Make Money by Saving Energy
I’m always amazed to see people wasting energy and then complaining that they can’t pay their utilities every month. These are usually the same people who complain they have no money to save, invest or go on vacation. To those people I say, "look no further than the walls of your own home".
It’s been shown time and again that doing the simplest things can sometimes make the biggest difference. Wealth, for example, can be generated by simply reducing what is spent, not only by what by is earned. Yet most people, for whatever reason, fail to see the obvious.
For example, the cost of heating your home during the cold months is an expense that we think we can’t control, so we just begrudgingly pay the monthly gas bill, file it away and forget about it. Most homeowners don’t even pause to think how they can possibly lower that monthly money siphon.
Do you have a $200 monthly heating bill? $300? $400? $500?
What if you could cut your bill by even 25%? What investment in the world of finance offers a 25% return? A 50% return on investment is unheard of, yet with a little proactive thought and ingenuity you might just possibly be able to slash your energy consumption by that much - just by doing the most obvious things. I call this as the "shave & save method" and it applies to just about anything we buy and consume regularly, especially energy in the form of fuels and electricity.
If you’re serious about saving more of your hard earned money, here are six steps to cutting your heating energy bill, which can put a lot of money back into your pocket (shaving & saving).
- Insulate better. For a small investment, get extra insulation blown into your attic space. Amazingly, millions of American homes have as little as 4 to 6 inches of the fluffy stuff in their attics. You should have at least 12 inches. Many municipalities and utility companies even offer up to 100% rebates to have your insulation upgraded and help you save energy year round. See what’s being offered in your area.
- Seal cracks around doors, windows, foundations, crawl spaces and wall outlets. Restricting cold air infiltration can shave a bundle off your total heating bill. Caulking, expanding spray foam and weather stripping are readily available at your nearest home center and the cost is very small.
- Clean your air ducts. If you have a central forced air heating system, the ducts should be professionally inspected and/or cleaned periodically to maintain good air flow and ensure that a high percentage of heat energy is actually transferred to rooms, rather than impeded by blocked dirty air ducts.
- Change your furnace filter once a month. A furnace needs to have unrestricted airflow to maintain peak efficiency and effectiveness.
- Upgrade your thermostat. A night set-back programmable thermostat can help your heating system run more efficiently. Program the thermostat to turn the furnace on only when heat is needed most (evenings, weekends, etc.). Set the thermostat to a low setting (around 50 degrees) just before leaving for work/school, then ½ hour before returning home, have the thermostat programmed to warm the space to 72 again. If leaving town for long stretches, program the furnace to come on just often enough to keep pipes from freezing. A 50 degree setting is recommended.
- Zone heat. Perhaps the best way to save money during peak heating hours (ie.,nights and weekends) is to zone heat. What is zone heating? Heat only the room or rooms you’re in. Most families spend most of their time in one area of the home during cold winter evenings. No need to heat unused bedrooms, storage rooms, etc. that are unoccupied. If you have a direct vent fireplace in your primary living room, turn the furnace off and allow the fireplace to heat the room.
Sometimes the most obvious places to look for extra cash are right under our noses. Your home can bleed energy like a ruptured jugular if you don’t pay attention to some practical energy saving principles. The good news is that, if aggressively applied, these techniques can put hundreds of dollars back into your bank account.
Scott Workman owns and operates Infra-Red Products Supply, Inc. of Draper, Utah. In business since 1986, Infra-Red Products has become recognized as one of the foremost leaders in energy saving heating system design and sales for residential, commercial and industrial consumers.