How To Reduce Your Energy Consumption Costs

By Ashley Henshaw. May 7th 2016

While saving energy is good for the planet, don’t forget that it’s also good for your finances. Energy costs can skyrocket when you don’t take the steps to curb your energy consumption. Use these handy tips to cut back on your energy spending and enjoy a smaller bill each month.

At Home

When it comes to your general energy use at home, it’s the little things that make the biggest difference in your energy consumption costs. It might be as easy as pushing a different button on your washing machine or flipping off a light switch. Here are some of the best tips for saving on your typical day-to-day energy use:

  • Set the water level for your washing machine to match the amount of clothes inside. Use cold water to wash and rinse whenever possible.
  • Always clean the lint filter after using the dryer. Dry heavy and light fabrics separately. If possible, use a clothes line to dry fabrics in warmer weather.
  • Always turn off a light when leaving a room. Use energy-efficient light bulbs whenever possible.
  • Unplug electronics, appliances and chargers when not in use. These items still use a small amount of energy when plugged into the wall even if they are not turned on.
  • Set your computer to hibernate or sleep when not in use.

Heating And Cooling

The costs to heat and cool your home typically account for the largest portion of an energy bill. Making adjustments in this area can be very inexpensive but can have a big payoff. If you live in an area with very hot or cold weather (or both), be sure to utilize some or all of these tips:

  • Open windows and use ceiling fans instead of air conditioning whenever possible.
  • Close the blinds to block out excess heat from the sun.
  • Regularly clean the air filters on your central air or individual air conditioning unit.
  • Avoid using heat-generating appliances (such as the dishwasher, oven or clothes dryer) during the warmest times of the day. This keeps your air conditioner from having to make up for the excess heat.
  • Use caulk, weather stripping and window coverings to keep your home from leaking heat or cool air.
  • Utilize a thermostat to automatically shut off heating or cooling devices when a certain temperature is reached.
  • Have your thermostat adjusted so that heating and cooling devices aren’t working as hard when you are not home or asleep.
  • If you rent, look for an apartment where the heat is included in the monthly rental fees. This eliminates the surprise of a high energy bill during certain times of the year.

In The Kitchen

Whether you love to cook or hate it, there’s no avoiding the kitchen day in and day out. Even if you don’t use appliances like the oven or the stove very often, odds are you’re still using other things like a refrigerator, a toaster or a microwave. The following are tips for cutting back on energy use in the kitchen:

  • Set your refrigerator temperature to 38 to 42 degrees Fahrenheit and your freezer to 0 to 5 degrees. This will keep your food fresh without overcooling any area of the appliance. In addition, make sure your fridge doors seal tight and make use of a power-save switch if you have one.
  • Instead of opening your oven door to check on your food, flip on the interior light instead. Make sure your oven door seals tight.
  • For smaller items, use a microwave to heat instead of an oven.
  • Only run the dishwasher when you have a full load and limit your use of longer cycles for very dirty dishes. Air-drying the dishes will also save energy.

Adjust Your Bill

Last but not least, one of the best ways you can lower your spending on energy use is to contact your energy provider directly. Unfortunately, some consumers won’t be able to do this because the electric industry is regulated in their area. However, many people can still enjoy some of these money-saving options:

  • Get a lower rate for the year by asking your company to set you up on a fixed-bill plan. This typically gives you a premium rate per kilowatt hour and ensures that your bill comes to the same amount each month, regardless of energy use. That doesn’t mean you should use as much energy as you want though. If you go way over the average use for your home, you could get a big bill at the end of the year.
  • Shop around for different suppliers. You can often find deals by asking local energy suppliers about their rates and any special deals they are offering for new customers. Just make sure you won’t be penalized by your current supplier for switching before your contract is up.

Saving on energy consumption is actually quite easy when you utilize the steps above. Many of these tips don’t require any upfront investment, and the savings you’ll see on your energy bill each month will quickly start to add up.

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