Conduct a Home Energy Audit and Save Some Money
When it comes to energy consumption and utility bills, it can be difficult to determine where your money is going. Other household bills – from rent to pay TV – are more straightforward and easier to figure out. Determining exactly where your energy dollars are going – and which appliances are most responsible – can be another matter entirely.
Depending on which part of the country you call home and which company supplies your power, you may be entitled to a professional home energy audit. These structured audits take a look at everything that uses power in your home – from the toaster in the kitchen to the big screen television in the living room – and provides you with a list of ways to save energy and money.
You’re not out of luck if your power company doesn’t provide such an audit. With a little bit of work, you can do your own home energy audit and save money in the process. Even if you do have access to an energy company audit, doing a home audit from time to time can be quite valuable – and illuminating.
Gather your bills
The first place to start is with the bills your energy supplier sends you. If you have at least a couple of seasons’ worth of bills, you should be able to spot seasonal trends in power usage and costs. If you live in a cold climate, chances are you’ll see a spike in energy usage when the winter months arrive. If you live in a hot area, you may experience more energy usage in the summer – when the air conditioning gets cranked up.
No matter what the trends reveal, they can be quite useful when establishing a baseline for your energy audit. The goal is to determine which appliances and electronic devices are using the most power. Having a baseline for comparison can make that job a lot easier.
Unplug your unused and rarely used devices
If you have devices in your home that are no longer used – or used only rarely – that’s a good place to start your home energy audit. Whether it’s a spare TV in the guest bedroom or the video game unit gathering dust in the basement, chances are there are electronic devices you no longer use.
Unplug those unneeded devices and leave them unplugged for an entire billing cycle. Then take a look at your energy usage and make the comparison. You might find that those devices have been driving up your power usage – and your monthly bills – for no good reason.
Check out potential energy hogs
Some appliances and electronic devices tend to use more power than others, but the energy hogs are not always the ones you would first suspect. You can get an estimate of energy use by contacting the manufacturer, but you may need to do some further analysis to determine your own real-world energy use.
If unplugging the appliance or device is feasible, you can compare energy usage from month to month. If not, there are devices you can connect to the power outlet which will tell you how much energy is being used by each device. This information can be quite valuable – and a great way to trim your bills going forward.
Create a list
Once you have some hard data to go by, you can start to create a list of appliances and electronic devices and their power usage. This list can be quite valuable, especially when it comes time to replace old or worn out items.
You might find, for instance, that replacing that old fridge with a newer and more energy efficient model will save you money on electricity. You might even be able to save enough to help pay for the cost of the replacement.
Doing these kinds of calculations is the best way to determine your true energy cost – and find where you can save money. A home energy audit can seem like a daunting task at first – but the results are well worth the effort.