Shorter nights, a new school year and the beginning of football season are an annual rite of passage into fall. They also signal cooler days ahead — and with that comes worry of increasing utility bills due to high heating costs to combat chilly winter temps.
Making small, budget-friendly improvements to lower energy costs around the house can add up to extra cash fast, making utility bills less of a shock to open. Follow these energy-saving tips around the house and the change will add up in no time:
In the laundry room
Wash clothes at a lower temperature, dry laundry outside during warmer months, and use drying racks and hangers as much as possible during cooler months. If you prefer to use the dryer, experiment with setting dry times lower to prevent over drying. Not only will this show an increase of savings on your utility bill, your clothes will be in better shape and won’t come out of the dryer piping hot.
In the kitchen
Refrigerators and freezers are often overlooked when it comes to saving energy. A few ways to increase efficiency:
- Defrost your freezer on a regular basis.
- Keep your refrigerator organized so you can leave the door open less: Every time the door is opened, the refrigerator must work harder to cool down again.
- When storing left overs, be sure to let hot food cool before placing it inside the refrigerator or freezer.
- When cooking on the stove, be sure to boil only as much water as you need: It will take longer to heat bigger pans of water, wasting more energy in the process.
- Cooking larger portions of meals in bulk and freezing ahead will not only save energy, but save time in the future when you need to get dinner to the table fast.
In the bathroom
Take shorter showers and less baths. The less time water is heated, the less energy used. Plus, you can also feel great about conserving a valuable resource.
All around the house
- Lights: Turn off lights when you leave a room. And for increased energy savings, install light dimmers. To save even more—up to 75% less electricity per bulb—switch out regular florescent bulbs for CFL or LED bulbs.
- Electronic cords: Unplug all appliances and charging devices when not in use. Make use of power strips to switch off several items at once.
- HVAC: Install a programmable thermostat, like Lennox’ new iComfort Wi-Fi thermostat, which allows homeowners to adjust their home’s temperature and control energy costs from anywhere in the world, using a smartphone, tablet or laptop. Changing air filters regularly (at least once every three months) will also help your system run more efficiently.
- Windows and doors: Keep drafts at bay and heating bills low by checking for drafts. Fill any cracks with caulk. For added insulation during winter months, consider investing in window insulation film (plastic shrink film applied to the indoor frame with double-stick tape). Heavy fabric curtains, as well as door and window snakes, can also provide protection against drafts.