I often find that the area of home energy consumption is one that has lots of financial leaks that largely go unnoticed. Since we don’t necessarily “see” the money spent on energy, it’s hard to remember that we do have some control over how much we spend on energy in our homes. As our family works toward a more self-sufficient lifestyle, here are some of the things we’ve learned about controlling energy costs in our home:
1. There are alternatives to traditional energy costs. You can cut down on home heating costs by installing an indoor or outdoor wood heating stove system. Of course, this would only be cost-effective if you have access to a free wood source. You can also change your energy consuming habits: wash your clothes in cold water, and hang dry them on a clothes line or drying rack, instead of using a traditional clothes dryer. Install energy saving shower heads in your home bathrooms. Turn down the thermostat when you’re away or asleep. You won’t notice the colder temps, and you’ll save money in the process. Look for “hidden” energy siphoning products, like unused appliances that are kept plugged in, or lights that are being left on. Work, too, to educate yourself on other ways to save money on energy costs.
2. Competition can be used to your advantage. If there is more than one energy provider in your area, subtly and politely engage them in a price war. Don’t just take what you’re offered – shop around. Companies such as Make it Cheaper make it easy for you to determine which energy company is going to give you the most energy for your dollar. You can also use competition in other ways: find the light bulbs with the lowest amount of energy output. Use washers and dishwashers that require the least amount of water to do their job. High efficiency appliances abound in home improvement stores these days: see which ones will be the most cost-effective for your needs.
3. Minimize your electricity needs. Instead of watching television for 5 hours a day, spend some of that time with the TV off, and read a book or play games. Keep the heat temperature down and bundle up. I’ve got a friend that keeps their heat set at a chilly 58 degrees. They put on an extra sweater or two, and save hundreds of dollars a year on heating costs. Instead of heating the home at 75 degrees to keep the fish safe and warm, buy a heater for your fish tank and turn down the heat. Mix your baked goods by hand instead of with an electric mixer, and thaw your meat in the refrigerator overnight instead of using the microwave.
By using the above tips, you can easily cut your home energy costs by twenty-five percent or more. I know, because we’ve done it in our home. There are all sorts of ways to minimize electricity costs in the home if you’re willing to look for them, so start today!