All around the world it seems like utility companies are making bigger profits while also putting up prices. In America there is a battle for resources and over the whole idea of a green economy. This being an election year, both candidates are failing to answer the questions of ordinary Americans about energy bills. With winter coming, unless you have been maxing out the AC, the bills are about to rise even more.
This is why it is vitally important for you to take control of your utilities and try to keep the costs as low as possible. For the last decade or two, the green movement have been promoting better energy efficiency. As far as federal policy goes, this usually means subsidies for green energy that generates little and taxes on polluters. There is a better reason for most ordinary Americans to go green. It saves money when done right. You do not have to go out there and get some solar panels, but if the house is organized right, costs can be reduced long term.
Insulating the House
A house needs to be both warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Which ones can and cannot be applied depend on how your house is made. Loft insulation should be possible in most houses. Again, many houses can have double glazed windows fitted and any gaps around the window frame can be filled. Some houses, ones with two layers of brick or stone or concrete can have cavity wall insulation that puts a layer of foam between the layers to keep the house warm.
These actions act to reduce the need for actual heating. In terms of keeping things cool, balancing vents in the house can help to improve the flow of air during the summer. Keeping windows open where possible also helps. Use thermal curtains too. They keep the heat in during the winter, but if you close them during the summer they can help keep the heat out. Last, consider painting your roof white. A study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Heat Island Group showed that white roofs reduce the amount of energy needed to keep a house cool in summer.
Things You Use
With a good many appliances and electrical goods there are low energy versions available. Use compact fluorescent bulbs instead of incandescent ones, which consume more energy. The light quality is a little less, but are cheaper to run. Use a programmable thermostat, so you can control when heating comes on and so it is off when you are out. Also consider using storage heaters if possible, these store up the heating energy during off-peak (cheaper) times and release them whenever you want.
Cut down on unnecessary electrics. In the summer do you really need to use a dryer for your washing? Why not hang the clothes outside? Consider reducing the amount of water you use if water is metered. Have quicker showers, share baths (also romantic), turn down the valves on some taps so less water comes out and use a sealed jar of water in the cistern to reduce the flow of the toilet a little.
An Idea for the Garden
A lot of people know about the idea of carbon offsetting. There are companies that will plant trees if you pay them to in order to offset your carbon footprint. This does not reduce costs. More practical is to plant trees on your own land if you have the space. Sure, you do not want to obstruct a nice view, who wouldn’t? But if you find strong winds batter your house, get in through the cracks and make things drafty, a nice line of trees can act as a wind break. In the summer some deciduous trees can help areas of the house cooler.
Playing Smart with Utility Companies
It is a sad fact of modern life that companies of all kinds do not respect long term and loyal customers. If you blindly renew your insurances with the same company year after year or if you keep using the same utility company chances are they will not bother offering you discount rates. Without realizing it you could be paying way over the odds for things. First thing to do is to get online and find a comparison website. For example, do a gas comparison for gas heating companies or for a gas cooker and see what companies are offering. Look at the deal your current gas provider are offering new companies. Find the best quote then phone your provider up. If they do not make a good enough price plan for you threaten to quit, if that does not work, switch providers. Keep doing this to save money and make the best deals around.
This article was provided by Eve who specializes in business and finance writing.
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