Are you living on your own...?
...with no full-time job coz you are trying to make "your own thing" work?
So take this from me
With a shrinking budget you will quickly get tired of paying shockingly high electric bills.
Second, it will seem no matter what you do to cut down the cost, the expenses never seem to reduce.
But not to worry, I gotchu !
If you really want to cut on electric cost and save more money for other needs, then you have to spend a little time learning energy saving tips.
Here are 15 Quick Do-It-Yourself Hacks to Instantly Reduce Your Home Energy Bills.
A pinch of salt,if I may!
These tips are not held for rental spaces, apply them selectively depending on your "living arrangments."
Lets dive in...
20 Useful and Innovative Ways to Reduce Your Electric Bill
Tame 'Vampire Appliances' by Unplugging Power Codes
...your appliances don't have fangs or drink human blood.
Appliances that leech energy even when they are shut off are the modern day vampires, wasting power and increasing your electricity bills.
Whether your power bill is unpredictable month to month or its consistently higher than you would like, vampire power may be the culprit. Phantom energy-vampire power-is the electricity drawn from outlets when equipment is off but still plugged in.
Essentially every cord that remains plugged into an outlet is pulling energy out. And with many devices having sleep or standby modes they continuously use up electricity.
The connectivity of modern technology also contribute to phantom energy with devices leaking power. Even when turned off, appliances still receive a signal from the remote to power on at any time, meaning the equipment lie anticipating the next start-up.
Learn how to identify and manage phantom loaders in your home.Unplugging them may somewhat reduce your power cost. In a regular home, the hugest vampire power consumers would be...
- Cable Boxes
- Mobile phone chargers
- TVs and DVD players
- Computers and Displays
Smartly Save Using Power Strips
Happily, you don’t have to invest in the latest electronic wizardry to banish phantom power from your home. Regular power strips are usually lots cheaper and can also be really useful in reducing phantom power, as long as they have an on/off switch.
A power strip is essentially an extension cord with an on-off switch. Sometimes the switch has a small light and a circuit breaker or a fuse.
So how much do they save?
Probably not much, but there are some instances where they can reasonably save.
Crawling under furniture to reach power outlets is definitely not a very amusing prospect. Hence, even when you remember to unplug appliances, the hustle will make your shrug off any first-rate energy saving practice.
The convenience of one switch turning on and off multiple appliances makes lazy people-like me- do it more often rather than just leaving the appliance on. So its pretty much dependent on your behavior and your own personal circumstances.
Better still; unlike traditional power strips which are an affordable way to expand the number of electrical outlets in your home, invest in smart power strips which work to reduce your power usage by freely shutting down power to products that go into standby mode.
Hence smart power strips might be the difference between saving or spending an extra five to ten percent on household energy consumption.
Another Helpful Gadet:Electric-Usage-Monitor
While you might be measuring your household kWh use, it's as simple as comparing bills every month, which won't help you isolate devices or appliances that are killing your bill.
To get specifics regarding your energy usage, you only need one tool, really: an electricity usage monitor that tells you exactly how many kWh a particular device or appliance is drawing.
This way you can stay ahead of power hogs like refrigerators and HVAC systems as well as Vampire appliances like desktop computers which suck-up considerable juice while on stand-by.
The gadget is usually a simple plug load monitor that plugs into an outlet; then you plug the device or appliance into the monitor. Typically, an LED screen will indicate the isolated device consumption.
The best known and one of the simplest and least expensive electric usage monitor is Kill-A-Watt manufactured by P3 International.
It measures the energy used by devices plugged directly into the meter, as opposed to in-home energy use displays, which display the energy used by an entire household.
The LCD shows voltage; current; true, reactive, and apparent power; power factor; energy consumed in kWh; and hours connected. Some models display estimated cost.
More advanced versions not only monitor but can be set using programs to turn on and off to save electricity on your pre-set schedule.This is especially important with appliances like refrigerators which you set to do more in off-peak hours
Use Curtains and Drapes to Regulate Heat
Well-installed curtains and blinds can help to reduce heat loss through your windows, provided they are installed without gaps that allow air movement between the window and the room.
Curtains are fabric attachments that are sized to fit the window, while drapes reach all the way to the floor.
Open curtains and drapes during the day and close them just before it gets dark to allow your house to gain heat from the sun during the day, and better retain it overnight.
Ensure a good seal between the curtain and the window, to prevent cold air near the window from getting into the room.
During summer days, you should close draperies on windows receiving direct sunlight to prevent heat gain. Medium-colored draperies with white-plastic backings can reduce heat gains by up to 33 percent.
During cold weather, most conventional draperies can reduce heat loss from a warm room up to 10 percent. Therefore, in winter, you should close all draperies at night, as well as draperies that don't receive sunlight during the day.
To get the most of curtains and drapes consider thermal insulating curtains. Made of thick material such as cotton and polyester, these curtains provide insulation by preventing air from leaking through drafty windows, consequently reducing central heating and air conditioning need.
Thermal curtains differ from blackout curtains in that they feature a layer of acrylic form between the double or triple layer of fabric to keep maximum warm air in and cold air out.
Thermal curtains are ideal for winter months or when you have drafty windows.
Weatherize Drafty Windows
If you think winters are progressively getting colder or wondering why your friends are always nominating you to host Halloween, maybe its time to patch up your windows.
Lose rattling windows bare gaps and cracks that leak warm air out and colder air in particularly in the colder month. Hence you continually have to use central heating and air-con systems to keep your house warm or cool.
Noisy windows with the eerie feeling your mates seem to enjoy in fall will cost you a couple more dollar in Winter and Summer. Identify any loose patty, caulk or seals on windows and do quick fixes with basic hardware store material.
To inspect windows for drafts, hold a lit incense stick close to the window edges and look out for changes in the smoke. If there are air leaks the smoke will waiver and draw inwards.
You can also look out for visual evidence like moisture on the inside window frames and moving curtains or light sipping into the house even when windows are completely shut.
Outride Heavy Bills With Home Window Films
Install Window films to filter direct sunlight and reduce glare so air conditioners don’t have to work as hard to keep your home cool. They also eliminate hot spots and keep heat from escaping, so heaters run more efficiently in the winter.
Window film energy saving performance is based on the amount of visible and infrared light absorbed or reflected by the film.Too much absorption quickly heat up your home which increases your Air-Con costs
Most residential window films reduce around 55% of solar heat from entering the home. These products are designed to have a subtle appearance-lighter in color and less reflective than high-performance films-hence sacrifice performance for aesthetics.
Still, they save eminent amounts compared to untinted windows.
However there are no sure estimates of how much energy window film will save you. The compass orientation of the glass, the number, size and type of window are all factors that affect your bottom line energy savings.
You will notice little change by tinting North facing windows since you get little to no direct sunlight through them, hence films will do little to help save energy and cost.
If you tint windows that face south and get direct sunlight for most of the day, you will then quickly notice a significant difference in energy expenditure. Similarly, windows that face east or west will also exhibit high energy savings.
In instances where you are concerned about the appearance of window tints, consider spectrally-selective films which offer excellent heat rejection and energy savings with a virtually invisible appearance.
You can learn DIY window seal installation on Youtube, however, if you need peak results, consider contracting someone to do the installation.
Insulate Existing Walls with Spray Foam Insulation
Spray foam offers a solution: it performs as both insulation and an air sealant, or air barrier, closing those nooks and crannies that let air escape and add dollars to monthly energy bills.
It will prevent heated air-in winter-and cooled air-in summer-from being completely wasted through air leakage.
Most buildings, even newly built, don’t have adequate insulation. And very few have an air seal that prevents drafts and high energy bills. This is because builders saved money on materials and labor, which later cost you.
...definitely not great!
To bring down the cost, you need a tight air seal in your walls which, luckily, no longer involves tearing down your interiors walls. There is a quick-few- minute -fix which involves drilling easy to patch holes, filling the wall cavity with retrofit spray foam insulation and on to the next bay.
Insulating with spray foam is generally a small job which should not have to cost you by having a contractor come in. Instead of building up labor charges, it's more cost effective to make this your weekend DIY project.
If you should decide to do the insulation yourself, makers sell low-pressure spray form kit that kinda looks like propane tanks that you would normally use on a barbeque grill.
Whereas spray foam is great insulation, it's fairly demanding to apply; the kit instructions have to be followed exactly. In fact, study them before you buy your kit so you know what you're in for.
The foam is very sticky; you'll need to wear disposable coveralls with a hood, and gloves, a face mask, and eye protection. It also takes some practice to spray foam evenly and, because it expands so dramatically, to control its depth.
However, once the spray foam is installed and fully dry it should be perfectly safe.
Stops Cold Air Coming Through Electrical Outlets
Keeping out cold air entirely is daunting even in new houses with good insulation and windows. Chance are you could still notice cold drafts coming in through electrical outlets. Small air gaps around electrical boxes on the exterior walls and ceilings leak more air than you would ever imagine.
The leak could also be coming from holes in the top plates or sill plate where wiring and other mechanicals runs if they are not properly sealed. Always double check after insulators are done as its something inspectors don't always check closely.
Sealing is easy to do and you can complete the entire house in about four hours. The materials cost less than $25, one of the best investments you’ll ever make!
If you are sure your electrical outlets are the culprits, use spray foam to seal around the outside of electrical boxes, but not inside, which should be the easiest method.You can also use pre-cut form gaskets that go between faceplates and switch outlets.
Both of this products should be available in your local home improvement store.
For lights switches which have multiples, you can either run singles side by side or get form gasket material and cut it yourself.
However using fire-blocking caulk is ideally the best option. Ordinarily, spray foam burn too quickly opening the gap and creating a chimney effect that feeds the fire. Intumescent caulk or foam, on the other hand, swell when heated preventing proper airflow.
Use caulk on wall-mounted boxes. If the electrical boxes are not mounted flush with the drywall, add a box extender to make them easier to seal.Extenders are available at home improvement centers for single, round and multiple-gang boxes.
Use Laundry Appliances Optimally
A typical family of four in the U.S. averages 300 loads of laundry annually, even if you’re more of a laundry minimalist, perhaps doing only two loads a week, the reality is that washer energy usage is a big part of any household’s energy costs.
Only use your washing machines when you have full loads. Do your laundry once every week or every two weeks if you have enough clothes to last you that long. That way you will have fuller loads which you can do at once than doing two half loads each week.
If you must do a smaller load, be sure to choose the appropriate size setting on your washing machine. Too often, consumers select the highest setting and never change it.
The same goes for dryer energy usage. Dry only full loads and try to dry two or more loads in a row to take advantage of retained heat from the previous drying cycle.
In the warmer months opt to line dry your clothes which spares your energy bill an extra drying cycle.
And when you really need to use the drier in colder months, instead of setting your dryer for an exact amount of time, try the moisture sensor mode, which automatically ends the cycle as soon as the clothes are dry.
Another thing to consider is the time of day to do your laundry. Your washing machine will use the same amount of energy regardless of what time you run it. However, depending on your energy provider’s rates, you can often save on your energy bill by washing your clothes at different times of the day.
Visit your energy provider’s website to get exact rates for on-peak and off-peak times. Many energy companies charge extra for electricity during their peak hours, which see increased energy usage.
During the summer, run your washer early in the morning coz energy use peaks on hot afternoons. Winter weather drives demand for power earlier in the morning, so wash your clothes late at night.
Use cold water for most laundry loads, and always use cold water for the rinse cycle.
You May Need to Ditch Old-Rugged Fridge
Most appliances have made a lot of energy-saving leaps over the years, so you're in the right to consider replacing some of them. In fact, some smaller appliances, like old vacuum cleaners, put more dust into the air than new ones as well as being less efficient.
When you don't necessarily have to buy ENERGY STAR rated appliances some of your devices and appliances are clearly an upgrade overdue.
Refrigerators are a big chunk of home energy consumer being the second-largest at 13 Percent, right after the air conditioner at14 Percent. Question is "Should you replace your fridge?"... and the answer is a resounding yes.
If your fridge was made before 2001-which I highly doubt-, you should almost certainly trade it in. Older fridges are wildly inefficient. The best modern models use less than half of what 1993-2000 fridges used.
For older fridges it's even more striking: replacing a 1992 fridge -As if anyone would have it!- with a modern Energy Star model could save $1400 in electricity costs over the useful life of the fridge.
Point is if you've got an old fridge, yes, trade it in. You might even be able to get a state rebate for buying an energy-efficient fridge.
If your fridge was made 2001 or later, it's a tougher call. Trading in a 2001+ model for a new Energy Star model might save around $20/yr. in energy costs, or $280 over its useful life. That's certainly not as much as it would cost you to buy a new fridge.
On the other hand, you're going to have to replace your fridge sooner or later anyway, since the average useful life is only around 14 years. So the question isn't really, "Should I replace my fridge?", but rather, "Should I replace it now or later?"
Switch to LED Lights Now; Use Natural Light During The Day
Led lights are the most efficient lighting solutions out today. Quality LED light bulbs are more energy efficient, durable and offer a better and larger light spectrum than other bulbs.
Residential LEDs, especially Energy Star rated products use at least 75 percent less energy, and last 25 times longer, than incandescent lighting.Led bulbs use 2-17 watts of electricity which is at most a third of what incandescent and CFL bulbs consume.
Equally LED bulbs don't heat up but remain cool all along, while 90 percent of the heat produced by incandescent bulbs is lost in the thin air with only 10 percent used to light up your space.
Given the statistics replacing older incandescents with LEDs will not only save the cost of paying for the wasted 90 percent but also the amount spend to dissipate the extra heat by running the air-con systems.
During the day use natural light which surprisingly is better for your sight. Make maximum use of your window no matter how few. Use your lamp and accent lights at night instead of your overhead ambients light if you don't have huge lighting needs.
Finally, get into the good habit of turning off lights you are not using. Turn off lights in rooms you are not in and only turn them on when you need to be in the room. If you have a little extra cash, consider investing in motion sensing activated light switches. These way lights naturally come on when you enter the room and off when you leave.
Use motion activated light switches for entryways, patios, bathrooms, etc. One thing to note here if you're using CFL's: some CFL's may not work with these type of switches. Look for dimmable brands which tend to work with most circuitry found in auto-switching controls.
Get the jump on With Short-Cool Showers
Considering water heating account for 12 percent of your utility bill; second only to space heating and cooling, you need to know how to heat water more efficiently if you must.
Whereas not everyone can afford to buy new, more efficient water heaters, look out for tips and tricks to bring down your showering cost.
A warm bath is a nice luxury, but for daily bathing stick with a short shower.A long hot shower may use more hot water than a bath, but even a bath that's barely full will is unnecessarily wasteful.You can even try turning off the water when lathering, shampooing or shaving.
Gradually try to reduce your showering time. When it's too cold that you feel the need to spend more time under the dripping warmth, be sure the bathroom door is tightly closed to keep the warm air inside.
Also turn down the setting on your electric hot water heater to 120ºF, which you will most likely not notice, but for every for every 10ºF reduction in temperature, you will save between 3–5 percent on your water heating costs.
When you have a little more cash install a thermostatic shut off valve.These type of installation lets the water run until it reaches a certain temperature, and then it stops the flow until you re-open the valve.
Thermostatic shut off valve automatically fixes the behavioral waste from showering without any inconvenience to you. You still get in a shower with hot water, and all you have to do is reopen the valve when need be as opposed to keeping the heater continually open and running.
Change Your Air Filter Oftenly
Studies have shown that dirty filters on the return air grille of your heating and cooling systems greatly reduce the efficiency of your system, wasting energy as well as your money.
Changing your filter once every three months is one of the simplest and most important preventative maintenance practices you can do for your Heating, ventilation and air-con system. It will prolong the lifespan of the furnace, as well as help with the efficiency of the unit which helps lower your cooling bills.
Also check your filter every month, especially during heavy use months in winter and summer. If the filter looks dirty after a month, change it. A dirty filter will slow down air flow and make the system work harder to keep you warm or cool. A clean filter will prevent dust and dirt from building up in the system leading to expensive maintenance and early system failure.
Save By Adjusting Your Thermosats
While some of the best energy saving tactics don't require any sacrifice, like turning off lights you are not using, let's face it, lighting can never account for the bulk of your energy needs.
You know what does?
Space heating and cooling!
Hence you can save as much as ten percent on your HVAC system bill by simply turning your thermostat back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting.
Its estimated you save one percent of your heating and cooling cost for each degree of thermostat adjustment every 8hours.
During colder months in Winter try keeping your thermostat at 68°F during the day when you are awake and set it 10° lower when you sleep or away from home.
When its warm in summer aim to keep your thermostat set at 78°F and push it up to 85°F when no one is home. This should save an average of $83 per year from heating and cooling cost.
Also don't turn your systems completely off. If you are leaving the house, it easy to think that turning systems off will save more, however, it makes your systems work harder when turned back on which cost more instead.
Let's say in the morning when you leave the house is at 72°, you turn it off and leave for work and when you come in the evening the house is at 82°. That's an extra 10° your AC has to run trying to cool off over the initial start-up cost.
So it's actually better to turn your air up or turn it down when you leave rather than turning it off. Unless you are turning off the AC for extended periods, for purposes of a few hours a day, turn it down 4°-5°. This way the air will remain regulated with no accumulated heat and cold to dissipate afterward.
Dialing your thermostat up and down can be tedious, so if you’re serious about making every degree count, consider upgrading your thermostat model.
A programmable thermostat may be all you need if you stick to regular routines. With programmable thermostats, you can adjust the times you turn on the heating or air-conditioning according to a pre-set schedule.
Programmable thermostats can store and repeat multiple daily settings that you can manually override without affecting the rest of the daily or weekly program.
But if you really want to go high-tech, get a smart thermostat. Which is honestly a lot like a programmable thermostat just that it does connects to the internet and can be remotely controlled from other interconnected devices like smartphones.
Invest in ENERGY STAR Rated Appliances
Every appliance comes with two price tags: the purchase price and the cost of operating the product. ENERGY STAR certified appliances help consumers save money on operating costs by reducing energy use without sacrificing performance.
When you shop for a new appliance, look for the ENERGY STAR® label. ENERGY STAR products usually exceed minimum federal standards by a substantial amount. This way you get to tame hog appliances such as refrigerators which need a 20 percent savings over the minimum standard and dishwashers which need at least 41 percent savings.
To help you figure out whether an appliance is energy efficient, the federal government requires most appliances to display the bright yellow and black EnergyGuide label.
Although these labels will not show you which appliance is the most efficient on the market, they will show you the annual energy consumption and operating cost for each appliance so you can compare them yourself.
And as always there is a smart alternative to almost everything now. Smart appliances can be connected to smart electric meters or home energy management systems to help you shift your electricity use to off-peak hours.
Smart appliances don't just turn off during times of peak electricity demand but instead, they use subtle ways to shift energy use. For instance, your refrigerator might delay its defrost cycle until the middle of the night. Hence if your power provider charges lower rates for electricity at night, also called time-based rates, you could save on your energy bill.
So next time you need to buy appliances go for ENERGY STAR products or better still Smart appliances.