Would you like to save on your energy bills? Home energy costs are on the rise. The average household in the United States spends roughly $2,000 a year on energy bills, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program.
Homes in the United States have become disgustingly large but I am sure energy statistics are similar worldwide.
There are huge differences in how electricity is generated. For example, Iceland is the only developed nation that generates its electricity from 100% renewable energy sources while China’s electricity comes almost exclusively from fossil fuels.
Egyptians spend only about 2 cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity, while Danish households spend a whopping 34 cents, nearly 17 times more according to ElectricRate.com.
While basics like shutting off the lights when you leave a room and raising the temperature setting up a few degrees on your air conditioner will help, you’ll have to do more around the house to save significantly on energy costs.
Simple changes to our behavior won’t just help us save on energy bills to make ends meet but could significantly cut the world’s carbon emissions.
1. Comparison Shop
Did you know in most cities in the United States you can compare shops to save on your energy bills? Call your local energy provider and ask for a list of energy suppliers they work with. You can then compare shops and choose the supplier that best meets your needs.
Depending on your location Provider and Supplier can be used interchangeably. This can be confusing. Just remember the term 3rd Party Provider or Supplier almost always refers to a company other than the one doing your current and future billing.
The company that is currently billing you will stay the same they usually set themselves up as the default supplier. In many cases, they do not offer the best rates but if you don’t ask you will never know.
For our example, we will call your current company the provider and you can choose a different supplier and your current provider will just continue to do the billing on other suppliers’ behalf if you choose a supplier. For most people, the most important comparison metric will be price.
Here in New Jersey, the price metric to compare is the average cost per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for electric generation and transmission. This includes energy, capacity, transmission, ancillary services, line losses, state sales tax, etc. I may be slightly different from where you are but it will be similar. Check your bill and tell us what it looks like.
In New Jersey, prices to compare also include a reconciliation of costs. This cost will generally change seasonally on June 1st and October 1st (beginning of the winter months) of each year to reflect changes to the energy, capacity, and ancillary service costs components.
In the United States, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved changes to the transmission cost component, changes to the reconciliation cost component, and other approved changes that will also affect these costs. I am sure you have a similar regulating body where you live.
Check your energy bill for similar charges and comparison shop your choice of suppliers for the best cost and value that helps you save on your energy bills.
On a gas utility bill, the price to compare is the average cost per therm for natural gas supply. In the United States, this includes state sales tax. Again this cost will generally change on October 1st (beginning of the winter months) of each year to reflect changes to the wholesale cost of natural gas, the cost of transporting the natural gas to the utility’s system, and a reconciliation of costs from the prior year.
Unfortunately, the cost can also increase on December 1st and February 1st of each year if costs increase significantly. In New Jersey, the utility is also permitted to self-implement rate decreases (or bill credits/refunds) at any time.
It can be a lot of work to compare shops for the best energy prices but well worth it. It can be a one-time thing or you can be like me and check for the best prices every year to ensure you save on your energy bills.
The best way to save on electricity is to change how you use it. This generally means using less. But hold on. There are many other ways you may find interesting to help save electricity and save on your energy bills.
As you know more efficient light bulbs (Compact Fluorescent and L.E.D) are becoming more and more popular. These more efficient light bulbs are also being made to fit more and more applications every day.
Did you know LED light bulbs last 42 times longer than incandescent bulbs and use 80% less power? Or An ENERGY STAR-qualified Compact Fluorescent Lamp uses about one-fourth of the energy and lasts ten times longer than a comparable traditional incandescent bulb?
Please check regularly as these money-saving light blubs may fit an application that fits your needs today where it did not yesterday. The addition of timers can make these applications even more efficient to help save on your energy bills.
You have to be creative. Go see what is available, and mix and match to best meet your needs. Some light bulbs use less energy than others. And you can increase savings by using timers that turn lights off automatically when they’re not being used.
Please comment below and tell us what changes would like to make to ensure you save on your energy bills.
You can realize HUGE savings on your energy bills with solar but Solar can put an even larger dent in your savings account.
Yes, Solar can be very complicated, very expensive, and is not a wise choice for the majority of people. For that reason, we will not be covering the possibilities thoroughly.
I would like for you to know it exists and could be a great fit for you. Solar panels can be installed onto the roof of your home and used to convert direct or indirect sunlight into usable energy.
Most Solar arrays require expensive batteries to store the excess energy collected during the day for on-demand use when the Sun is not shining.
Solar panels will cost you around $6,500 (£4,800) to install, depending on the size of the solar panel array plus expensive batteries to store the energy. However, this investment saves money over time and many locations offer rebates to offset costs.
In many cases, energy companies will pay for any excess energy your panels produce. Unfortunately due to an overabundance of excess energy being collected by households, some of these programs are being curtailed or ended.
Is Solar the perfect fit to help save on your energy bills?
More than half of household energy is spent on heating living. In the United States, more than two-thirds of our annual natural gas is consumed between November and February, during the winter months.
Did you know that reducing your home’s temperature by 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (one degree Celsius) can produce a significant difference in your home’s energy cost? Setting your room thermostat one degree higher could increase your heating cost by ten percent and vice versa.
To save money on your energy bill, set your thermostat to the lowest comfortable setting. Invest in a smart thermostat because it automatically turns the heating off when the desired temperature is reached.
They also can be programmed to raise and lower heat at different times of day to save on your energy bills. You may not need a toasty home when everyone is at work during the day.
Most of your energy savings will come from heating during the winter months, but adding water to your energy-saving routine will lead to savings all year long.
Simple and inexpensive things like upgrading to a more efficient showerhead when used multiple times a day could reduce energy consumption by 5% – 10%
This saving comes from having to heat less water and even more, savings will be realized on your water bill for using less water.
You can even multiply these savings by reducing either bath depth or length of time in a shower without any impact on your quality of life.
Heating a large water tank is a big energy draw. The average household spends $400 to $600 a year just to heat water, which can account for 14% to 18% of the total utility bill, according to energy.gov.
The default setting on hot water heaters is 140 degrees, but it’s OK to drop it down to 120 degrees to save money and still enjoy a warm water shower.
You can avoid all of that by installing a tankless water heater. They virtually heat water on demand and save energy by not having to constantly keep a large water tank heated.
Use the cold water setting when washing clothes to use less energy on heating water. I hated this idea when I first heard it but after trying it I am sold on the idea. Heating water makes up about 90% of the energy it takes to operate a clotheswasher, according to energystar.gov. This was a no-brainer.
6. Household Behaviors
Minor changes in your behavior during the day can save small amounts of energy, which together could add up to huge savings.
Heating and Air Conditioning
Keep your heating and air conditioning unit running efficiently by changing the filters regularly. They get dirty and start bogging your system down. Change your filter as recommended by the manufacturer.
The same goes for your furnace (and A/C) by keeping it clean and changing the filter. That may require a professional but believe it or not maintenance costs pay for themselves over time. Pay now or pay later.
While You Are Sleeping
Save money when you’re sleeping. Run appliances like the dishwasher and clothes dryer late in the evening or before bedtime, when energy goes on sale.
In most cases, Utility companies will charge more for energy during peak times. That is usually daytime to early evening. Check your location for the times.
Unplug everything you are not using to save on your energy bills. Even in standby mode, there are a lot of devices in your home that still use power.
Seek out the devices you can live without being unplugged and unplug them. I plug those devices into power strips and turn the power strips on and off as needed.
The more perishables you store in your freezer, the less energy it will use, By filling the space, there is less surrounding air that needs to be cooled. Allowing a cool temperature to be maintained for longer in the event of a power outage.
Regularly defrosting your freezer is also a good habit to maintain. The more ice there is built up in a domestic freezer, the more energy it uses.
Ceiling fans are installed in homes to move the air around and make people feel cooler. They can also be used to make people feel warmer in the winter months.
The ceiling fan can be switched to spin anticlockwise (reverse), to force warm air that has risen downwards to make a room feel less cold. As long as the fan is set to a slow setting, no uncomfortable breeze will be generated.
Repair draft doors and windows. Older homes are prone to have small caps in the doors and windows that allow cold or hot air from the outside to drive up heating and cooling costs.
Have them professionally repaired or replaced to save on your energy bills. There are off-the-shelf products that work well to temporarily correct these problems. Shop around they really do work. Even something as simple as placing a bath towel along the gap of all external doors can greatly lower energy costs.
Go Old School
Switching to a clothesline drying or indoor drying rack will increase your savings as tumble dryers are often the biggest energy hogs at home.
Close all windows at night, turn down the thermostat a few degrees, and wear thermals or an extra layer of clothing in the winter months to save on your energy bills.`