I am asked this question by a lot of people, whether they live in a small house or a large one, an old house or a newer house. In today’s world our bill’s always seem to be going up and our income never seems to follow.
If you look at your electricity bill as a long term problem then you have to look at the solution as a long term solution. Not everything I can recommend will save you a lot of money right away, some of it will cost you monies that you will not be able to recuperate for many years to come. Some changes are big and will take time to pay you back and some changes are small allowing you to see an instant savings on your future electricity bills. If you don’t try any of my recommendations then your electricity bill will only continue to rise, I recommend that you at least try a few and see if it makes a difference.
Let’s start small, here are some small things that will lower your electricity bills;
• Change your halogen or incandescent bulbs to LED bulbs. If you change all the lights that you can in your house you should see an immediate effect on your electricity bills. It won’t be a lot but it will be a savings. LED light bulbs also last a lot longer than normal light bulbs.
• Install dimmers on your lights. If you dim your lights even slightly your light bulbs will last longer and you will not use as much electricity. This is a small savings and you probably won’t notice it on your electricity bill. Dimmers become more important in light fixtures that will not except LED bulbs and use older bulbs that require more wattage.
• If you have multiple fridges or freezers and they are not being fully utilized then you are wasted electricity. Get rid of the ones you don’t need or at least unplug them for parts of the years that you are not using them.
• Ceiling fans. Ceiling fans are a cheap way to save money on air conditioning and on heating a home. They move the hot air off the ceiling in the winter to help warm up the entire home and in the summer they can create a breeze that will allow you to use less air conditioning to make the room that you are occupying more comfortable.
• Plug your small appliances into power bars. When you are not using them or you are going away for the night simply turn the power bar off. Even when you are not using small appliances they draw electricity.
• In the summer when the wind is blowing try turning off the air conditioning and opening up all the windows and doors. This will allow natural cooling to take effect.
• Install a programmable thermostat for your furnace. This will allow you to regulate the temperature in the home. If you are not home for long periods of time then you can lower the heating and cooling demands and have it timed to use more energy when you are home to make it more comfortable.
• Install a constant pressure well pump. If you are in the country then you will have a well, a well uses electricity to bring the water up to the house when ever water is needed. A constant pressure well pump keeps a constant pressure of water allowing it to run less often and with less of an energy draw when it does turn on.
• Install a gravity drain to your weeping system. This will allow your sump pump to run less as the water naturally drains away from the house.
Here are bigger things that you can do to save on electricity, they also cost more money to initiate;
• Changing your electric hot water tank to a “flash boiler” will save you a lot of electricity. Hot water tanks are one of the biggest consumers of electricity in a home. A flash boiler heats water with gas as it is needed. It doesn’t heat water when it isn’t needed like a hot water tank. It will cost you money in gas but less than the amount of money you are spending on electricity.
• If you don’t have access to gas then you can install a hot water drain recovery system. These systems are copper piping that is wrapped around the drains that come from your shower. When you take a shower and you are using hot water then the copper drain of the shower heats up as the shower water travels down it. The copper piping that is wrapped around it is filled with the water that is coming in from either you well or the municipal lines. The water is then essentially pre-heated before it is dumped into your hot water tank. This allows the hot water tank to use less electricity to re-heat water and /or keep it warm.
• Buy new energy star rated appliances. New washer, dryers, fridges, stoves, microwaves, ovens and dishwashers all use a fair bit of electricity. If you buy new low energy using ones they will save you money over time as you use them.
• Change your heating system to a newer air to air heat pump. This is a great way to use less electricity when using air conditioning and also to lower electric or gas bills in the winter as new generation heat pumps have become far more efficient then most heating systems in older homes.
• Install an HRV. This will recycle the air in the home so that there is less cold air brought into the furnace, lowering your bills.
• Change your windows. A lot of heat and cooling is lost through older windows. New windows have much better energy ratings on them allowing less cold or heat penetration through the glass. If you live in an area that has a lot of wind you should think about installing triple pane windows, they allow almost no cold or heat transfer.
• Upgrade the insulation in your home. This will lower the amount of heating and cooling you will require.
• Install a wood stove. Wood is not very expensive to buy especially if you do a lot of the chopping and stacking yourself. A wood stove will lower your heating bills, it might not warm the whole house but it will warm the immediate room you are sitting in, this works well because most people want a colder bedroom to sleep in at night.
• Install solar panels to offset the electricity use in your home. Big expense but they have a long pay out.
• If you live in the country switch to geothermal heating. It is the most efficient heating and cooling available. It also gives you free hot water for parts of the year.
• If you have baseboard heaters you should look into installing anything else. Baseboard heaters are the most inefficient heating there is and use the most electricity.
Using some or all of these ideas in your home will lower your electricity bills. Obviously some of them require you to spend a lot more money than others so you should way the returns on your investment wisely.
Village Builders Inc.