There are many ways for homeowners to get help with utility bills, as long as they are willing to enact some energy efficiency measures in the house. Most of these measures are easy enough to implement and often require little financial investment. Going green is in the best interests of everyone, as it helps out the family budget and the environment as well. For those that want complete independence from energy companies, there are more drastic options available that can save even more money in the long run.
The simplest way to get help with utility bills is to identify the most wasteful units in the home and replace them with more efficient equivalents. While it’s usually pretty intuitive as to where to begin, it’s still best for the homeowner to get an energy audit from a local power company. This will pinpoint where the greatest consumption of energy is occurring. Following the simple recommendations of the post-analysis report can cut usage by as much as 20 percent. Saving do require a change in habits, as well, such as turning off lights and televisions when they are not in use.
Switching out obsolete lighting fixtures with compact fluorescent light bulbs can help with utility bills to a large degree, as CFLs use a mere fraction of the electricity that do traditional incandescents. They last much longer and are safer, and can save as much as a $100 over the lifetime of the bulb. Other common devices to replace for efficiency reasons are kitchen appliances. These tend to draw a lot of power from the grid, and older appliances can be a massive money pit every month. Once it is time to buy new appliances, look out for those models that are approved by the Energy Star program. This is an EPA sponsored initiative that flags the most efficient models on the market for the consumer. They are often just as effective, and investing in these devices can save hundreds of dollars per year.
Another big energy hog in the home is the furnace, and just keeping it a couple degrees warmer than normal can net big gains. It can be difficult, however, for homeowners to remember to keep resetting the thermostat. To mitigate this, it’s a good idea to invest in a thermostat that has advanced monitoring features that can operate automatically and help with utility bills. Several models exist that can switch the air conditioner on and off at optimal moments so that an excessive amount of power is not used in cooling the home to the desired temperature.
For those that want to go all out and get permanent help with utility bills, there are alternative methods of power generation that can ultimately lead to freedom from the electrical grid. Solar and geothermal energy require significant upfront investments, but once the equipment costs are paid off, which normally takes around five years, the family enjoys complete independence from the grid. Solar energy will require a sufficient number of panels to power the entire home. However, efficiencies continue to improve, and solar panels seldom require replacement.