If you’ve ever opened your energy bill and gasped in horror, it’s probably because the number you saw was unexpected and huge. A lot of people dread high energy bills. The good news is that most don’t actually have to be so high. By knowing some tips and tricks to drive down those costs, you can reduce energy bill shocks. No, we’re not talking about investing in solar panels (hugely expensive initial investment, though worthwhile long-term). We’re also not telling you to measure your costs, which requires quite a bit of dedicated time and hard-earned dollars. The tips and tricks we’re going to tell you about won’t require a huge amount of money or effort to implement. They’re just going to require changes in how you go about your day. We promise, it’s not as scary as it sounds.

Heating and Air Conditioning: We all live in different climates. Someone who lives in sunny California is not going to use the same amount of heat as someone who lives in Ontario, for example. However, there are things that both can do to save a little money with their heating or A/C. First, you’ll want to check your vents. It sounds ridiculous, but you’d be surprised how many vents you might find closed. While there’s a popular myth circulating that closed vents actually cut down on costs, this isn’t true at all. Open vents allow the air to circulate better, which means your heating and air unit doesn’t have to work quite so hard. Second, make sure that you’re using an air filter. Ideally, you’ll replace this filter monthly, but most people do it once in the spring and again in autumn. Air filters help to trap dirt and debris, as well as a lot of other things you don’t want to have floating about. But left dirty, they restrict air flow.

Promote Airflow: Circulating air helps to heat and cool a space properly. If your home doesn’t have ceiling fans, invest in some standing fans. These require a lot less energy than your heating or cooling system and come relatively cheap, especially at the turn of the season. If your home does have ceiling fans, check the settings. If the weather is hot, you’ll want your fan to spin counterclockwise, which will help move air up and out. If the weather outside is cold, make sure your ceiling fans spins clockwise, which helps to trap heat inside.

Washer and Dryer Use: Surprisingly, lowering energy costs by way of your washer and dryer won’t take much effort. Did you know that heating water in your washer accounts for most of the energy your machine uses? It’s true. By washing with cold water, you can actually reduce energy costs. You can also choose to tumble dry your clothes or hang dry them instead, which will help to reduce dryer costs. Finally, do your laundry early in the morning or late in the day.

Many energy companies designate ‘peak hours’ for energy costs. During these peak hours there is widespread energy usage. Outside these designated hours, the costs for energy may actually be lower. Speak with an energy company representative and inquire about peak hours. By simply doing your laundry outside of those hours, you will reduce your energy costs.

 

Dishwashers: In order to do what they’re made to do, some heat is required to operate a dishwasher. While there’s no real way to avoid this, there are still ways you can cut energy costs. First, override the heated dry setting, if you have the capability. Air drying your dishes takes no energy at all, and when you use a rinsing agent in addition to dish soap, you won’t have to worry about water spots. Second, load your dishwasher correctly. Where you place dishes does matter, and it’s wise to read the manual (or look online) and learn how to properly load dishes in your unit. Finally, invest in a good detergent, not a bargain brand.

 

These are just a few ways you can alter the size of your home energy bill. What are some ways you’ve reduced energy use in your home?