4 ways to reduce your family’s gas and electricity bills
Wish you were still paying the same amount for your energy bills as you were before you had children? Your energy bills will inevitably rise the more people that there are in your home; however, it is likely that you’re overpaying anyway purely through bad habits that we all have. By reducing your usage and making small changes to your energy consumption, it is possible to revert back to a similar bill size as before. Finding ways to reduce your usage can sometimes be difficult, but follow the tips listed below and you’ll be on your way to hundreds of dollars in savings. So, let’s find out how.
1# Switch your energy provider
Switching energy provider is not yet available to everyone in the United States; however, there are now 32 states that have some form of choice. In most people’s understanding, each state has a single energy company that manages the transmission, distribution and supply of natural gas and electricity. You then pay this company for maintenance costs, distribution and a variable figure based on your usage. This was the case throughout the country, and still is in some states; however, the supply element of the cycle has now been open to competition in a number of states, meaning the unit rate for each fuel can be set differently, allowing you to switch to a cheaper provider. Here is a list of states in which you can switch provider:
|No choice||Electricity only||Natural gas only||Electricity and natural gas|
District of Columbia (DC)
If you are able to switch in your state, you can use a variety of ways to carry out the switch: the most popular method is to use an online comparison service such as Choose Energy or Power 2 Choose. This model has been built from European companies such as Selectra that have been active for over 10 years. They compare all tariffs that are available to you in your area and present them to you in an easy to understand format that allows you to follow through with the switch.
2# Buy energy efficient appliances
When it comes to switching our household appliances, it’s easy to place your immediate focus on the upfront cost; however, it’s extremely important to think about how efficient the appliance is in order to get a good idea of how much it’s going to cost you to operate in the long run. Nowadays it’s much easier to spot the efficient from the non-efficient through the various grading systems that have been put in place through companies within the industry.
Energy Star is one of the most comprehensive and ubiquitous systems that exists within stores at present, which rates on a percentage scale and is viewed as the definitive efficiency scale for white goods across the United States.
A fridge rated 20% by Energy Star on the efficiency scale uses on average 500 kWh of electricity per year, whereas a non-rated fridge made between 1990-1992 is likely to use a massive 1100 kWh per year, a huge 600 kWh difference for essentially the same appliance. By choosing a highly efficient appliance, especially for your white goods, you can save tens, if not hundreds of dollars per year, purely on running costs.
3# Switch your light bulbs
The type of lightbulb that you use in your home can make a serious impact on your electricity bills. According to the US Department of Energy, lighting makes up around 14% of the average electricity bill in the United States, which is an insanely high amount given the current lighting technology that we have at our disposal.
Many homes are still equipped with the older, incandescent style of lightbulb which inherently use way more energy than is necessary. By switching to LED or CFL bulbs you’d likely use 90% less electricity on lighting than you were previously. They’re roughly 10 times more efficient and thankfully not 10 times the price. It is estimated that by changing 10 old lightbulbs with 60W outputs that are switched on for an average of 10 hours per day, you’d save a massive $200.
4# Air dry your clothes
As a country, we Americans are not great when it comes to saving energy in the process of cleaning clothes. The drying machine has become a staple appliance that we rely on solely when it comes to drying our clothes. The cost of doing this, however, is unnecessarily high considering the free alternatives that we ignore every day.
Choosing to air dry your clothes on a washing line or drying rack could save you hundreds of dollars a year. Yes, it’s that simple. If you do around 7 loads a week, this is likely to cost you around $10.35 a month, amounting to over $100 every year, just for the drying of your clothes. Switching to air drying also provides you with a great chore for your children. This will also teach them the importance of living an eco-friendly lifestyle.
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