Midwest winters bring cold air, snowy sidewalks and hearty meals. While this creates the perfect atmosphere to stay inside, with the heat set to cozy, it can also drain the budget with increased energy costs. Below, we'll explore some ways you can cut your utility bills by taking steps to preserve your energy usage. Simple things like setting your thermostat a few degrees lower while you are out, covering your windows and turning off your lights can make a huge impact on your monthly bills, plus they help to protect our environment by reducing our carbon footprint.
Regulate your Thermostat
Waking up in a nice, warm home is essential. It's motivation to get out of bed and hop in the shower to get ready for your day. But when you leave for work, your home simply doesn't need to be as warm. Shave a few dollars off your gas bill by lowering your thermostat right before you leave, then increasing the temperature as soon as you get home. Just 2 or 4 degrees can make an estimated $7-11 difference on your bill but still keep your houseplants and pets nice and warm while you are away.
Seal Your Windows
You're likely not opening your windows during the winter to let fresh air in, so why not cover your windows with plastic? Sealing the windows in your co-op can prevent cold air drafts from leaking into your home. The more cold air that's held back, the less your furnace needs to work to keep your temps up. Grab a window sealing kit from your local hardware store, follow the directions, and wha-la - no more cold air drafts. This simple trick can reduce your heating costs significantly, depending on how leaky your windows are.
Turn Off Lights When Not In Room
Back when there was no electricity, people would take their light source with them wherever they went during the night to light up the room. Obviously then, when they weren't in the room, the room was dark as they wouldn't leave a lit candle and run the risk of fire. Now-a-days, we can of course turn every light on in the house and have an indoor space just as light as it would be during the day. However, this practice can get expensive and it's environmentally wasteful. Consciously be aware of the lights on in your home. As you leave a room, turn them off. As you enter a room, turn the light on. It's just that simple. If you live in a house with a family, encourage them to do the same. After while, it'll become second nature and greatly reduce your energy bills.
Use a Power Strip
Plug your electronics into a power strip so you can easily turn them all off and on when not in use. Got a computer, lamp and printer all on one strip? At the end of the night, flip the switch and turn them all off. In the morning, flip it back and turn them all on. Sure it may take a minute or two to wake the computer and printer out of sleep mode, but the cost savings far exceeds the few minutes it takes waiting.
Swap Out Light Bulbs for Energy Efficient Ones
This simple trick can be done all at once or over time as the light bulbs burn out. To prepare, purchase a pack of energy efficient Energy Star light bulbs to have them on hand. According to energy.gov, replacing just 5 light bulbs in your home with energy efficient ones can save up to $75 a year off your electricity bill. That's major savings for such an easy fix!
Purchase energy-efficient appliances when the old ones break
Use sunlight to your advantage - open shades to welcome the sun, close the shades when the sun's away
Use ceiling fans properly to drop heated air downwards
Set your water heater on a lower temp
That's it! Simple, effective and cost-saving ways to lower your energy bills and help the environment out. As a member of Ash Street Cooperative, cooperative is in your blood. The housing cooperative concept was built on the idea that working together will bring everyone closer to the greater good. Shared economics, shared labor, shared resources. When we work together to save the planet's resources, we too benefit from saving money together. It's just that easy.
When you're ready to experience the benefits of a housing cooperative membership here in Park Forest, Illinois, give us a call. We can walk you through the entire process from beginning to end and show you how amazing a membership with us really is.