If you're a homeowner, you likely feel a bit frustrated during the winter and summer months, when your energy usage goes up and you utility bills jump to higher levels. You likely also are concerned about reducing your energy usage overall and doing your part to contribute to a more sustainable lifestyle. Fortunately, there are lots of ways that you can reduce the amount of water, electricity and gas that your household consumes.
Below are six ways that you can save money on your monthly utility bills and make your home more energy efficient.
1. Raise Or Lower Your Thermostat
Lowering your thermostat in the winter or raising it in the summer by just 10 degrees can save you up to 10% on your energy usage. That can be a substantial savings in a large home with centralized heating and cooling.
But you'll still want to be comfortable, of course, so just dress for the occasion. Everyone loves a good hoodie, but is it really necessary to wear warm clothing in the summertime? Dress for warm weather during the summer months and save that hoodie for winter to keep your comfort at a good level while saving money on your electric and gas bills.
2. Install Energy-Efficient Appliances
Most of the energy usage in your home comes from the major appliances in your kitchen and washroom. You probably love your old washing machine, but if it's 20 years old, it probably sucks electricity like you wouldn't believe.
By upgrading your major appliances to Energy-Star appliances, you can reduce your energy footprint significantly and save big bucks every month on your electric bill. Many washers today also use less water than their predecessors, which gives you a powerful one-two punch for knocking out those utility bills.
3. Upgrade Your Air Conditioning Unit
During the hot summer months, the bulk of your electric bill can be blamed on your AC system, especially if you have central air. As ACs get older, they tend to become less efficient simply due to extended usage and normal wear and tear, which means that the motor has to work much harder just to provide the same level of cooling to your home.
If that is the case in for you, then you might want to get a new air conditioner. Many units today are more efficient than the ones designed in the past, and you'll likely see and feel the difference immediately – both in your home and on your bill.
4. Put In Low-Flow Shower Heads And Dual-Flush Toilets
A very simple way to make your home more efficient is to install plumbing fixtures that use less water. Low-flow shower heads and faucets can reduce your water use by
5. Convert Your Yard To Desert Landscaping
Due to the extensive drought conditions the Southwest, many communities there are trading in their lush lawns and gardens for desert landscaping which drastically reduces their water usage. Desert landscaping can include everything from planting cactus and other dry-climate plants to removing all ground vegetation completely and putting in rock gardens and sculptures that look like plants and trees but are actually made of metal, stone and other inorganic materials.
6. Insulate Doors And Windows
Doors and windows tend to leak a lot of air during the hottest and coldest months of the year. Can you feel cold air coming into your home under the front and back doors during those cold winter months? Do certain windows tend to heat up like crazy during the summer? If so, you may have problems with the insulation gaps that are letting air come through.
Use a draft blocker at the base of your door to prevent cold air from leaking out during the summer or from pushing its way in during the winter. For the windows, you can use draft blockers or re-caulk the frames if they are leaking air. If they're just getting a lot of sunshine and are constantly hot, you can try adding a layer of tint to reduce the sun's heat or hang some thick drapes to block that sunshine out entirely.