Have your household energy and water bills been higher than you like recently? A few small changes around the house could have a big impact on your utility bills. Conserving energy and water at home also gives you the added bonus of going green and doing your part to save the environment. Some methods of saving energy require an initial investment, such as solar panels. Others require very little time and money to cut down on energy use. The following are a few simple ways to get started.
Ways to Conserve Energy
Most households will see their energy usage spike in the winter, when more heat is needed to warm the home. You can combat this by insulating your water heater to avoid heat loss. Put your thermostat on an automatic timer so that it’s not on during the day when your family’s at work or school. You can also turn it down at night, and use extra blankets instead of relying solely on your heater. These simple practices can save you up to 10% each year on your heating bills. In warm weather, try to minimize air conditioner use and run ceiling fans whenever possible.
Another way to save energy and lower bills is by turning off the lights whenever you leave the room. Switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs can make a big different in energy bills, because they give off less heat but just as much light as regular incandescent bulbs. This small investment can save a bundle. Take a look at your kitchen appliances and replace those that are particularly inefficient, choosing those with Energy-Star ratings instead. Installing an instant hot water tap can save you the energy of using an electric kettle each time you need to make a cup of tea.
Ways to Conserve Water
The type of appliances you have can also determine how much water you use. One of the biggest uses of water in any household is when washing dishes. Choose an energy-efficient dishwasher, and be sure to only run it when you have a full load. Scrape plates rather than rinsing them before putting them in the dishwasher, to save even more water. In the bathroom, repair any plumbing leaks as soon as you notice them. A single leaky toilet can waste over 900 litres of water each day! Shorten showers if possible, and turn off the water during shaving or brushing your teeth.
Rather than running the tap to wait for drinking water to cool down, install a water cooler to provide fresh, filtered water instantly. This also will save you money on purchasing bottled water if you don’t like the taste of what comes out of the tap. In the garden, water plants in the morning to allow more water to soak into the soil. More water evaporates during the middle of the day, when the sun is at its peak. Try to use dishwashing water or bathwater in the garden to reduce outdoor water consumption. You can also collect water in rain barrels for this purpose.
Although these are all small actions, they can really add up over time. By conserving water and electricity whenever possible, you may save a significant amount of money over the course of a year and do your part to help the environment at the same time.