability professional with an MBA in Sustainable Enterprises and LEED AP ID+C accreditation from the GBCI. She is also the Founder of CORR Travel. As a Sustainability professional and Earth Steward, environmental sustainability and biodiversity protection is her “religion”. Travel is her passion.