(BPT) - Home may be where the heart is, but the higher energy bills from staying home 24/7 are causing households across the country a hefty case of heartburn. The hot summer months were tough enough, but as we head into the cold winter months, we’re in for another peak in power bills. Although you may not feel in control of lowering those bills, there are a number of ways households can reduce monthly energy usage and costs.
Here are tips for changes — large and small — that can add up to big savings on utility bills.
1. Reduce your hot-water usage
Hot water heaters can contribute to as much as 13% of your electric bill. You can lower the costs of heating up water in your home by taking shorter showers and lowering the standing temperature on your water heater. Lowering that temperature can also help prevent scalding due to overly hot water, which is a good safety measure for households with young children. According to Energy.gov, some manufacturers usually set their water heater thermostats at 140 degrees Fahrenheit, but you can easily set the temperature down to 120 degrees for an energy savings of 4-22% annually.
2 Go solar and put your home to work for you
Now is a great time to go solar, no matter where you live, and according to a 2020 survey by Harris Insights & Analytics, homeowners are increasingly interested in solar energy as a way to help take control of their energy bills while investing in their home — their most prized possession.
Lower costs. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, the cost to install solar has dropped by more than 70% over the last decade, and it’s even less if you take advantage of state and federal tax credits. Solar panels installed in 2020 receive a 26% federal tax credit, and in 2021 will receive a 22% tax credit. Over the lifetime of a solar system, the average home can save between $10,000 and $30,000 in energy bills.
Investment Opportunity. At a time of historically low interest rates, homeowners see solar as an investment, not just a purchase. So it’s important to find a brand you can trust, a company that will stand behind its products for years to come. It helps to look for a solar panel manufacturer that offers a best-in-class 25-year warranty to provide peace of mind for years to come.
Easy. New virtual tools and resources also make going solar easier than ever, like LG’s personal solar advisor called “Solar Concierge.” It includes a free analysis of your home and will guide you step-by-step toward the best solar option.
3. Upgrade your HVAC system
With as much as half of the energy in your home going towards heating and cooling, choosing an ENERGY STAR certified HVAC system can have a big impact on your comfort and your utility bills. Look for efficient systems with stylish indoor units like LG’s sleek Art Cool Mirror that offers enhanced performance in a beautiful mirrored design. Choose a single zone system to provide added comfort to a room or a multi-zone solution for whole home comfort.
Another simple upgrade is to use a programmable thermostat. Set it and forget it to enhance savings. As temperatures change in the summer and winter, adjusting the thermostat just a few degrees higher in the summer and lower in the winter can make a big difference. And according to Healthline.com, it’s easier to sleep comfortably in a cooler room (around 65 degrees Fahrenheit), so automatically lowering your thermostat at night during the fall and winter could mean both better sleep and lower utility bills.
4. Replace old bulbs
You’ve probably heard this before, and you may have even replaced one or two bulbs in your home already. But the truth is, it’s the easiest step to take that can save a lot of energy.
Swapping out your old incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs saves both energy and money in the long run. According to EnergyStar.gov, an Energy Star certified LED bulb produces light up to 90% more efficiently than incandescent lighting. And while they may cost a little more up front, they last up to 25 times longer than traditional light bulbs.
5. Ask your utility company for an energy audit
Finding out where you may have leaks or insufficient insulation can help you discover specific ways to reduce energy costs. Most utility companies offer energy audits for free, to help homeowners assess where they could be losing heated or cooled air.
Once you’ve identified trouble spots, you can prioritize and tackle home repairs and home improvements from the minor to the major, such as caulking around windows and weather-stripping doors to adding attic insulation or replacing old windows.
Following even one or two of these steps right now can help you reduce your monthly energy bills and enjoy your home comfortably this winter and for years to come.