If you dread your energy bill every month because you feel shocked each time you look at the total, it’s time to make some easy DIY changes around your home. With just a few simple steps, you can start saving cash on your utility bills and greatly reduce your energy costs. You won’t ever have to be afraid of the mailbox again.
Check Your Air Flow
Take a tour around your house and check all your vents. You want them to be open so that each room is getting the maximum amount of hot or cold air. Closing vents will only make your air conditioner or furnace work that much harder. Additionally, check your furnace and air conditioning filters. Replacing filters once a month is a small cost that will equal big savings in your energy bills. Dirty, clogged filters restrict airflow that will ultimately increase your bill.
Check Your Attic Insulation
Heat can leak out of or into your house through the attic, so make sure it's insulated well. Almost anything can work as insulation, including old newspaper, but your best bet is insulating foam. While you're at it, check the insulation in your crawl space or basement as well.
Change the Way You Do Laundry
Do you wash your clothes in hot water? If you stop that habit right now, you'll notice a change right away on your bills. Heating up the water accounts for about 90 percent of your washing machine's total energy consumption. Also, when you dry your clothes, don't stuff the dryer to full capacity. Leave about one-fourth of the space in the dryer empty to make sure there is plenty of room for the warm air to flow around your clothing.
Use Your Kitchen Appliances Well
You don't want to completely fill up your refrigerator, either. It's easy to forget about the fridge until you need to get something to eat, but it's always on, and it's always using energy. Reduce the cost of the energy it consumes by leaving about one-third of the fridge empty. Make sure there is space between items and that your shelves and drawers aren't over-stuffed so your fridge won't have to work harder to keep everything cool. While you're at it, allow your dishwasher to air dry instead of drying with heat. Waiting an extra hour or two for the dishes to dry is a small price to pay for the big savings in energy bills you'll see later.
Look for Leaks
Check your electrical box, your dryer vent, and any other openings that lead outside and replace the insulation around these vulnerable places. Sealing up little leaks will make a huge difference. Spray foam or caulk should be enough to seal up most little air leaks. Check any ductwork in your home as well, and seal up any areas that may be allowing leaks to form.
Paint Your Roof
This can be a pretty extensive DIY job, but the result will be well worth it. Painting your roof white could save you 20 percent in energy costs—and that's huge. Homes that have a white roof deflect sunlight, which will keep the house much cooler in warm weather.
Check Your Doors
Look under any door leading to the outside, including your garage or basement area. Make your check on a bright, sunny day. If you can see light under the door, then you're losing valuable heat (or air conditioning!). If light can pass through, so can air. Replace your threshold to permanently fix this problem. As a temporary fix, you can always place a rolled towel along the crack under the door to act as a buffer.