Tackling Your Electricity Bill

I bet you just submitted your online payment to your electricity bill, and something tells me that it is the highest it’s been all year long. It’s predictable bill behavior down here in Texas: sky-high summertime electricity bills followed by relatively-low bills in the winter.  To compensate for the high end of this, your children are taught to turn off electronics when they leave rooms (and succeed sometimes); you also have dark curtains, and energy efficient light bulbs and appliances. But, have you and your home taken the dive into advanced energy efficiency?

My experience shows it’s worth it to upgrade your home for the long-run to lower your average electricity bill.  As if you need another reason to save some cash, this year, the state of Texas has set, and broken, its own energy consumption records twice. It’s definitely time to do something.

Seal it Up: I’m all for DIY, but some things get expensive when done incorrectly. Get an HVAC expert (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) to check your attic, windows, and doors for leaks. These cracks can be easily plugged with caulk. When left unchecked, a surprising and daunting amount of air can flow through—costing your household hundreds of dollars over time.

Attack the Attic: Maybe that same HVAC expert knows how to fully inspect attics, or maybe he can refer you to another professional. While the expert is looking for leaks, they can also inspect the insulation. In the same way that air escapes through cracks, air escapes through poorly insulated attics and roofs. Hot air rises, so in the winter, as you try to warm your home, that poor insulation job lets the heat out.

Windows and Doors: If you live in an older home, your windows are probably single-paned, and maybe your doors are hollow. If that’s the case, check your budget and get wood-framed, double-paned windows. If that is too costly, price check the cost of adding storm shutters to your existing windows—adding a layer of material to keep air inside your home. As for doors, check the front and back doors, as well as any doors leading from the garage to inside the main home. If those are hollow, then replace with solid doors.

These projects take time, and cost money. A Good Gabby Gal knows to stay focused, prioritize, and budget for everything. Most of these tips increase your home value, so it’s worth the investment! If the time is right, visit Fort Worth Community Credit Union about a Home Equity Line of Credit. If you don’t own your home or just started paying your mortgage back, consider an Access Line of Credit.

Here are a couple of extra tips that are easily added into your routine!

  • Check the Dryer: I don’t just mean the basic lint catcher. How long has it been since you, or your husband, opened the back hose that leads from the dryer to outside? Where the hose connects to the dryer is the ultimate catch all for lint. Yes, ladies, your dryer is working overtime trying to move this hidden lint. That effort adds up. So open it, and clean it 2-3 times each year.
  • Charge on the Go and As Needed: This is a tip that I inherited from an old friend. Charge your phone at work and in your car. Keep a spare charger at work, and use your car charger in the mornings. If toward the end of your night when you’re at home, after all the appointment-setting, lunch-making, and bath-taking, your phone is moderately full, then just charge it the next day.
    • The same applies to all of your devices. Your tablets, laptops, portable blue-tooth speakers, and Fitbits do not have to be charged fully every single night. Wait until the device needs it.

You have always had the brains, and now you have more information and tools to do what is best for your family home and the energy grid now, which will give you more disposable income in the future. Put baby down for a nap, put your hair up in a bun, grab that coffee, and tell a friend what you learned.

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