During peak seasons, utility bills often rise as people try to deal with changing temperatures. Cold winters require constant heat in a home, while hot summers demand air conditioner systems to be on around the clock. Rising utility bills can be a source of stress as homeowners try to keep on top of their monthly budget.
Fortunately, there are some effective ways to reduce utility bills. Instead of relying on expensive appliances as the sole combatant to the changing weather conditions, people must leverage extreme temperatures to work in their favor. If you’re using an air conditioner, it’s worthwhile to invest in seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) rated goods.
For anyone who lives in an area that experiences significant seasonal peaks, it’s important to take action to reduce utility bills.
Get an Energy Audit
A home energy audit is carried out to determine how much energy your home utilizes, where it is losing most of its energy, and what changes you can make to increase the household’s comfort and efficiency. An energy audit can cost between $100 and $1,650. However, the potential savings can far outweigh these costs over the long term.
An energy assessment should be the first step in creating a more energy-efficient home. It involves an in-depth examination of every room in a house. Depending on the auditing company, they may or may not use equipment like blower doors and infrared cameras to get a more accurate assessment. This can contribute to the overall cost.
If you want to save money on energy auditing, you can do it DIY style. This involves locating air leaks or drafts, comparing your attic insulation with the recommended insulation for your region, inspecting your windows’ energy performance ratings, and monitoring your monthly utility bills. However, it may be a less accurate approach.
Once you know what areas of your home need attention, you can go about addressing the issues. For example, you may need to reseal windows in a bedroom to prevent heat loss during winter.
Purchase Energy-Efficient Appliances
Purchasing energy-efficient appliances is one of the best ways of reducing your utility bills year-round. They are also eco-friendly and help you to reduce your carbon footprint.
Energy-efficient washing machines, dryers, refrigerators, and freezers can conserve energy and reduce water use. This acts as a double saving as you lower your electricity and water bills.
When purchasing energy-efficient appliances, opt for those with a favorable ENERGY STAR rating. This is the energy rating system backed by the U.S. government and established to help people improve energy efficiency and reduce the running costs of their devices. All home appliances come with details of their performance efficiency, so make sure to compare different options before making a purchase.
Although appliances are a significant upfront expense, they can save you significantly on your utility bills over time.
Install a Mini Split System
A mini split AC system is a high-efficiency air conditioning unit that can also operate in reverse to provide heat to a home. When compared to traditional HVAC systems, mini splits are extremely efficient. They are discreet and easy to install, and they require no ducting. An absence of ducts means that these systems avoid unnecessary energy loss. Ducted HVAC systems can lose up to 30% of energy in a home.
Mini split systems can be set to either heat or cool a home, making them highly useful during peak seasons. These devices are designed to regulate the temperature for a specific zone within a building.
The two main types of mini split systems are single zone and multi zone. A single zone system has one outdoor condenser and one indoor air handler, making it suitable for regulating the air in a particular room or a single open plan space. Multi zone systems consist of one outdoor condenser and up to eight indoor air handlers, meaning they can effectively manage the airflow around a whole house.
Choosing the right mini split system depends on the size of the area you need to heat or cool. The number of BTUs required is determined by the square footage of a room.
Upgrade Lighting Systems
Home lighting accounts for around 15% of utility bills. While people are generally conscious of turning off lights in a room that isn’t in use, many are slow to convert their homes to more energy-efficient lighting systems.
Efficiency-conscious homeowners are beginning to switch from incandescent bulbs to LED lighting. LEDs emit light differently and don’t release much heat, making them last up to 25 times longer than traditional bulbs while using 75% less energy.
The main turn-off for people when it comes to LEDs is the initial price. However, there is no comparison regarding energy use and efficiency over time. An incandescent bulb lasts around 1,200 hours; an LED bulb can last up to 25,000 hours. For the sake of a few extra dollars per bulb, upgrading to efficient LED lighting systems can help you reduce your utility bills, particularly during peak seasons.
Dry Laundry Outdoors
Turn peak season climates in your favor by using the natural elements to your advantage. In the dry spring and summer months, airing your laundry outdoors rather than using the dryer is an excellent way to save money on your utilities.
If you have a backyard and your HOA allows it, invest in a clothesline to hang your items. If you live in an apartment, you can install clothes drying instruments to the window, allowing them access to the air and sun. Just make sure your items are secure and won’t blow away.
Use High-Energy-Consuming Appliances Off-Peak
If your electricity supplier offers cheaper rates during off-peak hours, ensure that you take advantage of it. Create a household duties schedule based on these hours. Off-peak is the best time to do laundry, dry clothes, heat water, and use your dishwasher.
In most cases, off-peak electricity hours are during the nighttime or early morning. If your current supplier doesn’t provide off-peak rates, you can still run your appliances early in the morning or late in the day, so you don’t make your air conditioning units work harder than necessary.
Invest in Efficiency
It may seem counterintuitive, but investing in efficiency is the best way to reduce your utility bills during peak seasons. By identifying your home’s inefficient areas through an energy audit, you can focus on improving these areas, which will reduce energy loss and your utility bills when seasons change.