Low cost and no cost ways to save
In an ideal world everyone would go out and buy all new ENERGY STAR appliances, add insulation to their attics, and install the newest generation of smart thermostats. Yes, this would save people lots of money on their electric bills. But for most of our customers, that’s just not an affordable option in the short term.
The good news is that there are many ways to save money on your electric bills that cost little or nothing. They simply require changes in behaviors and habits.
You may know that heating and cooling your home are the biggest energy users – accounting for nearly half of the energy consumed in a home. Turning the thermostat up a few degrees in the summer and down a few degrees in the winter are quick, easy and free ways to save a significant amount of money. In the winter, you can save 5 to 15 percent a year on your heating bill — a savings of as much as 1 percent for each degree if the setback period is eight hours long.
If you have a ceiling fan, making sure it spins in the correct direction matters. When it’s hot outside, the fan should spin counter-clockwise to push the air in the room down, creating the wind chill effect that makes you feel cooler. When it’s cold outside, spin the fans clockwise at a low speed to push the room air upward. This will better circulate the heat throughout the room.
Your hot water heater is often the second largest consumer of energy in your home. Turn it down to 120 degrees and put it on a timer so that it’s not heating water while you are sleeping. If you want to take an extra step (and save wear and tear on your clothing), wash your clothes in cold water, and then hang them up to dry outside.
Although LED light bulbs are considerably more expensive than standard bulbs, according to expert Michael Bluejay, a.k.a. “Mr. Electricity,” replacing 10, 60-watt conventional light bulbs with energy efficient ones, you can save $123 per year. Even better: turn off the lights when you leave the room.
Be aware that there are “vampire” devices quietly draining electricity from your home and taking money from your wallet. A vampire device is one that, if left plugged in, draws electricity even when turned “off.” Game consoles, computers, TVs and cable TV boxes are among the top offending devices that draw electricity when not in use.
Individually, a single device drawing standby power is not going to break the bank. A typical American home has 40 products constantly drawing power. Together, these can amount to 10 percent of a resident’s electricity use.
There is a simple way to keep some of this wasted vampire energy at bay: use a power strip. Plug your devices into the strip, and when not using them, flip the switch to the “off” position. New smart, or “advanced,” power strips automatically power down computers and other electronics when they are not in use. It takes a trip to the store and a change in habits, but the little things can add up.
A USA Today article entitled 20 ways Americans are blowing their money listed daily trips to coffee shops and premium cable channels as a couple of the top money wasters. However, the article says, the #1 way Americans are blowing their money is wasting energy.
Please share your ideas on low or no cost ways to save on energy bills. Let’s learn from each other. By changing a few of our behaviors and habits, we will have plenty of money left over for that daily trip to the coffee shop.
Vice President-Customer Operations