Kentucky’s electric cooperative experts have these pothole-free directions for saving money on your energy bill:
Dig in and do it. Don’t put it off: Make a list of projects, with a budget for each; prioritize them and figure out which you can do yourself. Your electric co-op can help.
“It will be easier to tackle bite-size chunks based on available money, time or maximum savings. By doing this, you’ll avoid being overwhelmed by a long list of projects,” says Member Services Manager Debbie Weatherford, Gibson EMC. Decide if you want to start with an easy one—or the project that will give you the biggest bang for your buck for energy efficiency.
Seal holes, then insulate. Look for those air leaks! “Block gaps under exterior doors with a towel or install weather stripping,” says Owen Electric’s Residential Service Manager Jude Canchola. “Make sure windows are caulked, and seal areas around plumbing and wiring penetrations.” Also check the adequacy of the attic insulation. Sealing leaks and adding insulation provides you the biggest bang for your buck based on a low-cost investment for the amount of energy savings.
Get outside. “We tend to focus on the inside of the house when it comes to energy savings, but don’t overlook energy savings around the exterior of your home,” says Farmers RECC Vice President of Member & Corporate Services, Corey Jackson.
Potential areas of savings outside include strategic landscaping with trees for seasonal shade/sun or windbreaks; considering whether electric-powered mowers and trimmers are right for your property; and using LEDs in exterior lighting.
A matter of degree. Set the thermostat to 68 on winter days and 78 in the summer. “Those can be set for even more savings if you’re not home for an extended time,” says Fleming-Mason Energy’s Marketing & Public Relations Manager Lori Ulrich. (If you have a heat pump, don’t change it more than 1 or 2 degrees in heat mode or the emergency auxiliary heat may kick on without you knowing it and use more energy.)
Be a star. Replace your older appliances with ENERGY STAR-rated new models as you are able. For example, ENERGY STAR certified refrigerators are about 9% more efficient than other models. You can save roughly $220 over the life of the appliance with an ENERGY STAR model, says Kim Phelps, senior director of communications and public relations at Warren RECC.
Get with the program. Consider smart, programmable lighting options. If you have a manual thermostat, purchase a smart or programmable one to match your schedule. “In the right situation and used correctly, programmable thermostats can save $150 a year,” says Blue Grass Energy’s Manager of Member Services Bobby McCoun. Sign up for the prepay program with your co-op, adds McCoun. “Most people actually reduce their energy use when they prepay for electricity.”
You can also download free energy apps to your devices to help you on your energy-saving quest.