Small changes can make a big difference. Here’s where to start:
- Unplug appliances, electronic devices and other items when not in use. Turned off appliances are still connected to electricity when they are plugged in.
- On warm days, keep shades and curtains closed to block the sun and help keep your home cooler. On colder days, keep them open to let natural light heat your home. Close them at night to retain the day’s heat. Keep in mind that fans cool you, not the room, and should be turned off when you leave.
- When the weather is cold, switch your ceiling fans to turn clockwise to push warm air from the ceiling to the floor. During the summer, ceiling fans should turn counter-clockwise.
- Change your air filters regularly to lower heating and cooling costs, improve indoor air quality and extend equipment life.
- Have your heating and cooling units serviced annually by a professional technician.
There’s one way to save on summer cooling costs – to reduce the amount of time that your air conditioner runs. For starters, make sure your system is running properly with good maintenance and service. Next, follow these tips to cool for less:
- Set the thermostat as high as comfortably possible during hot weather. The less difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your cooling bill will be. Keep your house warmer when you aren’t home during the day, but cooler when you come home at night.
- Use a smart or programmable thermostat, which saves you money by consistently turning up the thermostat when you’re away. You may set different temperatures for your home depending on whether you’re at work, at home, or in bed at night.
- Clean your system’s filters and coils periodically. A dirty system deteriorates air conditioning performance and increases operating time. Filters should be changed every one to three months and the outdoor coil should be cleaned every year.
- Install LED lights, which emit pleasant light using less energy and without generating heat.
- Keep cooled air inside the home. Caulk and weather strip around doors and windows, close the fireplace damper and fill holes and gaps where wiring and pipes enter the house.
- Insulate your attic to the maximum practical depth of insulation.
- Use kitchen, bath and other ventilation fans only as long as needed. In just one hour, these fans can pull out a houseful of cooled air.
- Don’t use your oven on hot days.
- Line dry your clothes when possible.
- Install shades, blinds, awnings, sun screens or window films on your sunny-side windows.
- Circulate air with ceiling fans. Fans don’t actually cool a room – they just cool you – so be sure to switch the fan off when you’re not in the room.
- Keep the outside air conditioner unit free of air flow obstructions and trim back trees and shrubs at least two feet.
- Maintain your equipment to prevent problems. To keep your system at peak performance, maintenance should be done annually by a professional.
- Select energy-efficient equipment when you buy new heating and cooling equipment. Look for the Energy Star
- Closing registers in unused rooms doesn’t usually help to reduce operating hours and may reduce your system’s efficiency.
Certain telltale signs indicate it’s time to replace cooling equipment or improve parts of your system to enhance performance. It may be time to call a professional contractor to help you make a change if:
- Your cooling equipment is 10 years old or more. New Energy Star labeled equipment uses 25 to 40 percent less energy than typical 10-year-old models.
- Your equipment needs frequent repairs and your bills are increasing.
- Your system turns on and off frequently. This can indicate that your cooling system is not the right size leading to poor dehumidification and less comfort.
- Some of your rooms are too hot or too cold. Improper equipment operation or duct problems could be the cause.
- Your home has humidity problems.
- Your home has excessive dust. Leaky ducts can pull particles and air from attics and crawlspaces. Sealing your ducts could be a solution.
- Your cooling system is noisy.
Save Money on Your Water Bill
While reducing your water bill may not be too high on your list of ways to save money, it isn’t a complete wash. According to a report by the American Water Works Association, infrastructure upgrades and improvements to our drinking water system are expected to cost at least $1 trillion between now and 2035, much of which will be passed on to consumers. And if you live in a rural area where there are fewer residents to share these costs, your bill could triple.
Start saving money now with these six ways to reduce your water bill:
- Store cold water in the fridge. Instead of running the tap and waiting for the water to cool off each time you want a cold glass of water, fill up a pitcher or two and store them in your refrigerator. This works well if you use a pitcher with a water filter attached.
- Take shorter showers.By reducing the time you showerby just four minutes, you can save almost 4,000 gallons of water per year. Focus on getting in and getting out. This can save as much as $100 on an annual basis and may help you save money on other utility bills, such as gas and electricity.
- Don’t let the water run when shaving or brushing your teeth.Don’t make this mistake, since it’s a complete waste of water. To rinse off your razor while shaving, just keep a cup of hot water next to you and dip it in every so often. When brushing your teeth, fill up your rinse cup and turn off the faucet.
- Install a low-flow shower head.Installing a low-flow shower head can reduce the amount of water you use while showering by as much as 50 percent.
- Run full loads of dishes and laundry.If you load your dishwasher properly, you’ll fit in as much dishes as possible. Running it only when it’s full reduces the number of times you need to run it. Likewise, to save waterwhen doing laundry, only run the washer when you have a full load of dirty clothes.
- Don’t hand-wash dishes.You use 1/6 less water by running a full load in the dishwasher. When you’re rinsing your dishes before they go in, don’t run the tap. Instead, fill up a container with a small amount of water and rinse off all the excess from your dishes with that.
Final thoughts. If you ever notice a short-term increase in your water bill, don’t hesitate to contact your provider. Call them up and ask for your meter to be reread. There could be a leak, or it could simply be due to an inaccurate reading of your meter. If there is an error or a leak, do what you need to do to get it fixed as soon as possible.
There are a number of ways to save water, and they all start with you. The following household activities can have a significant impact on your water usage. Did you know…..
- Full bath = 70 gallons
- Regular Washing Machine = 40 gallons
- High-efficiency washing machine = 28 gallons
- 10 minute shower = 25 gallons
- Leaving water on while you brush your teeth = 13 gallons
- Older model toilet = 5 gallons per a flush
- Watersense toilet = 1.28 gallons per a flush