Recently we sold our newly manufactured home built in the 2000’s, and moved into a larger home full of character from the 1950’s. The house is wonderful and much bigger than our starter home. What we didn’t anticipate however were the cost of energy bills in a bigger and older home. To say our budget was SHOCKED by the expense of heating and cooling is an understatement.
The saying is true… they don’t build houses like they used to. Our new house is well made and doesn’t have the settlement issues our previous home did. The house is structurally sound, and has the original air conditioning unit as well as furnace – the last time the unit was serviced was in 1974 – it was built to last, not for efficiency! The first summer in our new house we paid $300 a month for air conditioning… ouch.
On the flip side, our previous house was an energy efficient home where our heating and cooling bills ranged from $50-$75 each month. We didn’t have to worry about the thermostat; the house was just efficient and new. Needless to say… We were not equipped to pay triple our bill each month.
Since we can’t afford a new air conditioning and furnace, plus I don’t want to replace something that works well, it was time to find ways we could save money each month.
Here are 5 Ways we Reduced our Electric Bill from $300 to $100 each month!
- During our home inspection the inspector suggested we increase the insulation in our attic. Apparently (in girl terms, not technical boy terms) we had 3-4 inches of insulation and now-a-days they suggest 10-12 inches of insulation. All of the construction bids to add insulation were in the $1,500-$2,000 range. My husband did some research and opted to purchase insulation from Home Depot for $500. He rented a sprayer, and thanks to YouTube, in one afternoon we sprayed insulation in our attic for only $550.
- Next, we replaced the original thermostat in the living room to a digital and programmable thermostat. This is really an inexpensive way to help your heating and cooling bill. We paid $25 for a programmable unit and did some research on the optimal temperatures throughout the year. We found in the summer the temperature at 73 degrees, and in the winter at 70 during the day and 66 at night, worked best for us.
- If you plan to keep the temperature higher in the summer and cooler in the winter like us, there are some things you can add to the house to make it more comfortable. For the winter, I invested in flannel sheets for everyone’s room so we would stay toasty-warm at night. We don’t notice the chill at all! The programmable thermostat drops to 66 degrees at 10pm after everyone is settled into bed, and goes back up to 70 degrees at 6am before everyone wakes up. For the summer, I invested in Energy Star ceiling fans. Each room of the house already had a ceiling fan installed, but they were old and cost a lot to run. I found inexpensive Energy Star certified ceiling fans at Home Depot for $40 each. We purchased 6 of them for roughly $250 and we run them in the summer. They only cost $4 per year to run!
- Next, we replaced the weather stripping on our exterior doors. We have a sliding glass door, a garage door and a front door. We spent around $30 to remove all of the old tape and replace it with new. This is really easy to do! You peel the old stripping off (ours we used a putty knife since it was really old) and the new stuff has peel and stick tape. It took an afternoon, but stopped any drafts we noticed.
- Lastly, and most expensively, we replaced all of the windows in the house. Unfortunately we were steered wrong on our house inspection and were told we didn’t need windows. However, after we moved in and tried to open the windows in order to air the house out (the house sat empty for some time before we bought it), we noticed some windows were nailed shut and others had broken panes. We invested in new energy efficient windows within two months of moving into our new home.
Do you have any energy saving tips? How do you save money on heating and cooling? Share in the comments below!