It’s a moment you fear every month – opening your monthly energy bill.
Why are your energy bills so frightening? Because they have doubled and tripled over the years and it is wreaking havoc on your bank account.
You’re likely wondering “Why is my energy bill so high?” There are several high energy bill causes, from poor insulation to vampiric appliances, but what can you do to conquer this challenge?
RetroFoam of Michigan has insulated more than 10,000 homes across the lower peninsula, helping those homeowners create homes that are not only more comfortable but also more energy efficient. Recently we were inducted into a special club – the Home Performance with Energy Star 2019 Century Club. We received this recognition for our work to help homeowners save money on their monthly energy bills.
That’s quite enough about us, let’s discuss what you can do to get those high energy bills down.
Things to Do When You Have High Energy Bills
From installing a programmable thermostat to washing clothes in cold water, here are some of the ways you can combat high energy bills.
- Use a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat can work wonders when you’re trying to reduce the amount of energy you’re using. Just setting your thermostat 7 to 10 degrees in either direction during the summer or winter can save you as much as 10 percent on heating and cooling costs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
During the winter months, the DOE recommends setting your thermostat to 68 degrees when you’re home and awake. When you’re asleep or gone, it is recommended to lower it even further. In the summer, setting your thermostat at 78 degrees when you’re home and raising the temperature when you’re gone is suggested.
A programmable thermostat can make this easier to schedule and set your temperature without the inconvenience of trying to remember to do it before you leave.
- Lower the temperature on your water heater. The water heater is undeniably another place that is costing you money on your monthly energy bills. This is because the heater is storing water and keeping it warm.
I know we all love a good hot shower but turning down the temperature just a few degrees can help reduce your monthly energy bill. The ideal temperature is 120 degrees.
Another helpful tip is to shut your water heater off if you go on vacation or will be gone for a long period of time.
- Don’t leave electronics on standby. They are here to suck your energy. That might sound a little dramatic, but your computer, gaming system, tablet, and other devices aren’t shutting off – they’re just going to sleep.
While taking this little nap, these devices are performing updates, downloading content, and sucking up energy. More than 10 percent of your energy bill can be linked directly to these energy vampires, according to the DOE.
- Wash clothing in cold water. It may not seem like it, but the amount of energy used to wash a load of laundry can be pretty substantial. That’s why adjusting the temperature can help.
Your water heater has to work pretty hard to provide warm water to your washing machine. This alone uses a considerable amount of energy. By washing your clothing in cold water, you are cutting down the amount of energy needed to do laundry.
- Switch light bulbs and appliances to energy efficient models. Did you know about a third of the electricity you use in your home is for lighting and your appliances like your dishwasher, refrigerator, oven, and washer and dryer account for another 13 percent?
Energy efficient light bulbs, like CFLs and LEDs, can save between $30 to $75 on monthly energy bills. They also last 10 to 25 times longer than incandescent light bulbs.
Next up are Energy Star rated appliances. These appliances are more energy efficient, meaning they will save you more money. If you’re in the market to replace any of your appliances, Energy Star is the way to go.
- Run and clean your appliances to make them more efficient. Even with Energy Star appliances if you don’t run them efficiently and keep them clean, they could end up costing you money.
We all do it – we forget to clean the lint filter or change out the air filters for the air conditioner and furnace. If you want to lower your energy bills, you’ll need to remember to keep your appliances clean so they run more efficiently.
- Extreme weather is out of your control. The one thing that is out of your control when it comes to monthly energy bills is the weather. This is because around half of your bill is your heating and cooling costs.
If you’re experiencing a cold snap or an extreme heatwave, there’s not much you can do. Keep your thermostat set at 78 degrees in the summer and 68 degrees in the winter and try to dress accordingly.
- Seal leaks around doors and windows. If air is leaking around your windows and doors, it’s costing you money.
You can purchase a can of spray foam at your local hardware store for this as a DIY project. You can remove the frame around the window or door.
The best method to insulate around the window or door and ensure the cavity is full is to just remove the frame. This is a much easier process as well. Once you have removed the frame, if there is any old insulation, you should first remove that and then spray the canned foam around the gap.
- Add an air seal to your home with insulation. If you are noticing air leaks in your home then you likely need to update your insulation.
You have options when it comes to insulation for your home as there is fiberglass, cellulose, and foam. It’s up to you to choose the best insulation for your existing home, so you’ll need to do your research first. If you want to create the suggested air seal in your home, then foam insulation is the best way to go. This is because foam insulation creates an air seal that isn’t possible with fiberglass and cellulose.
Creating an Energy Efficient Home
Making your home more energy efficient will help to reduce your monthly energy bills.
All of the tips above will help you get well on your way to energy efficiency. Just think of what you can do with all of the money you’ll be saving each month. Maybe it’s time to take that vacation you’ve been dreaming of?
About Amanda Ringler
Amanda previously has worked as a breaking news and crime reporter, TV news producer, and editor in Flint and Detroit. Throughout her career as a journalist, she has won several awards from The Society of Professional Journalists - Detroit Chapter and the Michigan Press Association. As part of the RetroFoam of Michigan family, Amanda uses her experience as a journalist to write content that will help educate homeowners on the benefits of foam insulation. When Amanda isn’t writing, she’s spending time with her husband and rescued huskies. She also loves knitting, making art, cooking, and hosting dinner and a movie night for friends and family.