January 10th is National Cut Your Energy Costs Day. It’s still early to tell for 2023, but some are projecting that energy costs will decrease by as much as 11%, while others believe that energy costs will continue to rise. We can take matters into our own hands and make small changes to help lower our energy bills.
Weatherizing your home
- Purchase window insulation kits to help prevent drafts and keep heat inside your home. You can find kits for around $10-$30 at hardware stores and general stores like Target, Meijer, Walmart, etc.
- Change your furnace’s air filter to make sure it’s working at its best capacity.
- Make sure your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) unit is regularly cleaned.
- In the market for a new appliance, or even just new lightbulbs? Check out Energy Star’s website to find products that are energy efficient.
- Make the upgrade to LED lightbulbs.
- If possible, switch to a programmable thermostat.
- They make showerheads that are energy efficient and low flow/use less water. See if it’s worth making the change.
- See if you can schedule a free energy audit. The following utility companies offer this service:
- Click here for information about what to expect and how to prepare for an energy audit.
- Turn off lights and other devices (e.g., TVs) in rooms you’re not using.
- Don’t leave devices on standby (e.g., computers, charging cables) if they’re plugged into the wall.
- Take it a step further and unplug devices you’re not using. This is called “vampire power” because the electronics are still leeching electricity even when they’re turned off. An easy way to do this is to purchase surge protectors/power strips that you can just switch off instead of having to unplug everything manually.
- Check with your utility company to see if they offer discounts for using energy at off-peak times when fewer people are using energy.
Easier said than done
- See if you can consolidate laundry so you’re only washing when you have a full load of dirty clothes and cutting down on the times you run the washer and dryer. Also, wash in cold water whenever possible.
- Take shorter showers so you use less water over time.
- Turn your thermostat down a degree or two so it lowers energy consumption but (hopefully) won’t feel as drastic for you.
- Instead of reaching for the thermostat, put on a warm layer such as a hat or a sweater and see if that helps.