A good way to cut down on your spending is to gradually target different expenditures. Lowering your energy bill is a nice option — not only is it a monthly expenditure, but you can also do some good for the environment while saving money. Here are some suggestions for reducing your electricity usage and costs:
- Unplug when not in use. Even when they're not in use, your electronics can still eat up electricity as long as they're plugged in — yes, even chargers that aren't connected to anything. There are many items we don't think about unplugging, including microwaves, digital picture frames, and more. Even though the power lost by these "vampire" electronics may not be much, everything adds up.
- Use a power strip. Get a power strip and try to plug as many electronics as you can into it. That way, it won't be as arduous to individually shut off or unplug each appliance. You can turn them all off with one flick of the switch or unplug the power strip from its outlet to completely stonewall the "vampire" electronics.
- Energy audit. An energy audit may be helpful in figuring out the problem areas in your home that you may be unaware of. The auditor will help advise you on how you can reduce energy consumption and how to ramp up efficiency when heating and cooling houses.
- Replace your bulbs. Replace your lightbulbs with energy-efficient ones to save energy and money. An energy-efficient bulb uses 75 percent less energy than a traditional incandescent bulb and lasts six times longer.
- Seal your leaks. Your home may not be properly insulated, which means you might be losing a lot of energy through the leaks. Cool air from outside can be sneaking into your home, causing you to turn up the heat.
- Wash clothes smartly. Opt for the cold-water setting when doing laundry to save money and energy. Ninety percent of the energy used in the washer goes to heat up the water, so by skipping the hot water, you'll be saving a lot of energy. Remember not to overload it or put in too much detergent — it can make your machine work harder than it needs to.
- Dry your clothes the right way. Hang your clothes to dry whenever you can, instead of throwing them in the dryer. When you do use your dryer, run full loads and use the moisture-sensing setting. Also, make sure you always clean the lint filter after use so the machine runs efficiently. Every six months, take the trap out and wash it with soap and water. While your clothes are drying, the lint in the trap hampers the flow of air in the heated dryer. This makes your dryer work harder and expend more energy than it needs to.
- Load your dishwasher. Only run your dishwasher when it is fully loaded, and instead of drying your plates in the machine cycle, consider turning it off and air-drying the dishes instead. But just like with your washing and drying machines, make sure you're not overloading it or you'll be overworking it.
- Clean your machines. Clean your refrigerator coils to keep it running efficiently. You should do it twice a year, and doing so can cut six percent of your energy bill. All you need to do is vacuum the coils, but read these instructions before proceeding. Clean or replace the filter in your air conditioner because a dirty one can take up five to 15 percent more electricity than a clean one.
Get a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat is a good investment because you're able to save energy by programming it to control the heating and cooling when you're away from home or asleep. There are programmable thermostats for about $35.
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