Friday, May 9, 2014

5 Reasons Your Energy Bills Are Too High

Your monthly energy bill may be the cause of unnecessary stress, but why exactly does it cost so much, and how can you prevent is from rising? It seems that ordinary individuals don't have much control over things like gas prices or energy taxes, so what can you do to reduce the cost of energy in your home or business? Here are five reasons why your energy bills may be high and what you can do to remedy this costly situation:

Spin Dryers Can Help You Cut Your Energy Bills
Spin Dryer; Source: TreeHugger
  1. Washers and dryers: The average American family does over 400 loads of laundry a year and uses almost 40 gallons of water for each wash. Additionally, the cost of each wash is directly related to the temperature you wash it at. Washing with cold water can save you up to 40 cents for each load. Over 90% of the energy used to wash your clothes goes to heating the water! Save energy by washing your clothes with cold water, and by reducing the amount of times you wash per week. Make sure you are washing a full load of laundry to avoid wasting water and energy.

    Want to cut costs even more? Dryers account for 12% of total household energy use per year! You can save 100% on your dryer costs by choosing to hang your clothes instead or switch to a gas or spin dryer to save money and energy.
  2. Outdated appliances: Using outdated appliances, such as refrigerators, dishwashers, or ovens may be contributing more to your energy bill. Switch to newer, more energy efficient models and save on electricity and money. Newer models use up to 4 times less electricity than older appliances.

    LED Light Bulbs Can Help You Cut Your Energy Bills
    LED Light Bulbs; Source: Geoffrey A. Landis
  3. Energy-wasting lightbulbs: Average lightbulbs use about 60 watts, while LED lightbulbs use 10, and last significantly longer. While LED bulbs have a higher initial cost, they will save you money in the long run. LED bulbs can last 20 to 50 times longer than a standard incandescent bulb. Save money and energy by investing in energy-efficient lightbulbs. They'll last longer and reduce your energy bills.
  4. Poor insulation: Heating and cooling account for about 50% of total home energy usage. Make sure your home is energy efficient by improving the insulation. Making sure all of your windows and doors are properly sealed to avoid unnecessary energy leakage.
    Overcharging may be increasing your energy bills and costs
  5. Charging gadgets: Right now, you may be charging your computer or cell phone despite the fact that it's at 100%. Various gadgets, from electric toothbrushes to radios to laptops still use energy even once they reach full battery capacity. Overcharging these items can even decrease battery life in the long run. Make sure to unplug these devices once you are finished charging them!

    Also, note that all technology continues using energy even when they are turned off! Your televisions, coffeemakers, and computers still consume energy even when in the off position. These "vampire appliances" continue to suck energy even when they aren't in use. Although they only contribute to a few extra cents a year on your energy bill, you can help the environment and save a few bucks by unplugging them when you aren't using it.

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