How to Save on the Cost of Utilities When Moving to a Larger Space
So you've outgrown your old place and are moving to a larger space — or maybe you just closed on a new home. Congrats! While there's no doubt that it's exciting, you've probably spent a pretty penny in moving costs. And with more square footage, the cost of utilities will shoot up, too.
Here are some ways you can save on the cost of utilities.
Go for cost-effective light bulbs. You know those traditional incandescent light bulbs? It turns out that 90 percent of the energy they use is given off as heat, not light. Instead, choose energy-efficient light bulbs, such as CFLs and LEDs. While they cost more upfront, they use less energy and will save you money in the long run. LEDs, for instance, use only 25 to 30 percent of the energy of incandescent bulbs and can last up to 25 times longer.
You may want to fill your swanky new place with upgraded appliances. As you go shopping, look for energy-efficient models. Older appliances consume more energy. This, in turn, wastes money. For instance, replacing a 20-year-old fridge with one certified by Energy Star can save you hundreds of dollars over five years.
Don't stop thinking about your appliances' efficiency once the delivery people drive away, either. Even when you don't have the appliance on, it's still eating up electricity if it's plugged into an outlet. This is known as standby power, and according to the U.S. Department of Energy, it makes up 5 to 10 percent of energy use in homes each year, costing you about $100 annually. So when not in use, unplug appliances and devices. Of course, some appliances, like your fridge or alarm clock, are best left plugged in.
To keep it simple, group devices together and plug them into a power strip. That way you can turn off several standby power consumers at once with a single flip of a switch.
Heating and Cooling
Use air conditioning wisely. Heating and cooling make up more than half of the energy use in a typical household. Your air conditioner is a drain on your wallet. While the energy costs of running the AC vary according to the type of system and where you live, if you run a central AC for six hours a day at a cost of 14 cents per kilowatt, it could cost you around $100 a month. Try to avoid using AC if possible. Instead, use a fan or open the windows to let in the breeze. When cooking or showering, use a fan to stave off the heat.
If you can't avoid using the AC entirely, you can limit your expenses by bringing down the temperature a minimal number of degrees. Don't crank your unit up, but start on a lower setting and adjust higher if needed. You can also reduce how hard your AC has to work by making sure it fits snugly into the window. Otherwise, cold air could leak outside.
Feel a draft? Warm air escaping or cold air sneaking into your home through windows and other cracks can ramp up your heating bill, especially during the winter. Caulk and weatherstrip windows so air doesn't leak out. If you replace old windows with energy-efficient ones, you can save $100 to $150 a year in heating costs. Search for other cracks in key places like the attic, doorways and the foundation.
While you may be spending more on a bigger place, being smart about conserving energy can help you save on the cost of utilities.