It turns out we’re not all that different come January 1. The New Year’s resolutions that crop up on our lists often sort into common categories: health and wellness, education, personal relationships, and finances.
At Reliant, we may not be able to help you with exercise or love, but when it comes to money, that’s a different thing. There’s a simple way to save cash every month that requires little effort — simply fine-tune your energy consumption by implementing Reliant’s home-energy saving tips.
Here are our top suggestions:
Lower your thermostat in the winter to reduce your energy usage. For every degree above 68°F, your heating costs go up approximately 3 to 5 percent.
Switch your incandescent bulbs for LED or CFL bulbs, which last longer and use less energy. The Environmental Protection Agency states that CFLs use approximately 70 percent less energy than traditional light bulbs, and according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE), LEDs last longer, are more durable, and use at least 75 percent less energy.
If you lit your holiday tree with LED C-9 lights instead of incandescent C-9 lights, the savings get bigger. The DoE estimates it costs just 27 cents to light a 6-foot tree 12 hours a day over a 40-day period using LEDs, and 10 dollars to light the same tree the same amount of time using incandescent lights. That’s almost 40 times more expensive!
Take a peek under your door. See daylight seeping through? Even if it’s just a sliver, a tiny crack can make your heater or air conditioner work harder to keep your home comfortable. That’s why we encourage our customers to find and seal air leaks around their windows and doors in our winter bill tips. If you do the same, you should see a drop in your energy bill.
Get rid of the extra freezer or fridge you don’t need, or replace it if it’s more than 15 years old. A new refrigerator with the Energy Star® label can be as much as 40 percent more energy efficient than older models. If you want to know exactly how much you’ll save, plug in your fridge or freezer details into Energy Star’s refrigerator retirement savings calculator.
Do multiple loads of laundry in one session. To save energy during this regular chore, use cold water for the wash and rinse cycles, and dry two or more loads in a row to take advantage of heat build-up from the previous cycle. After a load is dry, clean the lint tray to improve air circulation and prevent fire hazards — a simple yet important tip from the Department of Energy. If it’s a warm day, consider cutting appliance costs altogether by air-drying a load on a rack outside.
Avoid using the dishwasher heat-drying option. Similar to the laundry tips above, you can shave your electricity bill by using the air-drying option on your dishwasher.
Keep your ductwork properly insulated and sealed to prevent air loss. Doing so can reduce heating and cooling costs by 40 percent, and also decrease humidity and dust in your home — a win-win-win situation.
Stay cool when it comes to air conditioning. It may seem like a while from now, but before we know it, the Texas heat will be here, and air conditioners will blast away. Resist the urge to switch your air conditioner to the “on” position from “auto,” as this can suck heat from the attic into the ductwork, making your appliance work harder to cool your home.
Download the Reliant app to see how well you’re doing in saving energy and money. Through the app, you can check your balance, view your usage, get alerts, and manage your account — all from your mobile device. And check out Reliant’s home-energy saving and winter bill tips for more options to save money.
Get a home energy snapshot. Call us or go online to request a free Home Energy Checkup or an in-home consultation.* If you want someone you can trust to visit to your home, assess your unique situation, and give you tips on how to improve your home’s energy efficiency, this is the perfect way to have energy experts help you find potential energy savings.
So there you have it: Even if you didn’t resolve to save money, you wouldn’t say no to a little extra cash in your bank account at the end of every month, right? Good luck to everyone who made New Year’s resolutions this year, and if you have any energy- and money-saving tips we didn’t cover, we’d love to hear about them in the comments below.
* The Home Energy Snapshot is available to all Reliant residential customers living in single-family homes that have been powered by Reliant for at least 12 concurrent months. An in-home consultation is available to Reliant residential customers in single-family homes in the Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex areas. PUCT Certificate #10007