People all over the country are concerned about their utility and electricity use during extreme temperatures both in the summer and in the winter months. Additionally, people tend to use electricity more during these times for recreational use or for cooking and running major appliances. Although we are forced to keep our homes at temperatures that prevent us from being exposed to this extreme heat and cold, but where is the line between practical and excessive? Is the majority of our energy consumption necessary?
A Financial Hardship
Most people who have an average or below average annual income will tell you that some of the most financially straining bills every month are their electricity or gas bills. In some instance, these bills can be several hundred dollars due to a number of factors. Even homes that are under 2,000 square feet can have high utility bills. Poor insulation, the home’s age, and number of appliances can haves a major impact. Other factors can be location, the number of residents, and efficiency of the HVAC system. There are, however, things you can do to help save money and reduce wear and tear on appliances, while keeping the financial strain to a minimum.
Experts recommend having your insulation replaced every decade or so, as well as keeping windows and doors sealed properly. HVAC units must be replaced every 10 to 15 years, and covering windows with quality products such as blackout curtains and blinds can be impactful.
There are community outreach programs and local government programs available to temporarily assist those families who have limited income and who qualify for temporary assistance. Anyone who is facing disconnection or who is behind a month or two can submit their paperwork for approval.
Be Mindful Of Useage
We use electricity daily for a number of things, but we rarely think about how we can decrease our overall use. For example, do you really need to set the thermostat so low in the summer. While most people will argue their point to have the temperature at 68 degrees, setting it at 70 will not create much of a comfort difference, but can be very impactful on the next utility bill.
Keep in mind that the Department of Energy recommends to keep the thermostat set at 78 degrees during warm weather months to see the best savings on your energy bill. In the winter months, the thermostat should be set to 68 degrees for optimal savings. What it really boils down to, is that most people can cut their use dramatically without seeing an actual impact in their daily lives. Remember to turn down the heat setting on the water heater, turn off that light, and bump the thermostat up a few degrees, while keeping windows covered adequately with curtains and blinds and you will be able to watch the savings begin to stack up.
With some practice and pre-planning, you can help prevent financial strain from expensive utility bills and help reduce the burden on your wallet. Over time, saving money on utilities will become a habit and require less mindfulness when using household appliances and HVAC units when paired with common sense home maintenance and preventative measures.