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Energy Saving Tips
Have you ever opened up your electric bill and panicked? Nearly everyone has felt that same sense of dread after seeing an unbelievable total on the amount due line. Almost everyone has rushed to figure out why they are suddenly using so much electricity or researching energy-saving tips. Whether you are searching for ways to prevent another insane electric bill or want to do your part for the planet, there are many ways to save on your electric bill.
Energy Saving Tips for Your Home
Most people use more energy at home than anywhere else, so learning how to save money on the electric bill is essential in managing your finances. If you open your electric bill at the beginning of the month fighting feelings of dread, you might need some energy-saving tips at home.
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Energy Saving Tips:
1. Take care of your HVAC system
The HVAC system uses much of the energy in many homes and often reflects the greatest chance of saving money. Make sure that you have the system tuned up annually, so it is in optimal working condition. Have a certified HVAC professional inspect the unit for potential problems.
If your HVAC system is suddenly struggling, it might be time to upgrade your system. By continuing to use a poorly performing HVAC, the aging system will only cost you more over time. Not only will this cause higher electric bills, but you will be paying more for less comfort.
Once you know your HVAC system is in tip-top shape, you can install a programable or smart thermometer. These improve your HVAC system’s efficiency and allow you to have more control over the temperature settings in your home.
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2. Check the rest of your appliances
Your HVAC system isn’t the only area of your home that could be making it hard to save money on electricity. The rest of the appliances in your home could also be costing you. Replace struggling refrigerators or ranges for newer, more energy-efficient models.
Anytime you are shopping for new appliances, be sure that you look for the Energy Star label. Energy Star means that it is guaranteed to have a certain amount of energy efficiency. The more efficient your appliance is, the less electricity you use.
You should also check with your electric company before making any purchases. Many have programs that reward you for purchasing appliances with certain features or ratings.
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3. Check your water heater
The water heater is one major appliance that uses a large chunk of your home’s electricity. If it is not working well, your bill can shoot up quickly. Be sure to check your water heater frequently, and inspect your tanks (and the pipes coming from them) for leaks. You should also make sure that all of the pipes within the 1st six feet of the tank are insulated.
Other energy saver tips include simply using less hot water in your home and turning down the thermostat. You can often substitute cold water without changing the outcome. Not washing clothes in hot or warm water can be one simple way to use less hot water. By turning down the thermostat, you not only use less hot water, but you can also make the water’s temperature safer for your family to use.
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Energy Saving Tips for Winter
If you live in a more northern climate, you already anticipate energy costs being higher once the temperature starts to drop. Everyone wants a warm and cozy place to come home to, but they also need energy-saving tips for winter. Even if you live in an area with mild winters, there are still winter-specific energy-saving tips for your home.
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Energy Saving in Winter
- Cover those drafty windows!
Window treatments such as insulating drapes or shades can help a lot if you find you have drafty windows. If window treatments alone aren’t enough to eliminate the draft from the cold winter air, you can consider using heavy-duty clear plastic to seal the window. Just apply it to the inside of your window frame and make sure that it seals tightly to the frame.
- Adjust the temperature.
Of course, you want to be comfortable when you are home. Use the lowest setting on your thermostat that you can be comfortable with. However, when you are asleep or not at home, you can turn the temperature down 10-15 degrees. Doing this can help you save 10% a year! Several programable thermostats can make those adjustments automatically based on your regular schedule.
- Find and seal leaks.
Have someone inspect your home for air leaks. These can occur around pipes, chimneys, light fixtures, or other spaces. Seal up any leaks you find with caulk or weatherstripping. Inspect these areas at the start of every winter and touch up the seals as it becomes necessary.
- Check your fireplace.
While a fireplace can be a great way to heat a room, it can also be the source of a draft that can cause your electric heating system to work harder. Make sure that the damper is closed unless you are burning a fire. When you are using the fireplace (and have the damper open), make sure that you set the thermostat between 50 and 55 degrees. Also, check the seals on the flue damper and make sure to keep it snug. Check the caulking around the hearth. Finally, if you never use your fireplace, consider plugging and sealing the chimney flue.
- Check your Holiday decorations.
Many people do not even consider how their festive light shows can increase their electric bills. For some families, the difference can be quite considerable. Consider switching out older style decorations with new LED lights. They use far less electricity and can even have an energy star certification.
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Energy Saving Tips for Summer
In other regions, more power is used during the warm summer months. The biggest culprit in these places is running the AC. Of course, your family wants to stay cool, but not being wise with the settings can quickly cause your bill to skyrocket. Look for other ways you can save money on the electricity bill so you can run your AC without feeling too guilty.
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Energy Saving Tips in Summer
- Be cautious when setting your AC settings.
Many of the same energy-saving tips for winter work just as well during warmer months. Instead of turning down the dial, you will want to turn it up if you are looking for energy-saving tips for the air conditioner. Remember that for every degree above 72 degrees, you can save up to 3%.
- Use your fans.
Rather than turning the temperature down, put your ceiling fans to good use. Sometimes all that is necessary to feel cooler is to increase the air circulation in the room. A good fan can even allow you to keep the temperature 4 degrees higher without giving up comfort. If you don’t have a ceiling fan, take advantage of this tip with a portable one.
- Keep the sun out.
Direct sunlight coming through your windows during the long summer day can drive temperatures up no matter what you set the temperature to. Keeping your windows covered with room darkening curtains or drapes is one easy way to fix this. You can also consider putting a more permanent shade in place by planting shrubs or trees to block the worst of the sunlight.
- Watch where you place your electronics.
Be aware of where your thermostats are when you are arranging the room or installing appliances. Each of these things gives off heat as you use them. If you accidentally put a television too close, your thermostat might detect that heat and use more energy as it’s trying to keep your home cool.
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Energy Saving Tips for Your Business
Business owners also need to be aware of energy-saving tips. There are several opportunities for them to save money on their daily operating expenses.
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Everyone knows that turning off the lights when you leave a room is a tried and true way to save money on the electric bill. There is no doubt you should have your employees turn off the lights when they aren’t needed.
When it comes to your business, however, you have many more options available. Many buildings have outdated lighting that can be reduced or replaced. You can even get the same light level with fewer fixtures if you take advantage of some of the newer technology available.
Replacing older style incandescent lamps with compact fluorescent or LED versions can also reduce the amount of money you spend on lighting. A bonus with many of these lamps is that they can last 50 times longer than regular incandescent versions.
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2. Heating and Cooling
Just like in your home, much of your electric bill goes directly into running your HVAC system. By adopting some energy savings tips for air conditioners, you can reduce some of these expenses.
First, make sure that you have a preventative maintenance routine well established for your HVAC system. This routine should include:
- Changing the air filters monthly
- Cleaning the heat exchange, coil, condenser, and evaporator surfaces periodically
- Check for and repair leaks in the piping, air ducts, or unit
If your unit is having frequent problems or needing repair more often than usual, it might be time to consider replacing it. Older, struggling units can use even more electricity than expected. Once you choose to replace your unit, make sure that your contractor correctly calculates the right sized system for your build load and occupancy needs. Also, anytime you replace equipment, make sure to use the most energy-efficient versions.
Even if you don’t need to replace equipment, there are still things you can do to reduce how much you spend on heating and cooling. This can be as simple as taking measures to control the temperature of your building.
- During the heat of the summer, your thermostat should be between 78 and 80 degrees during the day. Set it to 80 degrees when the building isn’t in use.
- Lock your device so neither employees nor guests can make adjustments to your settings.
- Programmable thermostats that adjust on their own will make maintaining your desired temperatures much easier. These are designed specifically to help you save money on the electricity bill. Many of the most recent models can even be programmed remotely.
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3. Office Equipment
Lastly, don’t forget your office equipment when you are considering ways to save money on electricity. Always leaving computers on and having lots of additional devices plugged in drains electricity.
So what changes can you make?
- Ensure that everyone turns off computers, monitors, printers, and copiers when they aren’t needed or once business hours are over.
- Consider replacing your desktop computers as they age if possible. A laptop can use 75% less electricity.
- Check all of the office computer systems to make sure that they are set to switch into power saving mode when they are idle.
- Just like replacing home appliances, new office equipment frequently has energy-efficient choices. Look for an Energy Star logo when shopping for any equipment. Energy Star choices can often use 50% less power to operate.
There are likely additional ways to save money on your business’s power bill depending on the size and type of business you have. Always be on the lookout for other ways to reduce how much electricity you use.
Sometimes saving money can be less about where you’re using power, but rather what time of the year you use it. Everyone’s power needs fluctuate as seasons come and go. Whether your power needs are greater in the winter or the summer, some planning can reduce your usage.
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Figuring out how to save money on electricity bills is something that everyone eventually tries to learn how to do. As technology continues to develop, this is proving easier and easier to do. With a little determined effort, anyone can keep a bit more money in their account. It’s not just about saving money. With the planet’s energy needs increasing every day, everyone has a part to play when managing the resources that run our lives.
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