As a homeowner, you need to keep track of your spending. While average energy use and bills vary widely, one thing reigns true: energy is one of the largest recurring costs for homeowners. So, to maximize your savings and keep your energy budget on track, follow these tips:
Start with a Budget
Having a budget is one of the most important steps you can take toward financial stability. If you don’t know what you should be spending, you don’t know when you’re spending too much.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average annual electricity consumption for a U.S. residential utility customer was 10,632 kilowatt-hours (kWh), an average of about 886 kWh per month. You can find your usage on your monthly energy bill. Then, you can compare your home to the average.
Compile your energy bills and figure out your average monthly expense. Note: Energy bills can vary greatly depending on the season unless you have a fixed-rate energy plan. What matters is that you have a starting point. After you have those numbers, you can work toward decreasing—or sticking to—those costs wherever possible.
Set a Target
Once you know what you’re spending, set a realistic savings goal. For example, if your energy bill is 25% of your monthly expenses, make a goal to cut that down to 20% over the next six months. If your energy usage is higher than the average, aim to reduce your use to the average. Don’t try to do too much too quickly—results take time.
Work Toward Your Goal
Learn how much energy common household appliances use—some may use more than expected! When you can, cut down on the use of these appliances:
- Dryer – 1,800 to 5,000 watts
- Water heater – 1,125 to 4,000 watts
- Dishwasher – 1,800 watts
- Clothes iron – 800 to 2,000 watts
- Toaster – 800 to 1,500 watts
- Standard coffee maker – 750 to 1,250 watts
If you want to significantly change your home’s energy efficiency:
- Update your lighting to LEDs. Depending on the size of your home, this could be a small or substantial cost. LED bulbs are up to 75% more efficient than incandescent bulbs, so you’ll quickly see a return on the investment when you save money on your energy bills.
- Install a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats allow you to control the temperature of your home easily from your phone. You can set the temperature while you’re away, ensuring your space is heated and cooled efficiently.
- Upgrade to ENERGY STAR products. ENERGY STAR has a wide range of energy-efficient appliances, including refrigerators, freezers, washers, dryers, water heaters, HVAC systems, ceiling fans, and more.
If you’re not looking for an entire energy overhaul right now, that’s okay too. Little changes can go a long way in reducing your energy usage.
- Get an HVAC check-up to ensure your system is working properly and efficiently.
- Change your HVAC filter (at least once per season).
- Utilize sunlight where possible to cut back on lighting costs.
- Use window coverings during warmer months to keep the indoor temperature down.
- Seal leaks in any doors or windows in your home to keep warm/cool air out.
- Set your home’s temperature for energy efficiency (68°F during the day in the winter or 78⁰F during the day in the summer when you’re home). While you sleep/are away, raise or lower the temperature to capitalize on your savings.
- Unplug any devices or appliances that are not in use to reduce phantom loads.
- Wash your laundry with cold water. Nearly 90% of the energy used by a washing machine goes to heating the water.
Switching your home energy supplier is another way to reduce your monthly energy expenses. If you need advice on keeping your energy budget on track this year, contact the experts at UGI EnergyLink today!