During the winter, energy use inevitably goes up along with the bill. During this season of extra costs, it’s important to cut them where you can. Now that Richmond’s climate is catching up with the season, here are 10 tips to save money on your utility bill this winter.
Small Changes Make a Big Difference. These simple tips cut corners on your bill as well as lessen your environmental impact.
1. The first tip is a no-brainer: turn off your lights when you’re not using them. You can also change out your old-fashioned light bulbs for power saving LEDs. Hate the blue tinge? Don’t worry, LED light bulbs are no longer what they used to be. You can find them in a variety of warm hues!
2. Lowering the thermostat by 2 degrees and putting on a sweater can save you about $180 a year according to GreenLiving.
3. Make sure the dishwasher is full before you turn it on, dishwashers are more efficient when full and consistently use less water than hand-washing.
4. Check out new shower-head technology. There are modern showerheads that use only a little over a gallon a minute while running as opposed to older shower heads that can dump 9 or more gallons in just one minute! Why not make it a project with the little ones. Teach them good conservation skills and time your shower head with a stop-watch and a bucket.
5. Do your laundry all at once. Dry two or more loads of laundry in a row to take advantage of an already warm dryer and clean the lint filter before every load. A clogged filter can increase energy use by up to 30 percent!
Intermediate measures. While not rocket science, these steps require a little more effort, like picking up the phone, or a dedicated afternoon.
6. Insulate, insulate, insulate! Insulating your hot water pipes can keep them from freezing, insulating your attic can keep hot air from escaping, insulating your floors can keep cold air from seeping in.
*Side Note: If you’re in a historical home that brings Richmond so much charm, you can take extra measures to banish draughts— it can pay to plaster over those ancient wall vents that are no longer in use. Seal off unused chimneys, fill in cracks, gaps, and holes around doors, windows, floorboards. Close air conditioning ceiling vents in winter.
7. Install double pane, energy efficient windows. This will make your home energy efficient year round and increase the value of your home!
8. Check your heaters and air conditioning. A homeowner should have their systems checked at least every two years by a qualified technician, especially gas heaters. It helps with efficiency as well as guards against exposure to poisonous carbon monoxide gas. Make sure heating and cooling filters be changed regularly for efficiency and air purity as well. Changing your furnace filter every two months can increase its efficiency by 50 percent.
9. Forego the Garage Fridge— Either just during the winter, or altogether. That inefficient decade's old fridge can eat up energy and your hard earned money. When looking to replace big-ticket items such as kitchen appliances, check out the advantages Energy Star models. Also, simply cleaning the condenser coil on the fridge can improve its efficiency.
10. Install a timer on your water heater and furnace to turn it off at night and back on just before you wake up in the morning. Not using electricity to heat water when you’re not using it makes total sense!
BONUS: Make sure you’re getting all the discounts and help you qualify for.
If you’re a resident of Virginia, Dominion Power offers a variety of programs and discounts that you may qualify for!
- Senior, Military, and Employee Discounts
- Energy assistance programs for low-income households.
For more information on costcutting tips visit GreenLivingOnline.com
WandaFears, Realtor ABR CRS GRI WCR
Richmond, Va. Long and Foster Realtors