You know that you want to lower your energy bill, but the question is how. You can try some of the more common energy efficiency improvements to reduce use, but to really see a difference in the cost you need to understand how energy is used in your home.
Understanding how you use energy tells you where the biggest savings can be made. You may discover that some devices use way more energy than you realized. Or that one person in the family uses more than their fair share of electricity. Once you have an understanding of how you use energy you can start using less of it.
5 Ways to Understand Your Energy Usage Better
Follow the tips below and you’ll have a very firm understanding of how you use energy at home, what uses the most resources and where you can reduce energy use.
Check Your Energy Bill
One of the best ways to get an overview of your energy usage is to look at your utility bill. At the very least you should see specifics for the amount of electricity and gas used in the last billing cycle and total costs for the last 12 months. If you can sign up for an online account with your energy supplier you may be able to get additional details and go back further to identify year-over-year trends.
Install an Energy Monitoring System
If you’re trying to save money, this tip might not be the first thing to try. But if you want to invest in energy efficiency that will pay off over time you may want to consider installing an energy monitoring system. For what you get, some systems are worth $100+ since the energy monitoring system provides a detailed look at your usage. However, these systems do require rewiring your breaker box so you can monitor individual circuits.
Once monitors are placed around the home you’ll be able to measure energy use in near real time using an app. The energy use will be broken down by device. There are also specialized home energy monitoring systems that measure solar energy supply for homes with panels.
Smart Tools That Measure Energy Use
There are a lot of smart home products that can give you a much better idea of how you’re using energy. There are smart meters, smart outlets, smart plugs and smart apps with the sole purpose of measuring how energy is used.
Smart meters are installed by the utility, but consumers can benefit from them. The real time meter reading provides data for reports that can help you gauge energy use almost as it’s happening.
Smart outlets, plugs and apps are consumer tools that are used inside the home to measure energy use at a more micro level. The outlets and plugs let you measure the energy use of a single item in real time, and many will also allow you to track energy use over time. BONUS: some smart plugs and outlets allow you to control whatever is plugged in and create automated schedules to reduce energy waste.
Home Energy Audit
Home energy audits are a thorough examination of your house inside and out from top to bottom. The goal is to identify any weak spots that are negatively impacting energy efficiency.
You can do a DIY home energy audit, but a professional audit is going to be the most thorough. You’ll also get expert advice on specific things you can do at home to reduce consumption and lower your energy bill.
Pay Attention to Lifestyle, Habits and Behaviors
Last but not least is the human factor. Someone is controlling all of the appliances, electronics, devices and systems that use energy. Your lifestyle, behaviors and habits are an important part of the equation that has to be factored into your analysis. It’s not a bad idea to ask each family member to track their energy use for a few days. That along with your own observations will give you a better idea how you all can be better energy consumers.
Applying What You Learn About Energy Usage
Now that you have a better understanding of how you use energy it’s time to apply what you learned. This is when a home energy audit provides an advantage because a professional has outlined how the audit information can be applied. Many home monitoring systems also provide feedback for improving energy use.
Don’t put pressure on yourself to do everything at once or tackle a big task like replacing an old HVAC system. Start with the low hanging fruit. For instance, if someone in the house tends to leave lights and fans on everywhere they go then try to help them break the bad habit so energy isn’t wasted.
Little by little by understanding how you use energy you can use less of it and lower your energy bill.
As a Major Energy customer you can count on us to help you understand how you use energy so you can improve efficiency. We also offer competitive fixed rate energy plans that make it easier to predict energy costs based on usage. See which Major Energy plans are available in your area!