The weather is getting colder, which means it is time to start thinking about saving energy. The October issue of Consumer Reports featured several ways to slice your bills, but these are things most of us are aware of by now, including using LED bulbs, programmable thermostats and energy audits. But there are other things you should watch out for.
Did you know the only way you can save money with a Smart Meter is if you are also offered time-of-use rates which let you control costs by running your appliances during off-peak hours?
Here are more ideas: Get an energy audit from a reputable company. Audits cost between $250 and $800, depending on the size of your home. Some regions have low- or no-cost programs to do an energy check. Contact your power company or local jurisdiction.
Appliance upgrades are great, but claims can be misleading. Wi-Fi-enabled appliances are convenient but won’t save you money unless you have those time-of-use rates mentioned above.
Cover your bases with alternative energy sources. Interested in geothermal pumps and solar roof panels? Get multiple bids from licensed contractors, make sure they cover any installation-related property damage and understand what happens if you move. With a $17,000 to $20,000 investment with a five- to 10-year payback period, you’ll want to make sure you’ve considered all options.
If you have an electric water heater that’s at least 13 years old, it may be time to upgrade. A hybrid heater — which uses electricity and a heat pump — can lower heating bills, but avoid expensive and limited tankless heaters.
Be selective with LEDs. Some bulbs are dim, according to Consumer Reports. Their top energy saving bulbs include $14 LEDs from IKEA and Great Value CFL bulbs from Walmart for $1.25.