New Englanders find themselves in a fairly unique situation, where unpredictable weather forces them to be prepared year-round for almost anything. That being said, it can be somewhat difficult to maintain your energy (electric, heat, and A/C) costs in this part of the country. A practical New Year’s resolution for 2013 in New England (besides exercising and eating right) is to cut costs in this area. Here’s a few tips to make this happen:
1. Check Your Energy Providers’ Competition
With green energy taking control of the private market, many mainstream providers are starting to lose customers. Contrary to popular belief, many of these green providers offer cheaper options than the public “non-green” providers. Companies like North American Power and Electricity New Hampshire are beating out the primary providers in New Hampshire and New England. Make sure you’re not leaving money on the table and check the competition’s prices.
2. Shut Off (Unplug) Appliances
This problem is most common in kitchens and bedrooms. A lot of people will leave coffeemakers, blenders, mirror lights, etc. plugged in all the time. Believe it or not, there is a slow trickle of energy that will seep into these appliances even when they’re turned off. Unplugging appliances that aren’t being used can save a handful over the process of a year.
3. Cover the Cracks (Windows & Walls)
Often referred to as “battening the hatches” New Englanders will lose massive amounts of energy in the heights of winter due to sealing issues on windows, doors, and even wall baseboards. Central Air? You’ll lose just as much energy cooling your home in the summer. Make sure you check all of your windows, doors, and baseboards for drafts. If you find a bad seal somewhere, check with your local hardware store for suggestions on the easiest way to patch or permanently fix the issue.
4. Cover the Pipes
Does the water in your house take a while to heat up? Once it’s warm, does it seem like it could be warmer? Answering yes to either of these questions could mean you have pipes that aren’t insulated. Even in summer, this can cool your water down before it gets to the faucet or shower/bath head. It’s a one-time project that will pay dividends for years to come, so have a plumber or contractor take a look at insulating your pipes.
5. Zone Climate Control
We’ve talked about this in detail in a prior post regarding zone heating. The same theories apply year-round to climate control throughout the house. If you have multiple thermostats, make sure you’re using them to their full potential and heat/cool only the areas you’re in most. Otherwise, check out your options for space heaters and air conditioners that can help control the temperature in your favorite rooms.
6. Turn Off the Lights!
This one is super-simple but often overlooked. switch off the lights when you leave the room. On the more complex side of this piece, consider spacial lighting. Instead of using an overhead light that has 4 bulbs, if you don’t need the extra light, get a lamp and put it close to where you spend a lot of your time. You’ll use 75% less energy, while creating a nice easy mood-lit room!
7. Buying New Appliances? Buy ENERGY STAR
This one is a long-term solution to saving energy. However, if you’re in the market for new appliances anyways, you’ll likely see your money back in the first few months if you upgrade to ENERGY STAR Certified products. Again, we’ve spoken about this in an earlier post, but these appliances now how to make a wallet happy.
So, if you can’t figure out what you want to do for your 2013 New Year’s Resolution, consider saving money with cost-cutting measures on your energy bills. Use these tips to help start up the most practical resolution of the year!
image courtesy of Images_of_Money