Did you know that an average American household spends about $2,000 per year on energy, and how you can save the most money on your energy bills depends on where you live? In hot states like Arizona, air conditioning makes up about 25% of total household energy consumption.
Nationally, however, keeping cool with AC only accounts for 6% of household energy use, while space heating accounts for 41%. Taken together, heating and household appliances now account for the majority of all household energy consumption.
Here, we at GET.com round up 3 ways you can cut those monthly energy bills in half.
Invest In A Smart Thermostat And Energy-Efficient Appliances
Your thermostat controls about half of your energy bills. A smart thermostat like Nest can save you 12% and 15% of your heating and cooling costs respectively. So, you're looking at a total savings of between $131 and $145 per year.
Tax credits, rebates from utility companies, state and federal agencies make it a lot more affordable to purchase new, energy-efficient appliances for your home or apartment. The Federal Tax Credit for Energy Efficiency will cover 10% of the cost up to $500 cost on purchases of Energy Star-certified water heaters, air conditioning units, natural gas and propane stoves, insulation and roofing material as well as windows, doors and skylights.
If you like, you can utilize the search box on energy.gov for federal, state and local tax credits, rebates and tax incentives to suss out savings in those area. Combine federal tax credits with rebates and tax incentives from state governments and utility companies and you can cut the cost of energy-efficient appliances in half.
Also, check out the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency for an exhaustive list of rebates, grants, tax credits and other incentives available in your area.
Keep in mind that many states like Texas, Georgia, Virginia, Missouri, Maryland, Louisiana and Florida offer sales tax holidays for the purchase of Energy Star and WaterSense-certified appliances.
For even more savings on Energy Star appliances, check out Energy Star's Rebate Finder for rebate offers in the region you're residing in. One quick search that I've attempted turned out rebates amounting to $50 off clothes washers, $200 off gas storage water heaters and $500 off heat pump water heaters which use about 50% less electricity than conventional electric water heaters.
The Federal Tax Credit for solar energy systems covers 30% of cost solar panels, solar water heaters as well as the costs of installation. Batteries are not included, though.
Don't worry if you're not ready to solarize your home just yet. The 30% Federal Tax Credit for solar energy systems will stay as it is until December 31, 2019. Thereafter, the credit will drop to 26% in 2020 and 22% in 2021 and is set to expire at the end of 2022, unless it is renewed by Congress.
To get the 30% rebate, just file Form 5695 with your next tax return. If you purchased solar panels or a solar water heater last year but did not apply for the tax credit, you can still file Form 5695 retroactively to receive the 30% credit.
What's not to love when you get to save a chunk of money, right?
Buy A New House
Due to more energy-efficient building standards introduced in recent years that require better insulation, newer and bigger homes don't necessarily translate into heftier energy bills.
Homes built in the 2000s are about 30% larger on average, but they only consume 2% more energy than older, smaller homes. Heating a newer home takes 21% less energy than older homes, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
If it costs less money to heat and cool, then why do some newer homes consume more energy? Well, bigger homes tend to have more appliances and electronics, so although heating and cooling costs are lower, homeowners may still have to shell out quite a fair bit of money for energy bills.
The cost of powering appliances, electronics and lighting in newer homes is about 18% more than in older homes, simply because there are more of such home appliances and devices.
If you're planning to buy a home, it pays to buy one built in the last 15 years. And perhaps, do yourself a favour by cutting down on the number of appliances that you're intending to adorn your new home with.
Check out these 4 DIY skills to spruce up your home that can save you serious bucks if you'd like to take things into your own hand and fatten your wallet altogether.