How to Save $20 on Energy in April (or May)
So let's go through each of the following 5 tips:
Shorten showers by 30 seconds each: On average, energy costs are about 21 cents/minute for taking a hot shower. So by shortening your shower by 30 seconds, you save about 11.5 cents (helpful accessory: shower clock/timer). This may not seem like a lot, but when you multiply it by 20 showers a month for a family of four, this small adjustment to your shower time can save you $8 on your energy bill in May. And if you do this all year, it will save you almost $100.
And even if you have already installed a low-flow shower head (which is great), reducing the time of your showers can still save you money on energy.
Change AC filters: Dirty air filters in your air conditioning unit increases your system’s energy usage by about 10%. This is because your air conditioner has to work harder to push air through a dirty filter (see types, costs, and reviews of AC air filters). So for an average electric bill of $60 for air conditioning in May, replacing your filter can save you $6. And if you do this all summer, it can save you about $25.
Raise AC by 10 degrees when gone: For every degree Fahrenheit above 68 degrees that you raise the set point on your air conditioning thermostat, you reduce your energy costs by 1-3%. So if you raise your set point by 10 degrees for 8 hours a day while you are gone at work, then for an average air conditioning bill of $60 for the month of May, you can save $3. And if you do this all summer, it can save you about $12.
If you like coming home to a cooler house, then you can take the extra step of installing a programmable thermostat that you set to automatically have the temperature in your home go up and down at pre-set times (see costs and reviews of programmable thermostats).
Eliminate standby power for TV / cable box: As you have probably read in our previous Newsletters, vampire power sources, that is, appliances that continue to draw power even when they are turned off, can really take a bite out of your wallet. For example, even when turned off, your television’s cable box consumes about $18 per year in vampire power, and your television adds another $3. So for the month of May, leaving these plugged in when not in use will cost you about $2, which you can save by using a simple on/off power strip.
And as we mentioned in our April 2011 Newsletter, if you use a programmable power outlet, then you can also include your Digital Video Recorder (“DVR”) box, which can save you an additional $3 in May, and about $40 for the entire year (helpful accessories: programmable wireless outlet remote controls; digital timers; energy-saving outlets).
Raise AC by 1 degree: And lastly, as we mentioned earlier, each degree Fahrenheit that you increase your air conditioning set point above 68 degrees will save you 1-3% on your system’s energy consumption. So if you wear cooler clothing, use a low-energy room fan, etc., and can become comfortable with having your home 1 degree higher, then for May you can add an additional $1 to this list of easy energy-saving tips for the month.