My whole family makes fun of my grandparents for keeping it freezing cold inside their house in the winter. Their go-to line when anyone complains that it’s cold in their house? “Put on a(nother) jacket!” I was one of the complainers until I moved into my first apartment and saw my first energy bill. Yikes. Who thought that heat and hot water could cost so much?
The good news is that your energy bill is one that is completely under your control. After my boyfriend and I made some energy-conserving changes in our one-bedroom apartment, the energy bill fluctuates between $36 (winter) and $130 (summer). Not too bad, right?
Here’s what we did to lower our energy bill:
Ignore your thermostat in WINTER. This may seem impossible, but in reality it’s not so bad especially in the winter. There’s no need to be comfortable in shorts and a tank top in the middle of winter, inside or not. We keep our thermostat on 68 in the winter–and we don’t turn the heat on at all until it gets really freezing. I follow my grandparents advice and put on a jacket or sweater inside, or cuddle up under a blanket. It saves serious cash. At night, put on warm pajamas and an extra blanket (or get cozy flannel duvet covers) and turn the heat way down to save 8 hours of use.
Ignore your thermostat in SUMMER. This is harder because there’s only so many layers of clothes you can remove to stay cool! Use ceiling fans first before cranking on the air conditioning because they cost less. Turn off the air when you’re away at work and set it lower when you arrive home at night (saves you 8 hours of use!). Open windows (and shut off the thermostat) on cool summer nights to let in fresh air.
Monitor air vents when you do use your heater/AC and make sure you don’t have furniture or carpet blocking where the air comes in! We realized we had a suitcase against the wall–er, against a vent–and moved it to help use air more efficiently. Also, make sure the vents are not covered in dust.
Use natural light on cold days to light the room and bring extra heat in. Close those blinds or drapes on hotter days to avoid extra heat entering your apartment. Drapes with a thicker liner are more effective at blocking out sunlight (and thus heat).
**Our thermostat is what determines our energy bill cost! In the summer when we turn on the air conditioning, it spikes up (as you see!). So sacrifice what you can to save serious cash!
Turn off lights that you’re not using. I’m notorious for leaving lights on when I leave the room, which is something I fixed in order to save money. If you have a lamp on, turn off the over-head light. If you’re done looking for a clean shirt, shut off the closet light. If you have other lights on, turn off the hall light. Be frugal with this and it can save you a little each month.
Use less hot water, meaning don’t let it run while you do dishes or shave and try to take quicker showers. Plus, use cold water whenever possible to save money from heating water for no reason.
Unplug electronics when you’re not using them. It’s true, people–some electronics (coffeemaker, TV, DVD player, computer etc.) use energy while plugged in even when they are turned off! This is a bit strenuous, but make sure to unplug anything you don’t really use that you usually leave plugged in.
Some of these tips take more effort than others, but I’m sure you’ll think it’s worth it when you’re pocketing an extra $100 per month in winter, and saving extra cash in the summer too.
Have time to read over 100 ways to save? See this article from Consumer Energy.