Yes, it’s August. Schools are back in session for millions or will start soon for others. Indian Summer is still here. But this is a good time to be thinking about how you can prepare for lower utility costs as the cold weather months are approaching.
In this periodic series, we will cover proven money saving tips, some courtesy of Foremost Insurance, on how to reduce your bills.
Home Savings Tip 1: Lower the thermostat on your water heater, use cold settings for laundry and run shorter dishwasher cycles. You’ll save 3% to 5% in energy costs for every ten degrees you reduce your water temperature.
Home Savings Tip 2: Keep drafts at bay by placing plastic around all your windows and towels or draft stoppers at the bottom of each outside door. Also check electrical outlets and switch-plates for cold air leaks and cover any with inexpensive foam sealing from your local hardware store.
Home Savings Tip 3: Insulate your hot water heater with a pre-cut jacket or blanket from your local hardware store. You’ll reduce heat loss by 25% to 45% and save about 4% to 9% in water heating costs.
Pecan Street: Bonus Tip from WikiCommons
“Just as consumers are turning to mobile apps to track vital signs and manage their personal health, researchers believe that data collection technologies in homes could help people better manage their monthly utility bills.
A glimpse of tomorrow’s smart homes can be seen today in Austin, Texas. There, several hundred homes are providing real-time data about gas, water, electricity and solar power use. The homes, a mixture of “green” and conventional housing, are part of an ongoing smart grid research project called Pecan Street.“
Also consider checking out options offered by your utility company, or mobile apps that may be available that can help you reduce your utility costs. Remember, the lower your cost of living, the more options you have for using the money you save.
Let’s Wrap Up With A True Story
Finally, for those who are thinking about spending tons of money fixing up ‘this old house,’ let me share a quick, true story. I was talking with two ladies from the largest newspaper in that area, showing them a decorated and landscaped model home in a manufactured home community. One of them suddenly broke into tears (this is serious, so please don’t ask my wife to make a joke about that, as she’ll likely be happy to help you make fun of me ;-).
“What’s the matter?” I asked, “What did I say?”
The photo above is from new, ‘entry level’ manufactured home,
that sells with a base price in the 30s in many U.S. markets.
“You said nothing wrong,” the woman said, reaching for a tissue in her purse. “My husband and I bought a house last year that is about 100 years old. We’ve been fixing it up ever since. We’ve spent over $30,000 in updates and repairs,” she explained, “and we still have a higher utility bill than you just said this home has, which looks so much better than our old house. For what we paid in improvements alone, we could have owned a beautiful home like this manufactured home you’ve shown us.” ##
(Image credits, WikiCommons and MHLivingNews)
(Editor’s Note: for a utility savings related story of a modern ‘net zero energy use’ manufactured home, click the link above.)