When it comes to cutting back and saving money, The Bargainist is all for ways that don't hamper our lifestyle too much. Here are several ways to lower your electric bill and save money for things that count. Like gadgets and cat toys.
1. Keep blinds and curtains closed. If you don't have mini blinds on your windows — get them. They serve as a great insulator.
2. Install energy saving windows. Those old single pane windows really let a lot of heat and air conditioning escape.
3. Change the filters in air conditioners and furnaces. Not only does it keep systems running at optimum efficiency, it keeps the air in your home cleaner too.
4. Place window air conditioners on the shadiest side of the house. It won't have to work as hard and will use less power.
5. Make sure air conditioners and furnaces are the right size.Too small, it has to work too hard. Too large and they lose their efficiency, therefore using even more electricity.
6. Have regular checkups performed on systems. This keeps things running smoothly and could catch a problem before it's too late. Like the middle of that unexpected snow storm, or hottest ever day of the summer.
7. Keep weeds and shrubs trimmed. Keep them away from outside heating/cooling units for best airflow.
8. Plant shade trees. This is especially important on the side of the house that gets the most sun.
9. Use timers to turn lights on and off. For when you're not around, it's better than leaving a light on constantly, and also works to fool burglars.
10. Use compact fluorescent bulbs. Although they cost a little more than regular bulbs, they last up to 10 times longer and use a lot less electricity to burn.
11. Unplug appliances and electronics. Some of these items tend to keep using a little electric even when turned off.
12. Adjust the temperature before leaving the house or going to bed. Or better yet, install a programmable thermostat. It will eventually more than pay for itself.