How to Save Money on Home Energy and Water Bills
Content & Blog by Katie Cullum, White County
Would you like for your electricity & water bills to go down this summer instead of up? You can save energy without spending much money!
Energy / Electricity
- Turn it OFF. Turn off lights when you leave a room. Turn off appliances when they are not being used. Turn off equipment (even computers and TVs) when they are not being used. Use power strips to make it easy. Train your family to turn things OFF (make it a habit).
- Unplug. Unplug chargers and adapters when not in use. Chargers still use energy when plugged in, even when they aren't charging. And, if you're plugging and unplugging each day, you'll be less likely to forget that charger when you travel (like I did)!
- Be smart. Use cold water to wash clothes if possible. Hang clothes on a clothesline to dry, or air dry inside. I like to hang up jeans to dry - they last longer and they take a long time to dry in dryer (so that uses more energy). Run washer & dishwasher only when full. Use "air dry" on dishwasher instead of "heat dry." Use your appliances wisely!
- Use energy efficient lights - replace incandescent bulbs with CFLs or LEDs. These bulbs last longer too, so you won't constantly be changing bulbs!
- When replacing appliances, look for the Energy Star label. The initial cost of these appliances will be higher, but those costs will be recovered due to lower operating costs. High-efficiency (HE) washing machines save energy costs both for washing and drying. They use smaller amounts of water and, since they have high-speed spin cycles, they also reduce energy spent on drying. HE washers come in front loading and top loading now. I recently purchased a top-loading HE washer, and I really like it!
Sealing & Insulation from North Carolina State Extension.
The average person uses 60 gallons of water a day and wastes more than 9 gallons a day through household leaks. Yikes!
W - Wash laundry only when there is a full load (some HE washers use "precise fill" so it only uses what you need when you need to run a load that isn't full).
A - Always turn off running water (and teach your family that). You don't have to run the water while brushing your teeth. If you need to run the water to get it hot, use the cold water to fill your watering can.
T - Take shorter showers. Be efficient. You'll have more time to do other things! You may need to use a timer with some teenagers - some will take super-long showers and use all the hot water!
E - Eliminate any and all leaks. You may think, "Oh, I'll fix it later." But you may be wasting more money than you think! Use this Drip Calculator to figure out how much water you may be wasting!
R - Reduce the flow of toilets and showerheads. You can find regulators and other devices. You can even find showerheads that may reduce water but you can't even tell.
These things seem small. You may not even notice a difference in your bills at first. But over time, you can save money. Or as a Tanzanian proverb says, "Little by little, a little becomes a lot."