January 10th is recognized nationally as Cut Your Energy Costs Day. Your conservation efforts are helpful to both the planet and your wallet. Many of us don’t realize the gratuitous financial impact of energy saving upgrades. Simple and cheap repairs can pay off in huge dividends!
One of the easiest first steps you can take is signing up for Ohio’s Energy Kit. There is no fee for customers of First Energy, which includes the operating companies Toledo Edison, Ohio Edison, and The Illuminating Company. The kit includes several LED light bulbs in various wattages, one three-way compact fluorescent light bulb, a furnace filter whistle and two LED night lights. All you have to do is sign up on their website and wait for them to send it to you! There are also many energy saving programs and products available at First Energy.
LEDS use far less energy, produce very little heat, and have an impressive lifespan in comparison to incandescents. Low flow shower heads are another excellent way to save 25-60% on your water consumption.
Another simple way to cut your energy usage is by plugging electronics, such as TVs and gaming consoles, into a power strip that can be turned off after using. Power cords plugged directly into outlets are still using energy even when the electronic is off. 60-80% of the electricity consumed by these devices occur when they are in idle. Make a habit of switching off the power strip when not in use. One tip that costs zero money and almost no energy on your part: unplug your printer when not in use. CNBC found that unplugging your printer can save you as much as $130 annually!
Take extra precautions to make sure your house is effectively sealed and not letting in draft. This is a good way to help naturally regulate your home’s temperature. Double check windows, chimneys, and ductwork and seal when necessary. In a consumption report by CNBC, they found that sealing air leaks could cut your heating and cooling bills by as much as 20%.
Energy Star-certified appliances are a good move if you’re in the market for this kind of purchase. Even if you’re not looking for a major overhaul, something as small as upgrading to an Energy Star-certified ceiling fan is an affordable option that’s 50% more efficient than other ceiling fan models.
Toledo Edison and its affiliates even offer rebates for qualifying Energy Star rated appliances. A new washer or dryer can earn you a $50 rebate, while a refrigerator can qualify for up to $75.
If you have an electric furnace, you may want to consider switching to a natural gas system when your old one is at the end of its life. Natural gas is less expensive and gas furnaces use very little energy. Front loader washers also use less energy and 40% less water than top loaders.
Change AC and furnace filters regularly. This is one most of us know, but often forget to keep up. Schedule this item as a to-do on your calendar! Dirty HVAC filters slow air flow and make your mechanicals work harder to maintain thermostat settings. Reduce your water heater temperature to 130℉ and wrap your water heater with a specifically-designed blanket to retain heat. Less work for your water heater means more money in your pocket.
What changes have you made to make your home more efficient? Give us your tips in the comments below!