You know all about the soaring inflation and rising utility costs. But we have some good news if you want to save buckets of cash by making simple changes around your home, sweet home.
Whether you live in a mansion or a condo, homes consume a ton of expensive energy—in the form of electricity, water, or gas. The good news? You can lower these bills and free up cash for other pursuits (maybe that new fridge you’ve been dreaming of or even a weekend getaway). What’s more, these changes are far from complicated—some are as simple as switching your lightbulbs or tweaking the settings on your appliances.
Collectively, these tiny changes can add up to huge savings. So try a few or all to reap the benefits of a fatter bank account in 2022, and beyond.
Save on your electric bill
Unless you’ve been relying on candlelight, it’s no surprise to hear how much electricity costs have shot up. Energy Sage says residential electricity rates have increased about 14% over the past 10 years. With fuel costs continuing to rise, you can bet your bottom dollar that that number isn’t getting any lower.
One way to cut down on your electric bill? By killing what we call the “energy vampires” in your home.
Those are the little lights all over your house that indicate printers and chargers are plugged in and ready but not in use. Energy vampires suck dollars out of your wallet, an average of $250 a year for a typical U.S. household.
The low-tech solution? Unplug these items before bed, which will save you as much as 10% on your energy bill. The high-tech solution? Power cords such as the Embertec Emberstrip AV+ ($45) will turn off equipment when they sense it’s not in use.
Swap your lightbulbs
Another way to reduce your bill? By switching to low-energy lightbulbs. This 6-pack of LED bulbs (which replaces 60-watt incandescent bulbs and retails for only $20) can save you up to 85% on your energy bill.
And because these bulbs last an average of 18 years, another bonus is not needing to swap them out as often!
Get an energy audit
Consider this a checkup for your home: Many local utility companies offer energy audits—often for free. This involves experts assessing your home’s energy consumption patterns and looking for areas where you could cut back on electricity, gas, or water to lower your utility bills.
Auditors might do this remotely by poring over your records. Or they might visit your home to examine everything from its windows to ductwork to showerheads—saving you as much as 30% of your monthly bills.
Install a hot water pump
Something you might not have considered when it comes to your ultrahot showers is how much scalding water costs.
“About 20% of the energy used in a home goes toward water heating,” says Michael Thomas, founder of Carbon Switch. “One of the most effective ways to cut down on that energy use is to install a heat pump water heater (aka hybrid water heater).”
According to Thomas, you can save anywhere from $20 to $600 a year making this switch.
Another option when it comes to your pricey hot water? Consider cranking it down just a tad. Lowering the settings by just 20 degrees (to a still-hot albeit more reasonable 120 degrees Fahrenheit) will save you anywhere from 6% to 10% on your heating costs.
Wash your clothes in cold water
Yes, your clothes will still get clean—some stains actually come out more readily in cold water—and you’ll save about $130 a year.
And since dryers account for 12% of the energy used in an average household, consider line-drying clothes in nice weather to save between $100 and $280 per year, depending on how many loads you dry.
Seal your windows
In the height of the summer or winter seasons, “even the smallest gaps around a window or door frame allow air to leak inside,” says Mark Liston, president of Glass Doctor. “An eighth of an inch gap under a 36-inch-wide door in the winter will let in as much cold air as a 2.4-inch-diameter hole punched in a wall.”
Depending on where you live, you could save as much as 20% on heating and cooling costs by properly sealing and insulating your windows and doors.
Set up smart thermostats
Sealing your home from air leaks isn’t the only way to save money on heating and AC bills. Another idea? Consider installing a set of smart thermostats.
“Smart thermostats can save the average homeowner $100 on their home energy bills a year,” says Thomas. “Given that most smart thermostats cost less than $200, that means a payback of fewer than two years.”
Margaret Heidenry contributed to this report.
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