Lately, it seems like everywhere you look, prices are going up. Over the past two years, inflation has increased the cost of food, gas, electronics, clothing and more. In June 2022, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for All Urban Consumers went up by 9.1%, the largest 12-month increase since November 1981.
While inflation has slowed and some economists expect it to ease to 3% to 4% by the end of the year, many experts are warning that electric bills may continue to skyrocket. The director of the National Energy Assistance Directors Association, Mark Wolfe, predicts that average electricity prices in the United States could rise by 10% in 2023 and again in 2024.
This makes it more important than ever to keep your energy usage in check. While you may think you need to spend a ton of money on upgrades and equipment to improve your home’s energy efficiency, there are many budget-friendly changes and small household swaps that will go a long way toward lowering your energy bills. Get started today with these six tips.
1. Unplug Your Household Electronics
You may not realize it, but your home electronics use a lot of electricity, even when they’re not in use. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), approximately 75% of the electricity used by consumer electronics is consumed after they are turned off.
In the U.S. alone, the amount of energy consumed by unused electronic equipment equals the output of 12 power plants! So, pull those plugs to up your energy efficiency without spending a dime. When you have a bit of cash to spare, consider picking up a power strip, so it’s easy to disconnect several items at once.
2. Swap Out Your Lightbulbs
Did you know that replacing five of your home’s most frequently used lights with ENERGY STAR bulbs can lower your energy costs by up to $75 per year? Considering that an LED lightbulb costs around $3–$10 and lasts an average of 13 years, this is an excellent budget-friendly investment for your home. If you’re low on cash, consider replacing a few bulbs each month until you’ve replaced all of the bulbs inside and outside your home.
3. Make Smarter Water Choices
Avoid wasting water in your home by regularly inspecting your pipes and faucets for leaks and promptly fixing any problems you uncover, or install a Notion Multifunctional Sensor, which can immediately alert you of water leaks so you can address them right away. Also, consider installing low-flow shower heads to increase water pressure while also decreasing your water use, and always turn the water off while you brush your teeth.
When it comes time to do your laundry, try doing fewer, larger loads rather than smaller, more frequent loads. Consider using cold water instead of warm or hot water, particularly when the clothes aren’t heavily soiled. Not only will this lower your energy consumption, but you may also notice that your clothes bleed, fade and shrink less than they did when you washed them in warmer temperatures.
4. Be Strategic With Your Landscaping
Making strategic choices about your home’s landscaping can actually make it more energy efficient. For example, consider planting shade trees in areas where they will keep the sun’s rays away from your home. Choosing native flowers and plants can also reduce the amount of watering you need to do and may cut back on your fertilization and pesticide costs.
5. Use Less Artificial Heating and Cooling
You can use your heating and air conditioning system less often by opening your windows in the spring and fall when the temperatures are mild. Strategically choosing which windows to open so you create a cross-breeze, allowing you to naturally cool your home. You can also use ceiling fans to create a breeze that will allow you to raise your thermostat without sacrificing comfort.
Installing window coverings like shades, blinds or films can help you keep heat out when the temperatures rise. During the colder months, open the blinds or shades to allow the sun to naturally warm your home.
6. Take Advantage of Smart Home Technology
A smart thermostat can make a major difference in your energy bills. In fact, according to Energy.gov, turning the temperature in your home down by 7 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit for eight hours a day during the coldest months can lower your heating and cooling bills by as much as 10% per year. A programmable thermostat makes it easy to do this by allowing you to set different temperatures for the times of day when no one will be home.
Notion Sensors are another affordable upgrade that can improve your home’s energy efficiency. These multi-functional monitors can detect water leaks, room temperature fluctuations and open doors and windows, helping you take care of potential energy wasters before they become a costly problem. Plus, to keep your sensors even more eco-friendly, you can power them with lithium-ion rechargeable batteries.
Improve Your Home's Energy Efficiency Without Breaking Your Budget
These six tips will allow you to improve the energy efficiency in your home without spending a lot of money or making major renovations. Once you see just how easy it is to keep your energy bills in check, you may be inspired to make even bigger energy-saving updates.