My sister and myself decided to start taking turns paying the energy bills at home. We should have picked a better season to start doing so as November and December were on opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of usage. Even though it was not as cold in November as normal, we ended up spending more than we expected.
Seeing as I call myself a personal finance blogger, I knew that cutting costs on energy bills is an easy way to save money and keep the bills within my budget. Finding ways to save money is pretty addictive actually, and energy costs are just another project to tackle. I like to think of it like shopping.
The monthly rates normally dependent on the household habits. We are a techie family, and we use various devices at all times. Now I know every household appliance uses energy when plugged in, yet, it seemed that we were too lazy to unplug appliance when they were not in use. 3 laptops, desktops, various cellphones, tablets, along with the usual appliances were always left on when there was no need for it. We also need new windows, and our thermostat was an older, not programmable, model.
First thing was start unplugging those. After all, the goal was to save money on energy bills.
Then I discovered devices that you can purchase that automatically cut the power to the dormant devices. After researching a few, I found 2 that fit our household usage patterns. Its funny that how conscious of your behaviours you get when you start paying attention to the rising energy costs.
Our fridge, stove, washer and dryer are all Energy Star appliances so we didn’t have much to do there, altho I am considering dying lighter articles of clothing in the basement. My mom likes drying clothes on the drying rack outside in the summer and the saves money, too.
I also changed out most the bulbs to CFL bulbs. I don’t think I am going to see a huge amount of savings from this right away, but I like the brightness of the new bulbs and I know that they will last a really long time. Burnt out light bulbs is one of my biggest pet peeves.
The biggest catalyst to saving money was finishing up the caulking around the windowsills. The draft from the living window disappeared completely. This involved a very long and informative trip to the hardware store. The people at Home Depot were lovely, and helpful. Especially when you look extremely confused standing in the caulking isle for 20 mins. In the end, I learned enough to be able to explain it to others. FYI: Caulk and sealant are the same thing and the terms can be used interchangeably. (This, and the flashy labels, can confuse you in the store). They are both prone to failure. There are three types of caulk failure: adhesive, cohesive, and substrate. Basically, the bond between the caulk and the substrate can fail, the caulk itself can tear, or the substrate can break. However, problems with caulked joints are commonly due to one of two errors. Either the substrate was not mixed well, or you picked wrong flashy product. Therefore, it is imperative to make sure you know how it will be used. Also, when in doubt, ask.
As a result of the reduced draft, we were able to lower the thermostat. I also picked up a programmable thermostat to effectively monitor and adjust the tempreture during the daytime hours when no one is home. You really should look into getting one and you use this Home Depot promotion code for 10% off Right now, I have programmed it to turn off at 9 am and turn back on at 4:30. Yes, it is slightly cold when we first get home, but we own and wear sweaters and socks, the house back up to normal. I never understood people who wear tank-tops in the winter at home. I also played around with the water heater setting by 2 degrees celsius this month. Lets see if that is noticeable to anyone else at home.
I am extremely happy to see that my small investments saved us quite a bit of money right away, but I am still researching different ways to make the rates lower, and am really looking at helping put in new windows this summer.
I’m sure that there tons of other ways to save money on energy bills that I missed. What are some of yours?