Can Using a Little Less and Increasing Efficiency Really Make a Difference?
Energy prices are soaring and for those with little disposable income, paying the bills can be a major worry, especially approaching the colder winter months when cookers, TVs, lights and heating are used far more. But home energy use doesn’t need to be a source of panic. There are plenty of easy ways to slash those unwelcome energy costs.
There are two basic categories when it comes to energy related money saving; use less, or use it more efficiently. Of course, a combination of the two would be ideal. What puts many people off using less is that they don’t believe it can make much of a difference, and some households shy away from making their homes more energy efficient because of large upfront costs and complexity.
The great thing about these tips is that they’re easy to follow, they’re inexpensive to implement and, best of all, they’ll make a huge difference to your annual energy bills!
Weather-Proof Your Home
If your window frames are old and loose, or your door frame has cracks, you’re going to be wasting a whole load of energy in two ways; you’re going to need more heating to counteract the cold air coming in, and you’re going to lose a lot of warm air through the cracks.
Heating accounts for around 45% of all energy bills, so it makes sense to tackle this first. Sealing leaks needn’t be expensive; some standard duct tape from any hardware store will do the job, or some silicone sealant. Larger gaps can be filled with cardboard or drywall mud first.
Annual Savings: Around 350 dollars if done correctly.
Insulate Your Attic
Insulating your attic yourself rather than paying for a contractor may save you money, but the majority of people who take this task upon themselves don’t do it correctly. They end up paying for materials and seeing absolutely no change in their energy usage or bills. The golden rule is that if you can still see floor joists, you don’t have enough insulation.
Blanket-type insulation is the easiest to install, and can be purchased from hardware stores for about 30 dollars for a 25 foot long roll. Some households may be eligible for help towards the cost as there a number of government funded programs designed to help low income families and the elderly, such as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
Annual Savings: Up to a whopping 600 dollars!
Use the Microwave
Microwaves (and pressure cookers, too) use up only half the energy of a standard electric or gas cooker. They also have the added advantage that, in the summer, they don’t heat your kitchen, meaning you’re less likely to turn the AC unit on. If you don’t have a microwave, it may be worth picking one up. It needn’t be expensive, basic machines can be purchased for less than 50 dollars.
If you absolutely must use a conventional oven, try not to open the cooker door unnecessarily during cooking. It’s always tempting to have a sneak peak at that cake you’re baking, but each time you open that door you’re losing about 50 degrees of heat, and the oven is then going to use more energy getting back up to optimal temperature.
Annual Savings: About 55 dollars based on 1 hours cooker usage per day.
Encourage Natural Light
It may seem impossible in the dark winter months to properly utilize natural sunlight, but even just a small reduction in artificial light can make a huge difference. If you have darkly painted rooms, splash on a lighter colour that will reflect natural light more. Also invest in a pair of curtain tie backs to open up as much of the window as possible.
When using artificial light, swap your traditional light bulbs for energy saving bulbs which use less than 75% of the energy and produce 75% less heat. Turn lights off when they’re not being used, clean bulbs regularly to maintain adequate output and remove bulbs from areas with little foot traffic or furniture.
Annual Savings: Roughly 6 dollars, but if every American household swapped just one of their bulbs for an energy saving alternative, the US could reduce its greenhouse emissions by 9 billion lbs!
Article written by Agnese Geka – Blogger and Online Marketing Executive for SurveyCompare.net – paid online survey guide bringing together well known and trusted market research companies in free online service.
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