If you thought you were imaging those high electric bills, think again. The price of electricity has been on the rise and is expected to continue climbing around the country. Our electricity supply has been stretched thin due to an increased demand and higher stress upon the electrical grid from more people, and from weather events like the so-called polar-vortex. Now is the time for consumers to really jump on the green movement bandwagon and start conserving. The good news is that conserving electricity is something most homeowners can do quite easily. Here are some tips on how to save money on electricity right now.
Paint the Roof White
It might sound silly, but a study nearly two decades ago found that buildings with their roofs painted white used around 40 percent less energy than others. Grab yourself an inexpensive white elastomeric paint from the hardware store and start painting.
Seal Windows and Doors
If your windows and doors aren’t properly sealed, you’re wasting a lot of money in heating and cooling costs. Pick up some weather stripping at the hardware store and make sure to check around windows, door frames, and holes in walls where the pipes enter.
Invest in Energy-Efficient Appliances
According to Amigo Energy, a provider of the best electricity rates in Houston, replacing large appliances like refrigerators and laundry machines will help you save big in the long term. Check to see if there are any financial incentives being offered by your state or local government, or by your utility company, as they often are looking to encourage more energy-efficient models.
Use a Programmable Thermostat
Programmable thermostats and smart thermostats can help you save by automatically adjusting your energy usage while you’re at work, sleeping, or on vacation. They can save you between 10 to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs on a monthly basis.
Electronics are constantly pulling energy from the plug while they are plugged in, regardless of whether they are in use or not. The standby power or ‘phantom electricity’ is estimated to account for up to 15 percent of usage. Big culprits are electronics like laptop computers, DVRs, and satellite or cable boxes. Start unplugging electronics when they’re not in use. To make it easier, try plugging everything into a power strip so you only have one button to push.
Heat can move through windows, and you can save a little bit by opening the curtains in the day to let the sun in and closing them at night during the winter months. During summer months, leave them closed to trap the cool air in.
Keep HVAC System Clean
Dirty air conditioners and electrical heating systems can be horrendously ineffective. Cleaning them once a month and keeping filters changed will make them more efficient and keep them running longer.
Replace Regular Bulbs with CFLs
If you haven’t done this already, now is the time. Compact fluorescent lightbulbs last up to ten time longer than regular bulbs while providing the same amount of light.
Everyone forgets to turn off the lights now and then, but it can help to do nightly energy sweeps around the house. Go through the house and make sure that unnecessary appliances or electronics are unplugged, and that fans are off and the lights are out.
Set the Water Heater
It costs literally hundreds of dollars to keep the water heater at 140 degrees rather than setting it to a lower temperature of 120 degrees. Turn the heat down, and if your machine is older than seven years, insulate it with a blanket.
This article was contributed on behalf of Amigo Energy, a provider of electric services in Houston, TX. Check out their website and see how they can help you!