Energy is expensive and paradoxical; how can it be that even though the earth and sun are constantly generating energy, it is considered to be so rare and costly? Before I present five home energy saving tips, look at the sun, feel the wind, jump in the waves and think about volcanoes; all these physical forces are being used to generate electricity in many places all over the world, so why don’t we? Answer: I have no idea, but maybe you do.
1. Insulate insulate insulate
This includes windows, doors and walls. Cut down on drafts during the winter and save an easy 15-30% on heating bills. If you have the capital, replace old windows and doors and the investment will repay itself in five to ten years. Other energy saving insulation tips include shooting insulation into your walls, and if you have old appliances, put them in energy–conserving thermal blankets. Every volt of energy not consumed has a long term cumulative effect.
2. Purchase an energy efficient television set
There are plenty of Smart TVs on the market these days with high energy efficiency. If not, then just turn it off a few hours a day and watch your energy bill go down. As a general principle, always turn off electrical appliances when not in use. This includes your cell phone charger. This principle includes the idea that Americans are the world’s worst energy addicts; the first step in breaking any bad habit is to increase awareness and think about what you’re doing.
3. Get your air conditioning unit serviced every year
Efficiency counts. Small leaks cost money and loose wires drain energy. As a general principle with large appliances, regular maintenance makes a large cumulative difference in your energy bills.
4. Think about light bulbs
If you haven’t replaced incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs start today. One common element in all economizing strategies is to think strategically by investing in proven new technologies. Also, turn out lights that aren’t being used. A 100 watt bulb that runs constantly could be wasting you more than $130 a year. And now that we’re getting specific: a $32 investment in 10 60 watt bulbs will save a net $90 the first year and $123 in subsequent years. Since these florescent bulbs often have a five year lifespan, that’s a five year savings of more than $500!
5. Wait until dark to use any and all appliances that generate heat in the summer but do generate heat in the daytime in the winter
In other words, in the hot old summertime, wait until after the sun goes down to bake cookies, dry clothes and use the dishwasher. Your air conditioning bill will thank you for it. But in the winter, rev up those appliances when people are awake and active; it will lower your heating bills.
Michael Strauss is a professional violist, teacher and free-lance writer who is always looking for creative ways to save money. Although he does not own a television set, it’s not because he can’t afford it. No, there’s no TV in his house because he loves it too much and if he had one, he would never get anything done.