Sure, you’ve replaced all of your incandescent light bulbs with the energy efficient fluorescent bulbs and you’ve always been careful to turn the lights off each time you leave the room. You never let any appliance run for longer than necessary and the air conditioning is synced up with the thermostat so it doesn’t run for hours on end. Yet you wonder why the heck your monthly energy bills are so high?
Before you squander the amiable neighborhood vibe by accusing your neighbor of tapping into your power lines and stealing your electricity, bear in mind that the delinquents that drain your energy and ramp up your bills are dispersed in plain sight throughout your home.
The average American household consumes roughly 11,700 kilowatt hours of energy each year and spends approximately $1,400 on electricity bills. Shrink that Footprintshared the breakdown of the energy consumption of the major appliances and electronics in our homes and revealed just which ones are to blame for depleting the contents of the new car fund.
At the top of the chart, air conditioning accounted for a whopping 22% of energy costs, followed by lighting (14%), water heating (9%), refrigeration (8%), and television (7%). Although the expenses are not necessarily unavoidable, there definitely are minor changes that you can make to create a major impact in your costs. Before you give up on that dream of the new BMW, here are some tips on how you can reduce your monthly energy bills and save some cash:
Together, the A/C and heating units account for 28% of total energy costs. Before you do anything, check how old your central air unit is. If it’s outdated, it could be worth your while to invest in one that’s newer and more efficient. Look for one that has a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) of at least 14. This initial investment can save you over 50% if you’re upgrading from an older model. If your unit is fairly new, make sure you schedule regular tune-ups to keep it working at its maximum efficiency.
A proper A/C unit with a high SEER rating can only do so much if the building it’s cooling is inefficiently designed. Are your windows single-paned? If so, consider replacing them with double-panes that contain that extra layer of gas/air to insulate your home. If there are cracks and small holes around windows and vents, a little weather-stripping can go a long way. This will reduce the amount of time the A/C unit has to work to maintain a cool temperature.
Similar to the central air units, if your refrigerator is more than ten years old, it’s definitely time to get it replaced with one with high efficiency ratings. Make sure you periodically clean the condenser coils with a brush or vacuum in order to maximize it’s efficiency (be sure to unplug it first). If at all possible, keep the refrigerator away from sources of heat such as the oven or the stove. Exposure to heat forces the unit to work significantly harder to maintain its internal temperatures.
If you haven’t already done so, take the time to replace your incandescent light bulbs with LED lights or fluorescent bulbs. This is a cheap and simple way to save energy. Additionally, installing motion sensors on the outdoor lights will reduce your energy costs as well. The lights will only turn on when they’re needed and you’ll save some cash.
There are tons of cheap and simple changes you can make to lower your monthly bills. However, when in doubt, call the professionals for an energy consultation. They know just what to look for and can provide a multitude of easy ways for you to go green and save on your energy bills.