Tag Archives: save on home energy bill

How to Save Money on Electricity – Six Easy Tips

October 28, 2011

How to Save Money on Electricity

Looking at the electric bill at the end of the month can be quite a shock, particularly during seasons of extreme temperatures.  Luckily, if you follow these tips on how to save money on electricity, you can significantly cut that bill. Plus, by saving energy you will reduce your impact on the environment.

Turn off those lights!

Image credit: lemasney, Flickr.com

Tip #1 – Turn off the lights

It’s very easy to forget to turn off the lights, but remembering to do so can create big energy savings in the long run. If you are in a room that does not get much traffic such as the kitchen or bathroom be sure to turn off the lights whenever you leave the room. It may take some time to get used to doing this, but after awhile it will become second nature. If you are still having trouble remembering, consider installing lighting occupancy sensors. Worried that turning on and off the lights too quickly wastes electricity and wears out light bulbs? The MythBusters buststed that myth!

 Tip #2 – Check the energy savings settings on your computer and monitor

Using screen savers help save energy, right? Actually, not at all. It is much better to have your monitor automatically turn off after a certain period of time (I have mine set for 10 minutes).

You can save even more energy by letting your computer hibernate when it is inactive. Hibernation mode uses up virtually no energy and you do not have to go through the entire start-up process again. EnergyStar estimates that you can save up to $350 dollars over the life of your computer (4 years) by smartly managing the power settings on your computer.

Tip #3 – Make your dryer more efficient

When you move your clothes from the washer into the dryer, most people simply bunch them up together in a wet lump and toss those clothes into the dryer. However, if you untangle your clothes and separate them before you throw them in the dryer, they will be dried more efficiently and you will save money on electricity.

Tip #4 – Off-peak hours

Contact your electric company and see if they have off-peak hours. During off-peak hours, the cost of electricity is reduced. Electricity is generally less expensive late at night, early in the morning and on weekends, so it is cheaper to run the dishwasher and washing machines during these times. How much you will save will vary depending on your location, but here in Oregon off-peak rates are 66% less than of on-peak rates.

Every degree counts!

Image credit: Mick Wright, Flickr.com

Tips #5 – Check that thermostat 

Even a one degree change makes a big difference. Turning the thermostat down (or up during the summer) when you are out of the house will help you save money on electricity without sacrificing comfort. By following EnergyStar guidelines you can save $180 annually on your heating and cooling costs.

We hope you found these tips on how to save money on electricity helpful. You can realize big savings just by making small changes to your daily routine and habits. Are there any other methods that you use to save money on electricity?

Big Money Saving Tips For Winter

January 20, 2011

As we trudge through the murky, watery depths of winter here in the Pacific Northwest, we are made all too painfully aware of the increased living costs associated with the season.  Here are a few ways to save a buck or two, some of which you may have heard but bear repeating:

Clothing

  • Wear sweaters and warm socks indoors so  you can lower the thermostat temperature.
  • Buy for next year – hit up the end of season sales to save upwards of 50% off winter clothes for next year.
  • Did your child just have a growth spurt and grow out of their winter clothes? Take them into a consignment shop and get store credit for trading up. You get some money back on the old pair and obtain a new pair at already frugal prices.

Health- Eat healthy and be healthy!

  • Getting sick costs you money in increased healthcare costs and possible lost wages.  Load up on that vitamin C, and here in the Northwest where we get so little precious sunlight, Vitamin D.  And don’t forget the greens!
  • Use a humidifier – heated indoor air is constantly drying out leading to dried out sinuses, which can lead to illness.
  • Keep your air filters cleaned or replace regularly.
how to ski for cheap

She's smiling because she got her lift ticket for a 40% discount.

Activities

  • Are you a frequent skier/snowboarder? Save dough by taking advantage of reduced prices on season passes, frequent skier programs, locals-only pricing, late season ticket deals, student pricing, active military discounts, or join a ski/snowboard club
  • Check online:  liftopia.com, skicoupons.com, and thesnowjunkies.com specialize in deals on lift tickets. Also, check out craigslist.com for people reselling tickets they can’t use. You can always just search for: [your ski resort] + “coupon”.
  • Look local: check out coupon books like the Entertainment Book.  There are usually promos going on through local businesses. For example, a local car dealership was giving away a free lift ticket if you test drove this year’s model. A local Shell gas station was also offering a free lift ticket when purchasing 10+ gallons of gasoline.  Local ski shops often have some sort of deals to offer as well. Keep your eyeballs peeled for other local businesses with lift ticket offers. There are deals to be had!
  • Want winter sporting goods but not that serious? The used gear at second-hand sporting goods stores will do the job. Craigslist is also a great resource.
  • Tip: go during non-peak times, you’ll get better deals.

Home Energy Bill- Pretend that your indoor air is a hazmat zone and you can’t let the air escape.

There are entire websites (and businesses) dedicated to making your home more energy efficient and thus way more information than can be repeated in a single blog post. Don’t be afraid to investigate more.

  • Close up those heating vents and doors to any infrequently used rooms in your home. Likely candidates are studies, dens, basements, laundry rooms, and guest bedrooms.
  • Make sure your home is energy-proofed. Here’s a good place to start: http://www.energysavers.gov/tips/
  • Turn down your water heater by 10-20 degrees, you probably won’t notice the difference, but you will notice your bill drop.
  • Keep lots of warm throws handy for when you’re lounging about the house.
  • Take it to the next level. Hang sheer curtains over an open doorway to the hall keeps heat in the living room where you want it in the evening. Pressure rods are inexpensive and easy to remove and store until next winter.
  • Put plastic film over your windows and use curtains to trap in the heat. Windows are huge heat sinks. Keep the curtains open during the day to allow solar heating of your house.
  • Turn off vent fans – over your stove or in the bathroom – these just spew your heat outdoors.
  • Have a fireplace or woodstove? Close the vent! But take advantage of it as a heating source during the winter. It may be more cost effective depending on the cost of wood, pellets, etc. in  your area.
  • Want a DIY project? Make your own solar heater!
  • Patch the holes – make sure your attic and/or basement/crawl space is properly insulated, cracks are sealed, and holes are patched.
  • Make sure your heating units are operating at peak efficiency – get them checked, maintained, and cleaned. You can replace the air filter yourself (every 2-3 months).
  • Keep the thermostat as low as you can possibly stand. Gradually lower it over the course of a few weeks as your body gradually adjusts to the colder weather.
  • Leave the thermostat alone! Changing it up and down could cost you as much as 4% of your bill for every degree change. Try not to vary more than 5 degrees. Or better yet get a programmable thermostat to reduce your fiddling and maximize efficiency.
  • Bake …a lot – it serves as a psychological trick to make you feel warmer from the inside out and it also actually heats up your house (a little.)
  • Check and make sure all the heating ductwork and pipes in the basement are properly insulated to prevent heat loss. Leaky ductwork often accounts for 10-30% of your total heating and cooling costs.
  • Always fill up your oil and gas tanks before the cold weather hits as the costs of oil and gas are typically higher during winter due to a surge in demand.
  • Check the caulk and weather stripping around your doors, door sweeps, and windows. Install new caulk if they are not caulked or the caulk is old. Examine the door weather stripping and replace it if it is old or light can be seen seeping in-between the door and door jambs.