Ten tips to reduce your domestic energy bills

When we were children, we all remember being yelled at to turn off the lights or the television as we left a room. It seemed like nagging, of course, but now that we pay the power bills, we sing a different tune. It is us who shout about the awful monthly bills we receive. There is no doubt that most of us could not live without the magic of electricity. On the other hand, we weep every time we realize how much power we have actually used and now must pay for. To help you overcome your monthly aggravation, let’s take a look at ten tips to reduce your domestic energy bills:

1. Like your childhood days, turn off lights and appliances that are not in use. Some even advocate unplugging the television when it is not being watched. That might be a bit of a stretch, but definitely in the kitchen, there is no reason for the coffee maker, toaster and blender to be plugged in twenty-four seven. Chargers for appliances and telephones use a lot of energy. Unplug them, too, when not in use.

2. Buy lower wattage light bulbs. At one point in time, tri-light lamps and bulbs were very popular. They allowed users to choose the appropriate lighting for the task at hand. Today, however, economists are recommending that table or floor lamps and ceiling fixtures use forty or sixty watt bulbs instead of the once popular hundred watt.

3. Typically, it has been suggested over the years that windows, doors and walls should have no leakage of air. Everything should be sealed up tight with caulking, weather stripping or insulation. Recently, however, reports have surfaced that suggest that people are actually sicker by keeping the house tight as a drum. Ideally, you need to find the right balance for your home. By taking care of obvious problems, you keep the energy bills much lower. A stuck sliding window, for example, in the screen door may be leaking your hard-earned heat. Fix the draft and you can quickly reduce next month’s gas or heating bill.

4. Try to organize tasks such as laundry, washing the car, or running the dishwasher during the energy company’s off-hours. Use cold water for the laundry and if you are worried about germs, add white vinegar to the load.

5. Repair or replace faulty facets. This is even more important when it is the hot water that is leaking. Not only are you using more water than necessary, you are also using valuable warm water from the hot water tank. Water, gas and electricity add up quickly in monthly costs. Further, if your area experiences the winter months, be sure to turn off the inside pipe that leads to the outdoor faucet. This will prevent freezing and subsequently, a huge plumbing bill.

6. If the water heater is in a very cold area, and does not have any insulation, buy a water heater blanket to wrap around the tank to keep the temperature at an efficient level. Likewise, do not turn the thermostat on the tank up higher than necessary. Higher than 120 degrees is not only dangerous because burns on the skin happen easily, but also, it is expensive.

7. Ceiling fans can help in reducing costs if used appropriately. Buy fans with bi-directional switches, and you will benefit, both in cool and warm weather.

8. Programmable thermostats are said to be more energy efficient than the old manual thermostats. In fact, many rebates are offered by the manufacturers, energy companies, and the government to upgrade.

9. Have the furnace and central air conditioning units serviced regularly to check for leaks and carbon monoxide poisoning, to clean out dirt and blockages, and to keep the units running efficiently and economically. Changing the filters often is also important. For portable A/C units, some models now have washable sponge filters.

10. Choose compact fluorescent light bulbs (aka energy saving light bulbs) instead of incandescent bulbs (traditional light bulbs). If you do this throughout your home you will reduce your electricity bill by more than you would expect. You will also save time and money as these bulbs last a lot longer than the traditional ones.

Believe it or not, every little bit adds up in dollars. It is not hard at all, though, to reduce your energy bills. You just need to be consistent and diligent.

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