High energy prices and inflation continue to create headaches for many people trying to pay their bills. While we are fortunately seeing gas and energy prices decline, that doesn't mean it's been easy to manage recently. If you're looking to cut some costs down, try some of these energy-saving tips to put more money in your wallet!
Opening your windows isn't always the best move
Many of us instinctively go to open the windows when we want to cool the house down, but Encor by Epcor's Manager of Marketing Stephanie Begin explains it's better to actually keep the windows closed if you want to stay cool.
"Your windows can bring in a lot of the sun's heat, you can cool down the room by closing the blinds, curtains and windows during peak sunny hours and opening them up again when it cools down significantly at night to let the cool air in and lower the temperature inside your home," she said.
Even if your home is stuffy, Begin said to resist opening the windows as all the cool air will leave. In this case, a fan is the better option, especially if you have a ceiling fan.
'If you have a ceiling fan, use it. Turn your ceiling fan counter clockwise in the summer and clockwise in the winter. The ceiling fan is an unsung hero when it comes to those hot days and when heat is trapped inside a room. Turning those blades counter clockwise will push the air down."
Change up your laundry routine
According to Epcor's website, 90 per cent of the energy used when washing your clothes goes towards heating the water. If you switch to cold water for some of your loads, you'll save energy and your clothes will come out just as clean! It's also important to manage your load size; your washing machine will use the same amount of energy every time so make sure to run full loads instead of doing several small washes occasionally. However, just make sure it's not too full, because that can damage the drum of your machine.
You can also save a lot of money by managing how to dry your clothes as well! The most obvious solution is to airdry your clothes whenever possible, as this clearly saves energy by not using the dryer. When this isn't an option, Epcor recommends matching your fabric types in the dryer for consistent drying. Different fabrics dry at different rates, so if you're mixing heavy and light fabrics you may be waiting longer than you have to for the lighter ones to dry. And if you're going to be drying several loads in one day, try to do it as quickly as possible. If you put another load in right away, the dryer will still be hot, saving you the energy it would need to heat up again.
Try turning off or unplugging electronics more often
Turning electronics off will save electricity, this is perhaps one of the most redundant statements of all time. But what you may not be thinking about is how much energy is used even when some electronics are off. A lot of electronics continue to use power, especially things like gaming consoles that may be in a stand-by mode compared to being off.
"It's also a good idea to unplug your TV, computers, and gaming consoles when you're not using them, as they continue to draw energy wile they're in the off or stand-by mode. Instead of individually unplugging them all, for convenience use a power strip with an on-off strip, or a smart power strip that automatically turns off everything that's plugged into it when it's not in use," Begin said.
This also applies to chargeable things like your phone, laptop, tablet etc. Many of us probably leave our devices plugged in even when they're fully charged, which means power is being used for no reason.
"Keeping your chargers plugged in all day is not a good idea. You are drawing energy while things are plugged in and you Don't need to be. We call that vampire power, and it's a waste of energy in your home."
You may also sometimes leave your TV on absentmindedly, but Begin warns this can cause your monthly bill to skyrocket.
There's plenty you can do in the kitchen to cut down costs. One of the easier ones is keeping your fridge and freezer's seal clean! A dirty seal isn't as effective, so Begin says it's important to keep an eye on this.
"Pay attention to the seal on your fridge or freezer as it can get dirty, and your fridge will have to work harder to keep the food cold inside. A good way to test if it's clean is to close your fridge door and then try to slide a piece of paper between the door and seal. if you can, you have an issue. Just clean the door seal with soap and water and you'll get a tighter seal and more efficient fridge as a result."
While you're at the fridge, check to see how full it is. An overly stuffed fridge can prevent proper air circulation, which also makes your fridge work harder to keep your food cool.
When you're cooking, you can also use smaller appliances when available to save energy. If you have an air fryer or toaster oven, this could be a better option than using your oven, as smaller appliances consume less energy.
Some final notes to consider:
- keep curtains and furniture away from fans, ducts or registers. Besides being a fire hazard, blocking these means your furnace or AC has to work harder to cool or heat your home. Also, make sure to keep them clean.
- Switching to LED bulbs from incandescent can save you around $225 a year, according to the US department of energy.
- signing up for a fixed energy rate can help as well.