Are you wondering how to save energy at home and cut your utility bills?
By the end of the video (above) you’ll have a list of things you can do today to start keeping more money in your pocket and to do your part to reduce your footprint.
If this is your first time here, welcome! My name is Lindsay and I‘m a proud Anthem resident and your local REALTOR® with the Wise Move AZ Team at Realty ONE Group. On our YouTube channel and blog we have a lot of fun talking about all things Anthem and real estate, and we would love to have you along for the ride.
Behavior Change or ‘Set it and Forget it’?
There are so many things you can do to start reducing your utility usage and your bills. In this post, I am going to be listing a lot of different options, and my hope is that you can take away 5 things that you can do today to start seeing a difference.
Some of the items listed will require some behavior change on your part and others will be ‘set it and forget it’. Of course the ‘one time’ changes will be easier, but I hope this makes you take a closer look at how you can reduce your consumption, not only to reduce your monthly bills, but also for sustainability reasons.
I’ll even share one, kind of weird, thing I personally do to save water every day, so stick around until the end.
Let’s jump right in!
#1: Understand your Billing
Don’t fall asleep on me. I know this one sounds boring but this is an easy way to cut your costs. Speak to your utility providers to see if there are different fees for using utilities at different times of the day, or even different days of the week. At our house we have on-peak and off-peak hours for electricity. The more we can switch to off-peak hours, the lower our bill will be.
#2: Change your Filters
Make sure that you are changing your AC filters regularly. If you leave your filters in too long, they can get clogged, and make your system run less efficiently. Less efficient systems mean higher usage, and higher bills. One of our home inspectors told me that he recently switched to using a cheaper filter and changing it on the first of every month. He said that his system is running better and he’s saving energy. Stock up on filters and set monthly calendar reminders.
#3: Repair Leaks
Leaks can pop up in the toilet, sinks, tubs, showers, and landscaping systems. If you have a leak, you are basically throwing money down the drain. Water in Arizona isn’t cheap, and it’s wasteful to leave leaks unattended. Check all your plumbing fixtures for leaks.
When it comes to faucets, you’ll be able to see if it’s leaking.
With respect to your toilet, if you can hear running water when it’s not in use, there’s probably a leak. You can also do a dye test by putting a few drops of food coloring in the tank. If the food coloring transfers into the bowl without you flushing, you’ve got a leak.
When it comes to checking your landscaping system for leaks you may want to hire a professional to test the system and make any repairs.
#4: Reduce Flow
Speaking of plumbing, you can also install reduced flow fixtures. For example, you can swap out your toilets for low flow toilets. You can also install flow restrictors on your shower heads and faucets. This will reduce the amount of water you’re using and it can increase water pressure. Fair warning, if you use a flow restrictor on your bathroom faucets, you will probably get sprayed the first couple of times while you get used to them. I know I did.
#5: LED Lighting
This is a quick and easy one. Replace your incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs. They draw less power and they last longer. They also generate less heat, which means they won’t be counteracting the work your AC is doing in the summer months.
#6: Install Sunshades
This is particularly important in Arizona. Installing sunshades can reduce the amount of heat transferring into your home from the outdoors. This means your AC isn’t working as hard to keep you cool in those scorching summer months.
#7: Adjust your Water Heater
Consider reducing the temperature on your water heater. This is a quick fix that can save money and energy in your home. If it’s been ages since you drained your water heater, you may want to click here for a ‘how-to’.
#8: Install Ceiling Fans
If you’re living in Arizona without ceiling fans, you are not living your best life! Ceiling fans allow us to go longer in the year without turning on our AC, and they also allow us to run our AC at a higher temperature when we do turn it on. Just remember to turn off ceiling fans when you are not in the room to save even more energy.
#9: Switch up your Landscaping
In Tip #3, we recommended that you check your landscaping system for leaks and make repairs, as needed. But you know what would be even better than fixing your system?!? Not needing an outside watering system at all. That’s right! If you can switch your landscaping to indigenous plants that don’t require additional water, you can shut your irrigation system down completely.
Bring on the cacti!
So much of the water we use in Arizona goes towards landscaping and pools. If you can cut out either or both of those things, I guarantee you’ll be saving water and money in no time!
#10: Turn off & Unplug
Turn off and unplug items that are not in use. For example, if you’re not using your computer, turn it off. Even when not in use, things that are plugged in can draw a little power and generate heat in the home. If you can unplug something without too much inconvenience, do it! Also, at the risk of sounding like a Dad, turn off the lights when you leave the room. He was right, you don’t need to pay to light the whole neighborhood.
#11: Install a Programmable Thermostat
Remember in Tip #1, where I talked about on-peak and off-peak charges from the utility providers? Well, a programmable thermostat can allow you to manage your heating and cooling systems more efficiently with your billing in mind. You can also set it to minimize energy usage when you are away from your home.
#12: Maximize the Efficiency of Appliances
This includes so many different things. In the laundry room, wash on cold when possible and make full loads. You may also want to consider air-drying your clothing.
In the kitchen, keep the fridge and freezer full. You can always fill containers with water if you need to fill empty space. Speaking of your fridge, if you can feel cold air coming out when the doors are shut, you need to replace your seals to avoid energy loss.
… and SO much more!
I’m sure there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of other things we can do to save energy in our homes, but this is a great start.
I haven’t forgotten that I promised to share the one weird thing I do to save water. Let me preface this by saying that I grew up on an island where fresh water was scarce at times, and it was important to save water wherever possible. Okay, so don’t judge me!
When I’m showering, I turn the water off. Once I’ve turned it on, I turn it off, wash my hair and body, then I turn it back on, and rinse off. I turn it off again, and repeat with conditioner.
By not letting the water run for the whole shower I save water and energy, which is used to heat the water. Anyways, that is one of the quirky ways I save energy. I would love to hear yours!
What energy saving tips are you going to implement in your home? Or what do you already do? Let me know in the comments.
Also, if you’re looking for even more DIY home projects you’ll want to click here for ideas to update your home on a budget, or if you’ve been considering solar power, you’ll definitely want to watch this video with tips for buying a home with leased solar.
Enjoy those and I’ll see YOU next Thursday!