With utility bills seemingly always on the rise, most of us are looking for ways to cut home energy costs. Thankfully we are having a mild winter and are saving money on oil or gas, but we can always do more to save a few dollars.
AARP offers these free and easy things anyone can do to help cut their home energy expenses throughout the year.
- Open curtains, blinds, or shades on south facing windows in winter and let the sun warm your rooms. In summer, close window coverings on east and west facing windows to keep rooms cool.
- Close the fireplace damper when the fireplace is not in use to prevent heated air from escaping up the chimney. After burning a fire, be sure all embers are out before closing the damper.
- Turn off lights in unoccupied rooms and kitchen and bathroom ventilating fans after they’ve done their job. If left on, ventilating fans can blow a house full of heated or cooled air out quickly.
- Take showers instead of baths and set the hot water heater at 120°. You’ll use less water and reduce water consumption and heating costs.
- Run clothes and dishwashers only when you have a full load. Use the cold water setting on your clothes washer when possible to reduce water heating costs.
- Unplug block-type chargers, such as phone, computer, small appliance, and toy chargers, from the wall when not in use. If the charger is plugged into the wall it is still on and consuming energy even if you aren’t charging.
- Clean the lint filter in your clothes dryer after every load and periodically clean the vent. Lint buildup in the filter can cause the dryer to run longer, wasting energy. Lint in the vent can lead to a fire.
- Turn ceiling fans on low and set blades to force warm air near the ceiling down in winter. Do the reverse in summer, making the blades turn in the opposite direction so cooled air will be forced up.
- Clean vents, registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators for maximum heating or cooling output and make sure they aren’t blocked by curtains, furniture, or carpeting.
10. Use heat generating appliances such as clothes dryers and ovens during the coolest time of day. This reduces the load on your air conditioner in the summer and helps heat the house in the winter.
If you’re having trouble paying your energy bill, you could be eligible for help with home heating and cooling costs through the Federally-funded Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). To receive assistance, you must meet certain household income and other eligibility requirements.
For more information about LIHEAP, call the National Energy Assistance Referral (NEAR) project toll-free at 1-866-674-6327, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m.-5 p.m. (Mountain Time). NEAR is a free service that provides information on where you can apply for LIHEAP assistance. You can also email email@example.com or contact your state’s LIHEAP office.