Save Money by Reducing Your Energy Costs

Your electric bill

When it comes to saving money, consumers are learning to be creative. Not only are they cutting back on big ticket items, now they are scrutinizing small necessary bills. The home is no longer a place where bills are “just paid”, rather everything from electric to phone bills are getting the once over.

One of the biggest drains on any paycheck is the electric bill. Everyone needs it and companies know that. They hike prices to bring in more money. Not that it is totally their fault, however. Oil and commodity prices are increasing and the recession’s effect means that most likely costs will continue to rise. For this reason, consumers are hard-pressed to find new ways of saving when it comes to electricity.

Cut down on costs

According to the Energy Information Administration’s Short-Term Energy Outlook, electricity prices are expected to rise 4.7% this year, and another 3.3% the year after. Finding ways to cut back on usage is the only way consumers will be able to manage the added cost. Here are some ways to streamline electricity costs.

HVAC Inspection. Having an HVAC system inspected is the first way to save electric costs. The ventilation, heat and air conditioning system of a house provide many ways to drain energy. A professional inspection costs anywhere from $50 to $100, however the savings are worth it. For example, if a $75 inspection finds a leaking air duct, it can end up saving hundreds over the lifespan of a machine. For anyone wanting to replace units, going with Energy Star-rated appliances can also bring down costs considerably.

Programmable Thermostats. A programmable thermostat can help reduce energy consumption. Programming it to a lower temperature in winter and higher in the summer is a great way to cut back on costs. Most Americans spend eight to ten hours a day away from the home and don’t need to keep the home regulated at the same temperature they would if they were home. According to a study done by EnergyStar.gov, a programmable thermostat that is regulated for eight-hours a day to a less strenuous temperature can save $180 annually.

Insulating and sealing. An inspector can help find leaks along windows, doors, attics and basements. Simple caulk and weather-stripping are basic tools that are used to cut down energy waste in a home. EnergyStar.gov reports that sealing up leaks and insulating it properly can save up to 20% in electric costs. There is also a 30% energy efficiency federal tax credit of up to $1,500 for improvements.

Time-of-use plans. These are newer plans that some electric companies are now offering. They allow consumers to choose lower rates for energy consumption during their off-peak hours. To even out the package, consumers have to pay more for the peak hours, but for some consumers it can save money. Homeowners are encouraged to study their daily habits and see if the discounts can help them cut costs.

Saving money post-recession

Almost every consumer is looking to save money these days and cutting back on electricity costs is one of the easiest ways to do it. Finding money in today’s difficult financial time means scrutinizing everyday costs and electricity is one of the biggest. It may take some upfront investment of time and money, but in the end a lowered electric bill will make up for the efforts.

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