Families are always looking for ways to save money, especially during the winter, and throughout the holiday season. They may not be spending as much on holiday gift shopping, or they may not be as willing to go out to eat or spend money on entertainment outside the house.
The thing they haven’t done, although it could help them save the most over the long run, is looking for ways to save money right inside the home. A few practical tips could result in big saving over the entire year, not just during winter.
Change Furnace Filters Every Month
If you have the disposable furnace or air conditioning filters, buy them in bulk so you can change the filters every month. What many people don’t realize is that these filters get dirty fast. A dirty filter prevents efficient airflow, making your furnace or air conditioner work harder, costing you more money on your utilities. A clear air filter may also allow you to turn the heat down in the winter and turn the air conditioning up in the summer.
Use a Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat is an excellent energy-saving investment. It will allow you to set your heat or air conditioner to the desired temperature during the day and at night. You can even turn the heat or air conditioning down or up when no one is at home, and have it automatically go back on so the home is comfortable by the time people return. When you have a programmable thermostat, the internal mechanism recognizes when the temperature is where it should be, so the system only turns itself on when necessary.
Clean Refrigerator Coils and Dryer Vents Regularly
If you have a refrigerator that isn’t built into the wall, you should be able to reach the back with a special refrigerator coil brush to clean the coils. Removing the dust from the back will keep the device from having to work harder, thus decreasing the energy it uses.
The same applies to dryer vents and the lint trap. Clogged dryer vents present a fire risk, but also make the dryer run less efficiently. You can buy vacuum cleaner attachments to suck lint out of the vent hose, and a brush will remove lint from the depths of the lint trap.
Install Motion Sensors on Light Switches
If you have kids who constantly leave lights on in every room they enter, consider installing motion sensors on light switches. It won’t matter if someone forgets to turn the light off when they leave the room because the motion sensor does it automatically.
Use Timers on Lights
Use timers to turn indoor, outdoor or holiday lights on and off. You can set the timer so the lights go on at the time you want, while making sure the timer goes off at the time you choose. You can use this to make people think you’re home when you aren’t, or as a way to conserve electricity by having lights go on so you can see the path and entry to your home at night.
Use Power Strips and Battery Chargers
Instead of plugging appliances or devices directly into the wall, plug them into power strips that have an on-off switch. By doing this, you can turn off the power strip and keep your appliances and devices from becoming vampires that use unnecessary energy.
To charge cellphones or tablets, use rechargeable battery chargers that have a micro USB to USB cord. By using this to charge your device instead of plugging it in, you don’t consume any energy, and you can recharge the charger either by plugging it into a computer USB port, or by plugging that into the wall. You can also buy more expensive chargers that recharge several devices at the same time.
Make your Own Cleaning Solutions
Rather than spending money on a ton of different cleaning products you can simplify things. For heavy duty cleaning, mix white vinegar with baking soda. The baking soda works well as an abrasive to scrub things, and the acid in the vinegar cleans grease and other residue. Use vinegar to clean the toilet, windows, mirrors, counter surfaces and more.
Use Washable Cleaning and Dusting Cloths
Instead of buying disposable dusting or sweeper cloths, buy a floor duster or mop that allows you to use washable pads. If possible, purchase one that works with wet or dry cloths. The same applies to dusters for every area of the house. You can find systems that are designed to allow multiple different attachments to connect to a long handle, and the dusting cloths are removable for machine washing. You’ll save money by not having to keep replacing the cloths, and you’ll also reduce the amount of garbage you have.
Think about the way you do things in your house. Keep your appliances free of dust and dirt and they’ll use less energy. Be mindful of the way you use electricity, and leaving things plugged in when they aren’t in use.
By taking the time to look at your energy use throughout the year, and thinking about things you always take for granted, you will be able to save money on your utility costs, while reducing your family’s carbon footprint in the process.