Anyone who has survived even a few hours of a power outage knows how much we need electricity for our daily lives. Without electricity, we have no light, no refrigeration, no hot water, no heating, no home entertainment and no ability to charge phones. Things we are used to doing without a second thought suddenly become impossible.
If you want to reduce your energy consumption so you have enough money to keep your electric meter running, your refrigerator humming and your online casino slots real money games playing on your PC or mobile device, check out the steps you can take to reduce your energy consumption.
Today, across the country, people are struggling to pay the higher electricity bills that have become our new reality. The main reason for the increase is the mismanagement of governments, politicians and lobbyists in the USA and other countries, although global consumption remains high. Many consumer analysts believe prices will continue to rise, especially in large gas-consuming states such as Texas and California in the United States.
The National Energy Assistance Directors Association (NEADA) estimates that the average family will need $1200 to heat their home this winter. That’s just for heat and doesn’t take into account other electricity costs. $1,200 is already $175 more than last winter, but for natural gas customers, winter heating costs may increase even more, up to a third more than last year. A lot depends on the weather: if it’s a harsh winter, there will be more demand for heating, while if it’s a mild winter, demand will be less.
Everyone is waiting to see what Russia does. Russia has stopped supplying Europe, which means that U.S. suppliers are making more money by exporting a lot of their natural gas to Europe, leaving a deficit at home. Europe is struggling to find alternative sources of natural gas, but if it can establish the necessary infrastructure, it will be able to ship liquefied natural gas by sea from countries like Qatar.
Struggles on the home front
Some consumer advocates are already predicting shutdowns for as many as 20 million U.S. households this winter. Mark Wolfe, executive director of NEADA, believes the country is “heading into a period of unaffordable energy prices” and called on Congress to act to increase funding to help those who can’t afford to pay higher energy bills. Individuals can also take steps to reduce their energy bills. Some ideas include:
Using less light may seem like a small step to reduce energy consumption, but it adds up. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that the average household spends about 15% of its electricity use on lighting. To reduce your lighting costs, switch to LED bulbs. LED bulbs last up to 25% longer than traditional incandescent bulbs and use up to 90% less energy. LED bulbs are more expensive, but in the long run, they will save you more money than you spend. For the greatest energy savings, buy “ENERGY STAR” rated LED bulbs.
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Sealing and Insulation
The more tightly sealed your home is, the less heat will escape and the easier it will be to maintain comfortable warmth at a lower cost. Adding insulation and sealing your home can help you save an additional 15% on heating and cooling costs. Some sealing and insulating efforts are expensive: buying double-pane windows, insulating walls and ceilings, etc. The choice is yours: pay now to seal and insulate and then save on reduced heating/cooling costs or pay your monthly bills.
However, there are many things you can do yourself to seal your home. Get caulking and caulk any cracks you see around door and window frames. Block cracks in floors and baseboards. You can also add weather stripping to seal doors, windows and don’t forget to insulate your radiator or furnace to keep it running at peak efficiency.
Washing and Drying
Most areas of the country have sunlight for most of the year and you can take advantage of that sunlight by line drying your clothes. Even if there’s no sun, unless it’s raining or snowing, you can air dry your clothes to get them a little drier and then put them in the dryer for a reduced time. Some analysts say that switching to line drying can reduce your energy bill by more than $25 a month. You can further reduce your washing machine costs by running it on a 30-degree cycle instead of using a higher temperature.
When you’re washing your clothes, make sure the machine is full to save the energy the washer consumes. Most clothes can be washed in both cold and hot water, so switching to cold cycles can further reduce your bill. Keeping shower time to just 4 minutes could save a typical household $95 ($90 in NI) a year on their energy bills.
Heating water is a significant drain on your household’s electricity, but if you reduce your hot water use, you will reduce your energy costs. One thing you can do is to take showers instead of baths. If you keep your showers to 4 minutes instead of filling a bathtub, you’ll save a good amount of money.
There are a number of small things you can do in the kitchen that, when added together, will result in significant savings. Don’t overfill your electric kettle – simply add as much water as you think you will need and the kettle will boil faster and use less electricity. As with the washing machine, don’t run half the load in the dishwasher; fill it up to reduce the number of cycles. Finally, insulate your hot water cylinder, tank and pipes so that less energy is used to heat the water and it stays hotter longer.