Older adults tend to spend a lot of time at home so it’s important to watch energy expenses. While cranking up the heat to a comfortable temperature can feel good, the big bill which follows is definitely not a pleasant surprise. If you’re struggling to pay for gas or electricity or simply want to spend less and enjoy your retirement, here are some steps you can take to cut down your bills. How to Save Energy and Money at Home
Save on Electricity
Many of us don’t realize that we often leave the lights on when not necessary and all electric appliances always plugged in; make sure to turn off lights and unplug electric appliances, as they draw power even in standby mode. To make this easier and more accessible, plug various electronics into a power strip. This way, you can easily push the off switch with your foot and turn off everything at once without having to bend down.
Replace traditional lightbulbs with energy-efficient lightbulbs, such as CFLs, and avoid really bright lights which you don’t really need anyway.
Finally, use a microwave for smaller meals, which uses a lot less energy than a stove or an oven. Alternatively, make more than one batch of dinner and freeze the leftovers in individual portions; this will save you energy and time.
Save on Hot Water
Aim to set your hot water heater’s temperature to around 120 degrees in order to save money on hot water. You will still have plenty of hot water to do the dishes and to shower. Furthermore, by wrapping a thermal blanket around your heater, you will prevent heat loss.
Use cold water for laundry instead of hot water and don’t do laundry every single day; your clothes probably don’t get that dirty after one day of wearing them and by washing them less you will not only save time and energy but you will also ensure your clothes last longer.
Stay Warm or Cool
Make sure to avoid overheating or overcooling rooms, as this can really impact your bills and the environment. Move your chair – or get someone to help toy move your chair – next to a sunny window in the summer and a cooler area in the winter.
Use a small space heater with a timer in the winter to heat the room you’re in to a good temperature and seal cracks around doors and windows to reduce uncomfortable drafts; this will help you save on your heating bills!
Consider Living off the Grid
Living off the grid means living off the land without government assistance; it can be a challenge, but it can also be very rewarding. Living off the grid can give you more space and more independence. Living off the grid can also help you cut costs and enjoy your retirement years
Power in off-grid homes is derived from solar panels or wind power, and requires lots of planning to be effective. Power efficiency is an issue in every home, but it’s even more relevant in an off-grid home as it could result in a blackout until more power is available. It’s important to plan your off-grid energy needs and design a system which will fulfill your power requirements while reducing costs.
Many of the same rules as living on the grid apply off the grid as well, such as turning lights off when they’re not needed, unplugging appliances when not in use and using LED lights, but it’s also smart to consider window placement to let more light in and also to allow the house to be cooler in warm weather by considering wind movements.
In the US, there are several sustainable communities that have chosen to live off the grid; although they are obviously cut off from traditional electricity, water, gas and sewage lines, these sustainable communities communicate via satellites and generate their own electricity, and can be a great support system if you’re planning to live your retirement off the grid.
Find the Best Rate
If going off the grid is too much, check that you have the best energy rates you can get. Some energy providers offer special discounts to adults who are over 60. Check the energy providers in your area to see if you qualify for a senior rate or senior discount on your electricity and natural gas supply.
Most of what we’ve suggested is simple and straightforward; all it takes is a little more attention and the determination to make a change. By following these tips you will easily save energy and money – and the environment will thank you for it.
By Jackie Edwards How to Save Energy and Money at Home