Saving on your utility bills

As I write this post, it’s 32 degrees in Windsor, Connecticut. My electric and gas bills came in today and I started to think about how high those bills will get. This year, Jeff and I have done a lot of help lower our energy bills. Here are a few of the things we’ve done that you can do to help save on your energy bills:

1. Get a home energy audit. Many states have funds to provide free energy audits to renters and homeowners. These funds are paid from fees you pay on your electric or gas bills. Call your utility company to see if your state has a program like this. In Connecticut, the program is fantastic. The crew came in with equipment that detects air leaks. They sealed around our windows, put foam in cracks in the basement, put in energy efficient light bulbs where we didn’t have them, changed our shower and faucet heads to low flow heads and gave us a kill-a-watt energy monitor. They also gave us suggestions, like filling the space in our garage around the fireplace with heat-proof foam. We didn’t realize how much heat we were losing until we completed that job. It took us about five minutes and we can feel the difference upstairs. They would have also wrapped our water pipes in the basement, but we already did that. We’ve also wrapped our hot water heater.

2. We purchased an Energy Detective and had it installed. This little device monitors your energy usage on a real-time basis. We monitored the unit to see what our baseline electricity usage is. Now, if we look at the device, we can tell if we’ve left something on in the house. This thing has saved us a ton of money each month.

3. We purchased Smart Surge Protector for the computers and the television. When you plug your computer into the main plug and all your accessories into the “subplugs”, when your computer goes into hibernate mode, all the accessories are turned off. We do the same thing with our TV. We plugged the TV into the main plug and all of our peripherals into the “subplugs”. When we turn off the TV, the power is cut to the receiver, the cable box, and the video game systems. Remember, there are so many things in your house that draw power even when they are off. The Smart Surge cuts the power completely. Huge money saver… HUGE!

4. Make sure your heating system is running to its peak performance. Call your HVAC man (or woman) to have your annual maintenance done on your system. Also, make sure that you change your filters often. We have cats, so we change ours about once a month. If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, you need one of those also. It will automatically turn down the heat at night, then turn it back up before you wake up and back down again when you go to work. We saved at least 50 a month during the winter after we had this installed and programmed.

This winter, I’m being really cheap. I have my heat set at 55 degrees so the pipes don’t freeze. I wear a sweater or sweatshirt around the house and a nice pair of hand knit socks. I currently have a fire roaring in the fireplace. When I know I’m going to be working from home, I’ll start a fire in the morning when I wake up and by the time we go to bed, the fireplace has heated up the entire house. We also got an electric blanket. I turn it on while getting ready for bed, then turn it off before going to sleep. It’s nice getting into a warm bed at night. I find it relaxes me and helps me go to sleep. Bonus, right?

So, what are you doing to save on your energy bills? I want to hear how you are klinging to your cash.

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