When the leaves start to change and the temperatures drop, the creepiest holiday of the year is just around the corner: Halloween. Despite the cute kids in costumes and piles of candy, there’s no denying that this day is all about the creepy and the terrifying. But you don’t need to wait for Halloween to get a scare. Just take a look around your house to find all these energy vampires that are sucking out energy and costing you money each month – it doesn’t get more frightening than that!
Are there energy vampires in your home?
The dark creatures of Halloween are numerous in popular culture, from zombies to werewolves. And who can forget about vampires, the undead, mythical creatures of the night? These monsters, popularized in works ranging from Bram Stoker’s Dracula to the Twilight series, feed on the innocent, sucking their victims’ blood to fuel their own immortal existence. Not exactly something you want to run into in a dark alley.
In your home, you probably don’t have literal vampires creeping around every corner. But you might have something even scarier – energy vampires that are slowly draining the electricity from every outlet in your home, adding dollar after dollar to your utility bill even as we speak.
Many of these energy suckers take a deceptively harmless form: your electronic devices.
According to a study by the Natural Resources Defense Council, devices that are inactive – such as those in standby or sleep mode – account for approximately one quarter of residential energy consumption, costing more than $19 billion every year, or about $165 per household in the U.S.
Take your computer, for example. Whether you’re binge-watching a newly discovered TV show or checking your favorite social media channels, you likely spend a lot of time with it turned on. But what happens when you leave the house? Chances are that your device remains plugged into the wall. And even if the computer is in sleep mode or otherwise inactive, it’s still using electricity.
Though the computer is a common energy sucker, it’s far from the only one. Take a tour of your home, room by room, and figure out what may be left plugged in during the day unnecessarily.
While there may be some items that need to stay plugged in – your little one may not appreciate losing that night light – you’ll probably find a number of energy vampires that you leave in without giving them a second thought.
More ideas for slaying your vampires
Unplugging unnecessary appliances is a place to good start, but there are many more strategic options for cutting down on energy waste in your home.
A quick solution is to invest in a power strip to house the plugs of appliances that don’t need to stay on 24/7. When you leave the house, simply turn off the strip and it will cut off the flow of electricity to any appliances plugged into it, saving you both time and money.
Your quest to kill these fanged energy suckers should also affect how you perform chores around the house. Doing laundry is obviously a good thing – everyone needs clean clothes, right? But if you’re not taking care of this task strategically, you could be washing away your money. Delay this chore as necessary to ensure that you don’t run a load until it’s full. Loads that are mostly empty increase your energy consumption unnecessarily.
Energy vampires abound in the kitchen as well. Start by looking at your cooking methods. Do you heat up the entire oven for a single baked potato? Consider opting for a toaster oven to save energy at home. In the same way, don’t turn on the largest burner on the stovetop for a small pot. Make sure that the burner and cooking dish match as closely as possible to ensure efficient energy use.
Finally, think about updating your major appliances. Older models tend to be less energy efficient, so investing in new refrigerators, washing machines or other large appliances that you use every day can have a big impact on your utility bill.
By managing your energy use strategically, you can slay the energy vampires in your home and cut down on your utility bill, one efficient practice at a time.
Your haunted house could cost more than you think
Creaky doors, broken window panes, cold drafty hallways – they’re all hallmarks of a haunted house, a staple in any horror movie worth its popcorn. And they’re certainly a must-have for the Halloween season.
Though your house is likely more well-kept than one of these haunted dwellings, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have its own ghosts that are doing something even scarier – increasing your monthly utility bill.
Do you feel a cool draft that raises goosebumps on your arm? Sure, it could be an invisible spectral spirit, but more likely the chill is caused by leaky windows. Whether you have heat pumping through your vents or are enjoying a toasty blaze in your fireplace, that warmth doesn’t do you much good if it’s continually being sucked outside. And when you’re paying each month to regulate the temperature in your home, that means that your money is going out the window with it.
If you don’t feel any leaks, you should still have the seals on your doors and windows checked periodically. Small cracks may be hardly noticeable, but they can still impact your utility bill.
And keep in mind that windows and doors aren’t the only things that affect the temperature of your home. The insulation in your walls plays an important role in regulating your house’s environment. Ideally your insulation should last a lifetime, but that’s not always the case in reality. The material can settle or decay over time, which could especially be a problem if you live in an older building.
According to EPA estimates, the average homeowner could save 11 percent on total energy costs simply by air sealing the house and adding insulation floors over crawl spaces and attics, as well as accessible basement rim joists. Consider hiring an HVAC professional to come to your house and perform an energy audit to determine the problem areas that are contributing to your energy bill.
If you want a haunted house for next Halloween party, stick with fake cobwebs and pumpkins and skip the cold drafts that inflate your bottom line.
How much candy do you really need?
Amidst all the creepy elements of Halloween, there’s no denying that little kids in costume add a light note to the day. And there’s no better way to get into the spirit of the holiday than to have plenty of treats on hand when the little ones show up at your door. You certainly don’t want to be known as the house that ran out of candy!
But just how much candy do you need to buy to prepare for these costumed kids? One bag? Two? How about 50? If the latter sounds a bit ridiculous, that’s because it is. There’s no way you could possibly need that many treats to hand out, so why would you pay for it? You want to spend your money on the amount you’ll actually use and no more.
In the same way, why would you pay for dozens of TV channels that you don’t use?
When you turn on your TV after a long day, that time spent relaxing should be a treat. You don’t want to feel tricked by your cable provider. But according to a study by global information, data, and measurement company Nielsen, the average American watches only 17 channels consistently – and pays for 189. That means that consumers don’t watch more than 90 percent of the channels they pay for each month.
Luckily, there is a solution. Many companies now offer skinny bundles that allow you to pick the channels you want and skip those you don’t watch, lowering your monthly bill. With skinny bundles, you won’t feel tricked into paying for entertainment that you don’t use. Though you may not be able to predict the exact amount of trick-or-treaters that you get at your door on a given Halloween, you can determine how many channels you watch each month.
By picking your channels strategically with a skinny bundle, you’ll save money to spend on the important things – like extra Halloween candy for those little trick-or-treaters.
Looking for a partner who can help you eliminate all the scary financial drains in your home? Contact AllConnect today to learn more about how changing the way you set up your utilities can save you money every month. Visit our home page today.