Even in times of economic distress, it seems like your monthly bills only increase. They certainly don’t go down. And even though we’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel where the recession is concerned, still there are a lot of people, like yourself, that are looking for ways to lower their monthly energy bill. Of course, you might also have something of a green streak, in which case cutting your energy consumption serves a dual purpose. But for the majority of responsible adults, the prospect of lowering a utility and having a little more disposable income on hand is a boon in and of itself. And if your home energy bills are through the roof at the moment, here are just a few strategies you can implement to reduce them.
- Energy audit. Cutting your energy usage starts with understanding where waste is occurring, and hiring a professional home energy auditor can clue you in. Simply call your power provider – they can either do the audit for your or recommend a reputable third party, in most cases. And once you’ve got the report in hand you can start to beef up your insulation, add weather stripping to doors and windows, seal up vents and ductwork, and basically make your home tight as a drum so that less energy is leaking out around the seams (generally in the form of heated or cooled air).
- Energy Star. If you haven’t taken the time to address the many electronics in your home that are drawing maximum electricity, it’s time to check in with EnergyStar.gov in order to find out what you can replace with energy-saving products. For example, they offer a wide range of approved appliances, as you may already be aware, but they can also clue you in to electronics like computers and monitors that can help to cut your energy draw. And they even have solutions for other areas of your home, such as lighting, windows, roofing, HVAC, and more. If you don’t know what you’re looking for when it comes to reducing energy consumption, this is a good resource to start with.
- Programmable thermostat. Whether the summer sun is heating up your home or you have to contend with cold winter weather, you may fluctuate annually between cranking up the dial on your furnace and AC unit. But there is a better way to control the temperature in your home. A digital thermostat can not only offer more accurate readings, but if you install a programmable version you can set the system to work hard only when you’re there to enjoy the money you’re spending on air.
- Energy film. If you’re looking for ways to beat the summer heat, there are few more affordable options than energy film, which can easily be applied to (or removed from) windows. It cuts back on over 80% of heat-producing solar rays, helping you to manage your indoor temperature. And it’s a lot less expensive than replacing your AC unit with a more efficient model (although this is also an option to consider).
- Solar panels. You might balk at the price of solar panels, what with the upfront costs of the products themselves, not to mention proper installation and long-term maintenance. But there are several companies now offering affordable solar options. For example, you could get your array installed for no upfront cost. All you have to do is pay off your tab over the course of, say, 20 years. In the meantime you’ll get your energy free (supposing sunlight is prevalent in your area), so you’ll basically swap your monthly utility bill for a “loan” payment. When you pay it off you’ll have free power. And the set cost of your solar panel payments may amount to less than your average energy bill.