Many people dread the time of the month that their power bill arrives. The power company always seems to charge too much for too little. Usually, people respond by turning off the air conditioner or the heater. They don’t often realize that it’s easy to cut down on your power bills without cutting down on your comfort. Often, lopping a huge chunk off your utility bills requires nothing more than to be alert to possible sources of waste.
Being alert in the summer
• Awnings used to be very popular 50 or 60 years ago – even on high-rise apartment complexes. These days, with air conditioning easily available, awnings have gone out of style. If you live in a warm place like Texas, you could easily cut down air conditioning power consumption in rooms that face the sun a large part of the day by shading every window with an awning. If you don’t like awnings, shutters can be a good idea, too (you should probably stay away from using blinds on your windows – they are a dust magnet and tend to be a maintenance nightmare)
• Green roofs are not a modern invention. People have been covering their roofs in vegetation for centuries – even sloped roofs. If the roofing on your house can support edge-to-edge the roof vegetation, you could get a great-looking roof, help the environment and significantly improve the energy efficiency of your home. Since leaves always have water evaporating out of them, the air around any vegetation remains cooler than the air in the surrounding environment. While you’re at it, you could look into covering your walls with vines and creepers, too. As long as you get the job professionally done, you shouldn’t have any trouble (poorly planned vine cover projects, for instance, attract plenty of rodents).
• If you live in Texas or another arid climate, you should consider getting an evaporative cooler instead of an air conditioner. It would save you $200 each year on your electricity bills.
• Finally, here is an unconventional idea – as far as possible, don’t cook indoors. If you can possibly manage it, you should build an outside summer kitchen in your backyard. You’ll keep a lot of your stove’s heat outside this way.
Being careful when it’s winter
• Your first step is to insulate your house as well as you can. Even if you live in a rented house, you could consider spending your own money to get the attic insulated. Attic insulation is cheap enough that you could conceivably make your money back in energy savings. Finding every drafty door, window and switch plate and sealing any sources of air leakage is important, too.
• Your next step would be to get a quality Energy Star-rated programmable thermostat. You could easily save $100 on your heating bills with one of these.
Finding a cheaper source of energy
One of the first things that you can do to save on your energy bills is to find out if you live in a state where you get to choose whom you buy your electricity from. In the Lone Star State, you only need to look up an energy provider on sites such as http://www.energyproviderstexas.com/texas-electric-company-rates/ for the cheapest utility and then painlessly switch power utility providers. Once you find the cheapest utility, it’s time to look indoors for more savings.
Finally, winters are when the holidays come around. While all the festive lighting can be cheerful to look at, conventional lights can waste immense amounts of energy. Consider getting LED holiday lights for holiday cheer that is sensitive to both the environment and your wallet.
Daniel Flynn is a money saving genius. He loves to write about how he saves money on family and consumer blogs.