Having to adjust from the financial stability of living as a couple to an independent life is seldom easy. You might now be responsible for covering new expenses, as well as not having the stability that comes with two income-earners in the household.
Fortunately, there are many steps that you can take to ensure your financial comfort.
This includes setting a budget, eliminating unnecessary expenses and starting a savings habit. Another effective, but rarely considered solution is to reduce your energy expenditure at home.
With electricity prices constantly rising, taking measures to lower wastage and find more efficient alternatives to powering your home is a worthwhile endeavor.
In doing so, you’ll not only have more money to put towards other important expenses at the end of each month, but you’ll also be doing your part in preserving the planet. Here are some simple and effective ways to reduce your energy expenditure at home.
Heating and Cooling
With heating and cooling appliances being some of the largest contributors to household energy bills, it’s worth looking into some ways that you can cut down on their usage.
This involves stopping cold air from coming into your home and preventing warm air from escaping, thus reducing the need for heating systems. Look for air leakages in doorways, windows, electrical fittings, floorboards and holes for piping or cables that lead outside. Draft excluders and window seals are a cheap solution.
A fireplace/chimney damper is a simple mechanism that can be manually adjusted to control airflow. This will help to keep heat from escaping in colder months and hot air from entering during summer.
Air Conditioner Use:
Try using your air conditioner only when absolutely necessary, such as when opening the windows and doors to allow natural airflow doesn’t suffice. If you foresee a hot day, pre-empt the heat instead of waiting until your home warms up. In the same light, start heating earlier on cold days.
A ceiling fan may not be as convenient as an air conditioner, but it’s significantly cheaper and has a much lower environmental impact.
Be sure to keep your HVAC system clean and change the filter every month. This will prevent the problems that come with a dirty system. If your heating or cooling system is more than ten years old, replacing it with a modern system will likely save you money in the long run. Look out for products that are Energy Star-qualified.
Consider installing double-glazing windows, which are more capable of preventing heat loss.
With the average living space being home to more and more technology, it’s easy to forget just how much power they collectively require to run.
Most appliances, including televisions, washing machines, computers, microwaves and more, have a “standby” mode, which means they still consume energy when they’re not being used. Consider either unplugging them or using a plug outlet that automatically cuts power.
Given their significant energy and water consumption, it’s worth considering making an investment in a front-loader washing machine. These will save you money over time and are kinder to the environment as they use less power, water, and even less detergent. Use cold water to further reduce electricity usage.
Look out for appliances that are Energy Star-rated. These have been certified as more efficient.
Since they’re usually working non-stop, the cost of having a fridge and freezer can add up quickly. If you’re in the market for a new fridge, lookout for a model that uses butane or pentane as the refrigerant for the insulation foam. Avoid basing your decision on the “CFC-free” label, as all fridges available today are CFC-free.
Tumble dryers are not cheap to run. Consider using an outdoor or indoor clothesline instead. This will not only save you a significant amount of money but also help your clothes shrink less and last longer between washes.
Use the microwave to cook vegetables and heat up soup or other foods instead of using the stovetop.
Only pour as much water as necessary into the kettle when making tea or coffee. Over time, the cost of boiling all that excess water can quickly add up.
There are some smart and simple ways to reduce the amount of energy you use to keep the lights on.
If you haven’t already, be sure to switch out any old halogen bulbs for LEDs.
In addition to making a habit of turning the lights off where they aren’t necessary, consider installing sensors to ensure that even if someone forgets, the lights will go off when nobody is in the room.
Instead of using halogen floodlights, consider keeping your yard lit with sodium lighting. An even better solution is to use outdoor lights with built-in solar panels.
Perhaps the best way to reduce both your energy expenditure and environmental impact is to implement more green ways to power your home. With green solutions becoming more and more affordable, now is a better time than ever to consider making the investment.
Of course, one of the more popular options is to install solar panels. They’re a great long-term investment that allows you to generate completely clean electricity and even sell excess power back to the grid at a premium rate. All you need to do is find a reputable company to assist you with a proper installation.
A great option for residents in the Westminster area is Semper Solaris. This company is the best solar company in Westminster, with a strong emphasis on quality service. So, if you’re looking for a solar company in Westminster that can provide you with affordable and trustworthy installation, be sure to check them out.
Aside from installing solar panels, some other green cost-saving measures you can take include the following:
Instead of wasting kitchen scraps and leftovers, put them to good use by turning them into compost with a compost bin. Coupled with an herb or vegetable garden, you can save a fair bit of money while also saving the environment.
Every year, billions of aluminum capsules end up in America’s landfills. Consider switching to traditional drip coffee makers or simply using ground coffee instead.
A simple way to reduce the amount of energy your oven uses is to keep it closed throughout the cooking process. Every time it’s opened, a significant amount of heat is lost.
By installing a smart meter, you can program your heating and cooling system usage depending on the time of day and whether anyone is home. This is another simple way to greatly reduce your heating and cooling bills.
One option that is not often discussed is the possibility of switching to a prepaid service plan with an electricity company that gives you the option to pay only for what you use. This can be particularly helpful if you’re trying to stay within a certain budget. It will also push you to pay more attention to your usage and plan more carefully moving forward.
As you can see, there are countless ways to reduce your energy expenditure at home. While there should be more than enough solutions for you to consider out of those listed above, don’t hesitate to look for even more ways to save, as there’s bound to be room for improvement elsewhere.
Identity Magazine is all about guiding women to discover their powers of Self-Acceptance, Appreciation, and Personal Achievement. We ask that every contributor and expert answer the Identity questions in keeping with our theme.
Their answers can be random and in the moment or they can be aligned with the current article they have written. In that way, we hope to encourage and motivate each other, thus inspiring you to Get All A’s.
What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? Additionally, what are you still working on accepting? Now, we’re not talking about resignation, rather stepping into, embraced, and owned.
I have come to accept my failures as well as my strengths in dealing with day to day struggles. I understand that sometimes situations cannot always be controlled and that I should learn to appreciate the good times and accept that whatever happens, happens.
Appreciation is everything. What have you learned to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? On the other hand OR in contrast, are there elements of who you are that you’re still working on appreciating?
I have learned to appreciate the people I have that have stuck by me. It’s rare to meet individuals who become an integral part of your life offering support and companionship especially at times when you need it most.
Share with us one of your most rewarding achievements in life? Tell us not only what makes YOU most proud but also share the goals and dreams that you still have.
The biggest achievement in my life would be my 2 children. The goals I have are what I strive to give to my kids for them to have a better life.