Is it just me, or did we go from 75° weather to middle 90° weather overnight? It’s Texas, though, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Summer is officially here and summer electric bills be a killer if you don’t watch it. However, you don’t have to spend a fortune (or even anything) to save some green on your next electric bill. Give your wallet a fat boost with these summer energy savings tips:
Get off the peak – Many utility provider plans have off-peak hours or even free hours of usage. For instance, if you have an electricity plan that has free electricity from 7-10pm, run your dishwasher and laundry during those off-peak times. It may seem like a small savings, but over time it will add up! If you don’t know which plan you are on or haven’t updated your plan recently, log on to your electric provider’s website (or call them) to check plan availability in your area.
Beware the Thermostat—Being sweaty is horrible, I think we can all agree on that. However, your air conditioning accounts for 50-70% of your electric bill, so you can’t afford to ignore it. If you do not have a programmable thermostat, consider having one installed. Here’s why: for every degree you raise the thermostat during a 24-hour period, you will save 2-4% on your cooling costs. That can add up quickly over a 30-day period! Is there a period every day when no one is home? If so, you could save 7-10% per month just by programming your thermostat at 78 degrees (or higher) for those hours the house is empty. If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, get in the habit of raising the temperature before you leave for the day. You don’t have to sweat it out to save money, but there’s no need to freeze out an empty house!
Stake the Vampires—Do you have vampire electronics? Seriously, it’s a thing. A “vampire electronic” is a gadget that still sucks power anytime it is plugged in, even when turned off. Plasma TVs and computers are some of the biggest offenders, but take a look around at how many devices you have plugged in—the number of devices may surprise you. According to the US Department of Energy, a cable TV box with DVR capabilities left plugged in and “off” will cost $43.46 a year (it doubles if you actually use it). If your house has 25 appliances that are always plugged in, you can see how the vampire euphemism comes in to play—your money is literally being sucked away by energy that you never really use. Two relatively easy solutions for the problem are to either unplug appliances/devices when not in use (best for more rarely used electronics) or use a power strip that you can shut off when not in use (ideal for a TV or computer). It sounds ridiculous, but the money they are sucking away is real.
Insulation, your new BFF—Adding insulation will deliver instant gratification on your next electric bill. Whether you hire a professional or DIY, consider this short term cost for long term monthly savings. Insulation will often pay for itself in terms of savings in a matter of months and raise the comfort level in your house.
Small steps for energy efficiency can lead to big savings, both short term and long term. Energy savings isn’t just for tree huggers, it’s for everyone that uses electricity and likes to save a buck. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to escape your utility bill entirely; but with a few smart energy saving tricks, your wallet can go a little greener.
Lisa E. Priest is now paranoid about vampire electronics and is a Palestine, Texas REALTOR® with Picket Fence Realty, Inc. You can reach her via phone or text at 903-948-3343 or read more at BuyPalestine.com.