When my mother passed away, I was cleaning out some of her stuff and ran across some REALLY old bills and her old checkbook registers. My mother had a habit of thinking she needed to keep everything…just in case. Utility bill receipts from 1978? Please! One thing I will say about this little jaunt down memory lane was I got to see how inexpensive it was to live back then compared to present day. The cost of inflation is absolutely ridiculous! The only thing that seems to be rising are the costs associated with living – not paychecks. It was shocking to see my mother paid $15 a month on the average for her electric bill…isn’t that just crazy? If you make little changes to the way you use the energy around your home the cost of energy can be reduced. Once making these minor adjustments you should see the results of lower bills.
- Give your laundry the cold shoulder. If you get in a habit of switching that little temperature dial on your washing machine to cold water instead of hot or warm it will use less energy thus saving you money throughout the year. Does it matter if your clothes are cold when they are being clean? Some clothing instructions state to use hot/warm, etc. If you really think about it cold water not only reduces the amount of energy used BUT it can also save your clothes so they last longer. Hot water can break down the fibers of the fabric quicker (Learned that last little trick from a textile expert).
- Load it up. This little tip is one that I know some won’t agree with…our MayDay man says it’s true. When washing laundry and dishes (this applies to both the washing machine and the dishwasher), load up the machine because full loads result in maximum efficiency and helps to avoid wasting water. For further savings, try to get in a habit of air drying your clothes and dishes. I know – I used to think ‘why have a dryer if not to be used, right?’. Now I let my jeans and some shirts and sweaters air dry because it truly does make them last longer.
- Ditch the lint. When using a clothes dryer, it is super important to clean out the lint filter – not just for energy purposes but for safety, as well. Get in a habit of cleaning out the filter after each load and it will become your new routine. I have a little dollar store plastic trash can lined with a grocery bag near my dryer to make it effortless. And, to mention again – it can be dangerous to let the lint build up risking a fire because it blocks the flow of air.
- Divide light loads from heavy ones. We know to separate the dark clothes from whites so the darks don’t bleed onto the whites (which doesn’t have anything to do with energy). Let’s take this a step further and separate the heavy loads from the light ones. If you put towels, bedspreads, and other heavy items together and the lighter weighted items together you will see an increase in drying efficiency.
- Get wet. Taking a shower saves water and energy versus taking a bath. Think of all the gallons of water that goes into a bath tub – of course it’s implied NOT to take a 30 minute shower or that too would result in gallons of water down the drain. Also, invest in a low flow efficient shower head – there are some on the market that will still have good water pressure.
- Nix the drips. Repair any leaky faucets. Even a little drip can amount to a large water bill over time.
- Bundle up. Heating bills can be reduced up to 10 percent when you insulate your hot water pipes and water heater. Use approved insulation materials for efficiency.
- Flip it off. Well not that kind of flip off LOL. Turn off any lights, TVs, computers or other electronics when not being used.
- Let there be light. Conventional incandescent bulbs are quickly becoming a thing of the past. There are longer lasting and energy saving options on the market now. Also, try to open up the drapes and let the sun shine in during the day. Besides, natural light is also a great source of vitamins.
- Filter Savings. Every month you should replace the filter in your air conditioner in the summer and the furnace in the winter for maximum efficiency.
- Hang out. I can remember the days when I was a child we would hang our clothes outside on the clothesline to dry with these little wooden clips. Nothing smelled fresher than outdoor dried clothes. Hang a clothes line outside and give it a try – it will definitely save energy and money.
- Glow test. After dark, take a walk around your home with a flashlight and see what is glowing. You will be amazed at just how many things are lit up like power strips, computers, cable boxes, etc. Even though no one may be using these items, they are still ‘on’ and using energy. The only way to save is to unplug them when not in use and plug them back in when needed.
- Fill up the freezer. We have had the pleasure of owning appliances that lasted well into 3 decades. Yes, you read correctly-30 years! We were fortunate we had good brands and kept them maintained. Keep your freezer full so it doesn’t have to work as hard and will therefore use less electricity. When a freezer is empty to near empty it has to work double time to keep the space icy cold. If you take a large stone or a bucket filled with water it will help fill up that empty space.
The above no cost suggestions will help you reduce your energy bills and help to save you money.
Till next time. Keep saving.
The above tips were inspired by the book, “Saving Energy” by Reader’s Digest. If you are interested in this awesome book of tips click here