California residents can earn hundreds of dollars each year (depending on your energy savings) by syncing their utility accounts to a energy-sharing program called OhmConnect and agreeing to help reduce energy usage by one hour per week.
Here’s how it works:
Plus, with OhmConnect’s referral program, you can get paid up to $20 to help a friend save money and energy.
With the latest technological upgrades in the world of smart thermostats, you can save up to 10% on heating and cooling your home by investing in a system that learns your habits and adjusts to keep you comfortable and save you money.
Research shows that optimal summer temperatures are 85 °F while you’re away and 78°F when you’re at home. In the winter, aim for around 68°F when you’re home and 58°F or less while you’re away or sleeping.
A Nest or ecobee smart thermostat will learn your habits, so it can automatically turn itself down while you’re away and adjust to your preferred temperatures.
These settings can save you up to 10% on your heating and cooling — an average of $173 per year.
On-demand water heaters are often the most efficient choice, since water isn’t being heated when not in use. For electric hot water tanks, try wrapping it in an insulating blanket to reduce heat loss!
The washer, dryer, and dishwasher all use a lot of energy and often run for long periods. Try shifting your schedule to wash clothes or dishes during off-peak hours – typically after 7pm or anytime on weekends and when energy costs are at their lowest.
Plug countertop appliances and electronics into a power bar and program it to switch off at night. Remember that televisions, cable boxes, PVRs and game consoles suck energy even when not in use. If you have them all on a single power bar, it’s easy to switch off before everyone goes to bed.
If you have central air conditioning and/or heat, check the vents in your home. Some may be closed, meaning your air conditioner and heater may be struggling to keep your home or apartment the right temperature. Your vents also use air filters to keep dirt, dust, and other unwanted stuff from blowing throughout your home. Those filters should be replaced every few months or they’ll prevent ideal airflow. You can pick up a bulk pack at your local hardware store for $1-2 per filter. Just be sure to measure the size of your vents before you go so you get the right ones.
For something the majority of us give so little thought to, your dishwasher can have a major impact on your utility bill. To make sure you’re not sending money down the drain every night:
The major water use inside the home is toilet flushing. If your home was built before 1992 and you haven’t replaced your toilets recently, you probably could benefit from installing high efficiency toilets that use 1.6 gallons or less per flush. A family of four can save 16,000 to 27,000 gallons of water per year by making this change.
Heard of Google’s “Project Sunroof”?
It’s a free, online service that determines how much you can save over 20 years by installing solar panels. Type in your address and it pulls it up on Google Maps and tells you how many hours of usable sunlight your house receives, as well as how many square feet of roof space you have.
From there, you can get quotes from local companies to install solar panels. It’s basically a free way to get a quote without having anyone to climb a ladder and scope out your roof. And if you're more the DIY type who likes to do your own research, check out this guide to determine the best solar panels for your home.
Your turn! Tell us – what do you do to reduce your eco-footprint and keep your utility bill low each month?