Wouldn’t it be nice if no utility bills arrived one moth? Although such a scenario is pure fantasy, lower your bills to an acceptable amount is highly plausible. In order to achieve this and save thousands of dollars annually, you have to know a few tips and tricks that will help you cut down on household spending. Most of these tips concern home improvements that will help you lower the operational costs of your house. Care to find out more about them?
A programmable thermostat
During the winter months, heat is the most precious energy resource in the house. The last thing you need is losing it through the walls, floors, and roof. Apart from solid insulation, you should also install a programmable thermostat that will help you regulate the amount of heat energy better.
For instance, we sleep better in colder rooms so there is no real reason for the heat to be on during the night. Program the thermostat to a lower temperature to preserve energy and then increase the temperature back up in the morning so you would wake up to a warm bedroom. Furthermore, if you are traveling away on holiday, you can use the thermostat to stuff off the heating completely.
Energy efficiency in appliances
You might have noticed the Energy Star logo on certain appliances in your household. It symbolizes the awareness of the manufacturer of that particular device took care of energy efficiency. There are hundreds of similar logos today that indicate that saving energy is important for any industry. From the TV set to the washing machine, modern appliances are made with energy efficiency in mind. If you have any old appliances, be sure to substitute them with their modern counterparts. This way, you will save both power and water (in washing machines), substantially lower your bills.
Caulking windows and doors
We already wrote about the surfaces you lose most energy through. However, the largest openings in walls are windows and doors. When improperly installed, they create a draft and let cold enter the house. In summer, they are at the core of the problem of an AC unit not being able to perform its main function. Because of all these reasons, you should check the windows for leaks and gaps and caulk them. This is a fairly simple DY fix that won’t make a dent in your home budget bit will save you hundreds of dollars in energy bills.
Do you have double glazed windows?
Having mentioned the windows as a weak spot in the house’s energy efficiency, we must ask the question of whether you have double glazed windows. Single windows are incomparably less efficient so installing double glazed windows should really be a top priority. Modern residential structures feature double glazed windows but older structures lack them. They are great for noise and temperature control and the best thing is that they cost somewhat less than commercial grade aluminum windows.
You are probably unaware of the pipe mileage a typical home has. A large portion of plumbing is actually hot water pipes that run the length of your house. They usually run under the house or along the basement walls, which are places not heated during winter. That’s why the temperature in the pipes themselves drops and you end up spending more energy than necessary. Insulating these pipes using fiberglass strips or more commonly, foam is the ideal solution to energy loss.
Producing, rather than consuming energy
Although a wind turbine or a solar panel on top of the house does come with a hefty price, renewable energy is perhaps the best way to lower your bills. The initial cost of the installation cost is remarkable but after a mere decade, you will start breaking even, and soon after, your household will actually be making money on energy, rather than paying for it. The only shortcoming of solar panels is the lack of proper storage because electricity is generated only during the sunny days. However, we can expect from storage technology to advance in the future, decreasing the installation of home renewable energy sources.
Apart from saving and even producing electricity, you can restrict your water usage in a useful manner. Reusing rainwater is a neat method to lower your bills the consumption of potable water because you would use rainwater to water the garden and the lawn. There are storage tanks and cisterns that are attached to the drainage system that harvests water after each rainfall. In addition, they act as mini-dams, preventing possible overflowing of drains, thus protecting the inside of the house from water damage.
Just like double glazed windows, we hope that by now all the lightbulbs in your house are LED ones. Replacing old incandescent light bulbs is a real must because they are as energy inefficient as a light source gets. They use 5% of the power they get for generating light, while the remaining 95% is wasted on heating up. LED technology is far more advanced and although they are more expensive to buy, they last longer and use far less power. If you want to replace all the old light bulbs in one go, then bulk buys LED light at the nearest DIY center.
The list of the home improvements we have listed here is by no means exhaustive. Once you get hooked to energy efficiency, you will discover new, ingenious methods to lower your monthly utility bills.
Sarah Jessica Smith is a young blogger from Sydney. She is in love with life and all the things that can make her daily routine easier. She loves to write about home improvement, lifestyle, and all the small things that make life such a great adventure.