Why is it always at this time of year, just as the weather is getting colder, that the energy companies all announce their price rises? Staying warm throughout the winter, and paying all those other bills that don’t go away just because the temperature has plummeted, is a real worry for many people.
Fortunately there are some quick and easy actions that you can take to bring your monthly energy spend back under control. Some energy saving techniques require a significant up front investment and can take a while to pay back. Those are, in general, well worth doing – but most people will be looking for some quick and easy wins.
So, without further ado, here are some low cost, easy to implement, energy saving tips that will have an immediate impact on your energy spending. You’ll see a difference on your next monthly bill.
As much as 20% of the heat in the average family home is lost as a direct result of drafts and poor ventilation. Bearing in mind that keeping the family home warm is the single biggest expense in your energy bill during the winter, anything that you can do to get rid of drafts will be very beneficial.
Drafts are simply the result of cracks, gaps and holes in the fabric of your building which allow cold air from unheated areas to enter your living space. Fixing them is as simple as finding the draft and blocking the hole where it’s getting in.
Something as simple as an old blanket or towel laid across the bottom of a door can be immediately effective. Foam strips around door frames and windows can also make a big difference.
You can also get temporary plastic sheets to fit over windows which will not only eliminate any drafts, but will create an additional insulating layer of air between your living space and the outside world.
Holes in walls, perhaps where cables or pipes enter and exit, can be another source of drafts. These can be fixed using a variety of methods, including specially designed grommets, sealants and expanding foam – all of which are available at your local hardware store at very low prices.
Eliminating drafts is very easy to do, it’s just a matter of geeing yourself up to do it. Once your drafts are gone, you’ll feel much warmer and more comfortable – and you’ll save money too.
Use Energy Efficient Light Bulbs Throughout Your Home
If you’re using old fashioned, incandescent light bulbs in your home, then as much as 90% of the energy supplied is being wasted as heat rather than light. Switching to Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs will produce the same amount of illumination for just 25% of the energy. You’ll cut 75% off your lighting bill immediately!
In addition to using less electricity, CFL bulbs last a lot longer 8 – 10 times as long as an incandescent light bulb. CFL bulbs do cost a little more than traditional light bulbs, but the hugely reduced energy usage and the long life mean that you’ll save a lot of money by making the switch.
If you don’t want to switch all of the bulbs in your house all at one go, just change the four or five light bulbs that are the most frequently used. You can then change the others as they fail.
Reduce Your Standby Power Usage
Standby power, sometimes known as “vampire power” or parasitic power”, is simply the power used by devices when they’re not in use. Most devices draw a small amount of power even when they’re not being used.
Common household appliances, such as TV sets, cable TV boxes, games consoles and, of course, battery chargers, use a small amount of power even when they’re not operating. The amount of power used is generally very small – but if you think about the amount of appliances that you might find in the average family home, it soon adds up.
The average family home is estimated to have somewhere between 40 and 50 devices which aren’t in operation, but which are drawing some power at any one time. Just how much money you waste in this manner will depend upon your circumstances – but it’s estimated that most family homes spend about 5 – 10% of their energy bill on standby power.
The solution is relatively simple, turn the devices off at the wall when they’re not in use. You can do this using power strips. Group your devices together and connect them via a mutli-connection power strip. You can then turn them all off and on at one time.
You can even get special power adapters which will detect when devices aren’t operating and cut the power automatically.
It’s wasted energy, which does you no good whatsoever. So cut it out and start saving money right away.
Use Your Washing Machine On A Low Temperature Setting
Using your washing machine on the lowest setting, which will often produce perfectly acceptable results when you choose the right detergent, will reduce your energy usage by as much as 40%.
Your clothes will still be clean and you’ll save quite a bit of money.