$160 billion is a huge amount of money. But that’s how much Americans spend annually on heat, air conditioning and electricity.
For the majority of homeowners, high energy bills are the result of insufficient energy conservation. If you make your home more energy efficient, you’ll be able to take up to 20 to 30 percent off your total bill. And it isn’t as hard to do as you might think.
The first step in making your home more energy efficient is to locate the problem areas. If you’re unsure of what to look for, hire a professional to assess your home and energy use. A home energy audit can spot wasted energy – which is wasted money for you. Some energy companies include a free audit, so be sure to check with yours.
A professional will look to see if your windows and doors have leaks around them and if the air ducts in your home are sealed properly. Just a couple of leaks in the attic can take up 30 to 50 percent of your home’s heat, and unsealed air ducts can reduce the efficiency in your home by up to 40 percent.
Here are some other bright ideas that can make a big difference in your energy bill:
• Use energy efficient light bulbs – Not only do they last up to 15 times longer than ordinary bulbs, but they also use 80 percent less electricity.
• Turn off those lights – When you leave a room, always turn off any lights you used.
• Buy energy efficient appliances – They cost less to run and over time will give you considerable savings on your electricity bill.
• Save on hot water – Use “economy” programs on your washing machine, or consider washing your laundry with cold water.
• Install a low-flow showerhead – And also reduce your shower time by just a few minutes.
• Unplug electrical devices not in use. Phone chargers, speakers, microwaves and TVs are still using electricity when turned off or on standby.
• Turn your heat down – Reducing your thermostat by just 1 degree will take 10 percent off your heating bill.
• Insulate your attic – Attic insulation will keep the heat in your home for longer and pay for itself in 2 to 3 years.
There you have it! In just a few easy steps, you can reduce your energy consumption and your electric bills.