With the cooler Fall temperatures, I’m sure many of you have seen an increase in your electricity bill. While I love seeing trees covered in snow, I dread opening my mailbox to find out how much we owe the power company during the winter. Since we rent (and, our landlord hasn’t replaced/fixed the windows in many years), we’ve resorted to using Duck Indoor Shrink Film Kit to cover our windows. Thankfully, it significantly helped to reduce our electricity bill!
Virginia Energy Sense understands the frustration of higher energy costs, and has compiled a list of tips to help you cut down on your energy use. They also offer an Energy Conservation Do-It-Yourself Guide, for those of you homeowners that are handy with your tools. To involve your family in conserving energy, you can always play their new Energy Monsters Facebook game that quizzes you about your energy usage habits, generating a unique “energy monster” that helps identify where you might be wasting energy in your home. Play the game with your child and find out if you’re a “Voltage Victor” or “Meter Mutant”.
:: Open your window shades during cooler months to take advantage of natural heat from the sun.
:: Replace or clean furnace filters once a month. Dirty filters restrict airflow and increase energy use.
:: Insulate your water heater pipes. Using pipe insulation available from your local hardware store, insulate the first five feet of pipe coming out of the top of your water heater. If the whole length of exposed pipe between the water heater and the wall is less than five feet, insulate the full length.
:: Did you know 30% to 50% of your electricity bill pays for the energy lost through small holes and cracks in your home? Cracks are often found around pipes, door frames and electrical outlets. Fortunately, there is an easy fix to seal them up and save: foam insulation. You can buy a $5 can of foam insulation at your hardware store.
:: Reset your programmable thermostat to the coolest comfortable temperature to save on heating costs. Decrease the temperature when you go to bed or leave your home for the day.
:: Lower your water heater’s maximum temperature — 120 degrees should be sufficient. The energy savings are 7-11% of water heating costs.
:: Replace regular light bulbs with energy efficient compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). Consider LED lights for outdoor areas. Switching one CFL can save $40 or more over the lifetime of the bulb and LED lights use at least 75% less energy than incandescent lighting.
:: As you unpack fall and winter clothes and activities, ensure your attic and basement are properly insulated. If your insulation is just level with or below your floor joists (i.e., you can easily see your joists), you should add more.
:: Leaks and drafts cause unnecessary expenses. Weatherize your home by caulking and weather-stripping all doors and windows. Also use locks on your windows to make them tighter and draft resistant. According to the Department of Energy, if you reduce drafts in your home you can cut your energy bill by as much as 30%!
:: Keep shades and curtains open during the day on the south side of your home to prevent your heating unit from working twice as hard to warm the space.