Winter has finally arrived, and in many parts of the country it has been brutal. Energy bills in bitter cold temperatures can skyrocket, but in even the coldest time of the year, it is still possible to save energy.
These small steps could shave as much as 40% off your home energy expenses this year without sacrificing any quality of life.
Turn the thermostat down to 55 or 60 degrees and use an electric space heater when everyone is gathered in one room. Oil-filled radiant heaters do an excellent job of heating a large room, are safe and sell for less than $30. Saves 10 – 30% if done on a regular basis.
Set your water heater to 120 degrees and wrap it in an insulated blanket. Saves 5 – 10%.
Install a low-flow shower head. Could save as much as $150/year.
Replace your refrigerator if it is more than 15 years old. Avoid models with thru-the-door ice and water dispensers as they detract from energy efficiency. Saves about $80/year.
Set your refrigerator’s temp between 30°F – 40°F and the freezer between 0°F and 10°F. Colder temperatures increase electric bills without significantly improving food freshness.
Replace you dryer’s flexible plastic vent ducting material with a 4″ rigid (not corrugated) metal duct. This creates less airflow resistance and allows your dryer to dry more efficiently. Save $10-40/year.
Clean lint from your dryers lint trap before every load. Use 50% less energy. Better yet, weather permitting, hang clothes outside to dry. Small loads can also be hung inside on a drying rack. Save 100% on your dryer’s energy usage.
Use name-brand LED bulbs. Store brands or no-name brands might be cheaper but they don’t last as long. Depending on how many lights you have, savings could be significant. They cost more than the typical CFL bulb, but they last 8-10 times longer. Under normal conditions and with normal use, an LED bulb can last 11 years or more.