Everyone likes to save money. Everyone, even billionaires do. Part of owning a home, whether it’s a house, townhouse or condo, is home maintenance and if you’re disciplined about doing it, you can not only save money on your home, but help the environment with these tips. Energy use is a huge portion of our budget. Some homes are all electric, including heating, so saving a few dollars could be really helpful. We hear about hidden electrical drains, meaning all of our appliances that run all of the time. You know the ones with clocks that really don’t need clocks, or instant on? That’s a huge money drain that PG&E just loves. Good for their bottom line, but not ours.
When you purchase or consider purchasing a new home, there are lots of things to consider. One of these is the cost of utilities. While they may not represent a large portion of your monthly expenses, their cost can really add up over time. Once you have purchased your new home (and every few years thereafter), it’s a good idea to request an energy audit from PG&E to find ways that you can reduce your monthly expenditures. Once you know what creates the bulk of your expense, you can use the following tips to reduce your utility bills in your new home.
- Update your appliances and fixtures to energy efficient models bearing the “Energy Star” label to save on water and energy bills.
- Replace any incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs or if you can afford them, the new LED lights. This can provide up to 75% savings on your lighting costs and keep your home cooler during the summer months.
- Be aware of your thermostat use. A programmable thermostat is a great idea during the winter, so you can allow cooler temperatures while you are away from your home.
- Lowering your hot water heater temperature ten degrees or shortening your shower times can results in savings.
- Turn off your appliances by unplugging them when you’re not using them.
- Adding insulation to your attic or attic door and replacing caulking over cracks around windows and in exterior walls can also reduce your energy costs. You may even consider insulating your garage or garage door if possible. Replacing or installing weather-stripping kits on drafty doors will also decrease your costs. So will adding an attic fan to remove heat during the summer.
- Planting deciduous shade trees and shrubs can provide more even temperatures in your home, as can appropriate window coverings.
Some of these things are really simple to do and should become part of your annual repairs to your home. Others can become daily changes. We all can do these things to help improve our bottom line, and our energy use for the greater good of our community. This weekend is Earth Day and now is a great time to start your energy audit and savings.