Rake in Summer Savings the Lazy Way

This post Rake in Summer Savings the Lazy Way appeared first on Daily Reckoning.

Summer is here, and it is HOT.

Mind you, this week has been a bit of a reprieve from the oppressive heat, but last week was certainly a scorcher.

It got me thinking. 

When temperatures start rising, so do electric bills.

Obviously, where you live plays a big part in how much you end up paying on your monthly electricity bill.  Some places like Southern Louisiana for instance, have cheaper electricity, but scorching hot summers raise costs compared to more energy-expensive states like Northern California, where the climate is more temperate.

But no matter where you are, I have some tips that can help you save on your monthly bills.

The average US household spends about $112 a month on electricity according to the US Energy Information Administration. And a large portion of that is based on heating and cooling usage.

Is it worth moving to save a few bucks on electricity? Possibly.

Especially when you factor in “energy choice” states like Connecticut, Delaware, Washington D.C., Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Texas where you can negotiate cheaper contracts with providers.

But that’s a conversation for another day.

Today I’m giving you the lazy-man’s way to save on electricity.

No state hopping. No having to buy new energy-efficient appliances. No installing smart programmable thermostats. No extreme home makeovers to save a few hundred bucks on your electricity bill.

Why?

Because most of the big savings you’ll find on your monthly electricity bill don’t require a lot of money or investment.

These are my top 10 ways to save on electricity every month – the lazy way.

1. Fill the Cracks

Unless your home is brand new, there’s a good chance your windows and doors are leaking money.

Fill these cracks with caulk and weather-stripping to reduce drafts and your electric bill will drop dramatically.

According to Consumer Reports, sealing leaks in your home can reduce energy costs by 15 to 30%.

2. Use MAJAPs at Night

When it’s hot outside, avoid using your stove, washing machine, clothes dryer and dishwasher. All these major appliances (MAJAPs)  draw a lot of energy and typically produce heat.

This in turn causes your AC to work harder trying to maintain your home’s temperature. Also, depending on where you live, your electricity provider could offer reduced rates at different times of day.

Typically evening usage and weekends are cheaper than daytime during weekdays.

3. Use Ceiling Fans

Even if you have a central HVAC system, consider turning on your ceiling fans to help cool and heat rooms faster.

Fans push hot and cold air through your whole house so you can reach your room’s desired temperature a lot faster. Ceiling fans can save you up to $438 per year.

4. Wash Your Clothes in Cold Water

There’s no excuse for not washing the majority of your clothes in cold water.

Almost every detergent brand now dissolves just as well in cold as hot water at no additional cost and cold water proves to be less damaging to your fabrics.

Estimated savings for washing your clothes in cold water is around $150 per year.

5. Skip the Electric Dryer

If you have a yard and can set up a clothesline, do it.

But if space is limited or you’re worried about allergens, buy a few clothes drying racks off Amazon and hang dry heavier items like towels, jeans and sweatshirts.

Line-drying reduces average monthly electricity costs by $15.

6. Use a Slow Cooker

Avoid using your MAJAPs during the day but if you really want to cut costs, skip cooking in your oven altogether and use a crock pot or instant-pot.

Crock pots heat less of your house than traditional ovens and the best part is they require less work. Most crock pot meals are set it and forget it so you’ll save money and time using a slow cooker more often.

7. Reduce “Electricity Vampires”

Did you know 75% of the energy used by home electronics is consumed when they’re in standby?

These electricity vampires include TVs, computers, cable boxes, cellphone charging stations, and appliances – basically anything that holds a time or other settings.

Consumer Reports says that you can save $25 to $75 each year just killing these phantom electronics.

The easiest way to kill electricity vampires is to use power strips. Make it a habit of shutting off the strips between uses or buy a smart power strip that automatically shuts off when your electronics go in standby mode.

8. Turn Off Lights.

This one should be obvious.

Turning off lights you aren’t using or in rooms you’re not occupying saves a considerable amount of money every month.

Turning off a single 100-watt light bulb from running constantly saves around $131 per year.

If you really want to boost savings, switch all your lights to LED.

9. Raise/Lower the Temperature When You’re way

In the summer, raise your thermostat when you leave the house and in the winter lower it. There’s no sense cooling or heating an empty home.

Programmable thermostats are ideal for this but if you don’t have one, don’t think you have to go out and buy one.

Changing the temperature manually works fine too, it just takes more diligence.

10. Clean Air Filters Every 30 Days; Replace Every 3 Months

When your air filters are dirty your HVAC system has to work harder, which ends up costing you more money.

A good habit to get into is regularly cleaning and replacing your home’s air filters. Clean every 30 days and replace every 3 months is a good rule of thumb.

It might seem like your savings will be eaten up by the cost of replacement filters but that’s not the case.

Most people see savings from $20-$40 annually following this simple hack.

All of these hacks should add up to noticeable savings and don’t require much time or money.

To a richer life,

Nilus Mattive

— Nilus Mattive
Editor, The Rich Life Roadmap

The post Rake in Summer Savings the Lazy Way appeared first on Daily Reckoning.

The Household Chore That Can Save You Money

This post The Household Chore That Can Save You Money appeared first on Daily Reckoning.

The average household in America consumes 10,764 (kWh) in electricity each year at an average cost of $1,351.

If you have the bucks to spend, you can chop that bill by replacing older appliances with new energy-efficient ones.

But if you’re not ready to trash a perfectly good stove or air conditioner to save a few bucks on your power bill, here are some simple steps you can take without doing an extreme home makeover. 

Let’s start with the most energy-hungry room in your home. The…

1. Kitchen

Most of what we do in the kitchen relates to heating and cooling food. You can’t just stop cooking. But there are things you can do to reduce the amount of power you’re using.

Refrigerator/freezer

This is one of biggest energy hogs in your home because it cycles on and off all day, every day. 

Check the thermostat…

If the thermostat is set lower than necessary, your fridge might be consuming up to 25% more electricity than actually needed.

The refrigerator should be in the 35-38 degrees F range, the freezer 0-5 degrees F.

Stockpile the freezer…

When your freezer is empty and you open the door, warm air rushes in. Then it takes more energy to cool the air that is trapped inside.

So keep your freezer three-quarters full to maintain the proper temperature. That will help cut the amount of time the appliance is actively running.

Maintenance pays off, too…

Dust accumulates on the coils at the rear or bottom of your frig. That can restrict cool-air flow and force the compressor to work harder. Cleaning is an easy job. Just roll out the appliance and vacuum the mechanism every six months.   

Switch to ice trays…

Turn off the automatic icemaker. There should be a switch on the unit or a lever that you can move to shut it off.

I know… it’s nice to hold your glass under the dispenser and have ice cubes fall into it. But the motor inside is an energy hog. By using ice trays instead of the icemaker you could save money each year.

After your meals…

Let hot food cool down and properly wrap leftovers before storing. Hot food in a refrigerator forces the compressor to work extra hard and wastes energy. 

Dishwasher

It takes the same amount of water and electricity to run a dishwasher whether it’s half-empty or full. So run the dishwasher when it’s full.

And since much of the energy your washer uses is from the drying cycle at the end, set to air-dry instead of heat-dry.

Stove/oven

Use your microwave or toaster oven to heat up leftovers. They use less electricity than your convection oven.

Crock pots use less energy, too. Plus they won’t turn your kitchen into an oven.

Cover pots and pans while cooking. You’ll trap the heat inside and cut cooking times by about 10%.

Make sure you match the pan to the burner size. A small pan on a large burner is heating up the room instead of the food.

It takes awhile for burners to cool down. Turning them off several minutes before the end of the suggested cooking time could save you a few dollars each month.

It’s tempting to crack open the oven door to take a peek at your food. But that blast of hot air that hits you is costing you big time. Keep the oven door closed as much as possible. This alone could save you up to $20 per year.

When using the oven, pick the right dish. Ceramic or glass conducts heat more efficiently than metal cookware and will let you turn down the temperature by about 25 degrees.

2. Bathroom

Shorter showers and a lower temperature on the hot water heater thermostat will reduce your energy consumption.

In fact, for every 10 degrees you dial down the setting, you can save three to five percent on your bill.

3. Laundry room

Washing your clothes in cold water can save roughly $66 on heating costs.

Hold off doing wash until you have a full load. Cutting the total loads each year by 25% could save 3,227 gallons of water.

Set the washer’s spin speed on high to reduce the amount of time your clothes need to be in the dryer

and save about $11 annually.

Drying clothes on cold cycles rather than hot ones could cut your bill by around $66 per year.

Cleaning the lint trap in your dryer between loads will help the appliance work more efficiently.

And if you’re really serious about cutting the electric bill, dry your clothes on a line outside or inside on a drying rack.

4. Bedrooms

Rather than only relying on the air-conditioning, turn on the ceiling fans. Fans can make the rooms feel three to eight degrees cooler.

And when you leave the rooms, turn off the fans so you don’t waste electricity.

5. Living room

Like the bedrooms, a ceiling fan can cut reliance on the a/c.

Moreover, during the winter you could lower the thermostat by 5 degrees, reverse the direction the fan turns to push the warm air down, and stay cozy. 

6. Air conditioning

In many parts of the country, the a/c is the top power guzzler. Don’t cool an empty home. If you have a programmable thermostat, set it so the temp can go up a few degrees when you’re at work or out shopping.

And even if you don’t have one, get in the habit of changing the settings before you go out.

Air filters get packed full of dust. And that dust clogs the passage for air that feeds the air handler. The compressor then has to work harder, which means more electricity used.

You can buy throw away filters for $10 or so. At that price, replacing them once a month is a good investment. 

Bottom Line

The 6 suggestions I gave you are only a few of the changes you can make in your home and lifestyle to cut your power bill each month.

Other ideas include: Switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs, sealing up leaks around windows, and using heat-generating appliances, like dryers and dishwashers, at night when the temperature cooler and the a/c doesn’t have to work as hard.

The potential list is huge.

But if you tackle them one at a time, the savings will add up.

To a richer life,

Nilus Mattive

— Nilus Mattive
Editor, The Rich Life Roadmap

The post The Household Chore That Can Save You Money appeared first on Daily Reckoning.