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Recently, I have been getting frustrated with our energy bills. For the past few years, our electricity and gas bills have been slowly creeping up on us. It makes sense to a certain extent. I mean, there are four of us now instead of just two. Twice the laundry. Twice the dirty dishes. Twice the baths and showers. Still, it seems like we have been using way more energy than we should be…so I set out to find out how much energy we should really be using.
Unfortunately, I found out that out that our energy bills are fairly normal. Since we spend about $2,400 per year on our electric and gas bills combined, we are pretty close to the U.S. national average. That made me feel slightly better about our energy usage.
Still, I don’t want to be average. I want to use less energy, become more environmentally friendly, and save some cash in the process. So, I started looking around for some cheap and easy ways to save. What I found out is that there are a ton of ways that we can increase our home efficiency. I also ran across some statistics from Energystar.gov that I found shocking:
- The average home spends $2,200 on energy bills every year.
- The average family spends $400-$600 per year just on water heating.
- Rinsing dishes before you load your dishwasher can use up to 20 gallons of additional water before you even start the dishwasher.
- In the average home, 75% of the electricity used to power home electronics and appliances is consumed while the products are turned off.
Taking a look around my house reinforced the feeling that we could do better. I started seeing wasted electricity everywhere. I have at least ten lamps plugged in for no reason. All of my appliances are plugged in 24/7. Even my kids have a variety of random toys plugged in at all hours of the day and night. Does my daughter’s Barbie Jeep really need to be recharging 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? No.
Our New Money Saving Energy Plan
I really hate the thought of wasting electricity but the thought of wasting money is almost unbearable. It’s as if I’m shredding a few $20 bills every month just for shits and giggles. It has to stop.
So, we came up with a plan of action to tackle our excessive energy consumption. We made a list of small changes that we are going to make. We can’t do all of them at once. We’re busy people, folks. Therefore, we plan on implementing these changes little by little. Here are some cheap and easy ways that we are going to start saving some energy and cash:
- We are going to turn our water heater down to 120 degrees. According to Energystar.gov, this can save $31-$61 annually.
- We are going to wrap our water heater in an insulating jacket to save another $30 per year.
- We are going to going to limit ourselves to doing only FULL loads of laundry. Energystar.gov reports that this will save us as much as 3,400 gallons of water per year.
- We are going to scrape our dishes clean instead of rinsing them before putting them in the dishwasher.
- We are going to plug all of our appliances into power strips so that we can turn them off when not in use.
- We are going to start using our programmable thermostat!
- We are changing all of our lightbulbs over to the energy-efficient kind.
Hopefully these cheap and easy changes will make a dent in our growing energy bills. I will continue to update you on our progress as the bills roll in.
How about you guys? How are you saving on your energy bills?