Get paid up to $300 to turn off the lights
California, Texas and Toronto residents can earn up to $300/year (depending on your energy savings) by syncing their utility accounts to a energy-sharing program called OhmConnect and agreeing to help reduce energy usage by one hour per week.
Here’s how it works:
- Sign up for a free OhmConnect account and sync it with your online utility account.
- You must have an online account with one of these three utility companies to participate: Pacific Gas & Electric Company, San Diego Gas & Electric or Southern California Edison, Toronto Hydro.
- OhmConnect will send you weekly payments for reducing your electricity for one hour per week. They do this because you’re helping to not contribute to the high demand that prompts unclean power sources to turn on. They’ll send you up to $300/year, plus you’re helping save the planet!
Your earnings are based on how much power you save. The more you save, the higher your “status,” which helps you earn even more.
- Platinum status requires an average savings of 40% or more beneath your forecasts = 4x earnings multiplier
- Gold status requires an average savings of 20% or more = 2x earnings multiplier
- Silver status requires an average savings of less than 20% = normal earnings
Plus, with OhmConnect’s new referral program, you can get paid up to $20 to help a friend save money and energy.
If you refer a friend who signs up and starts saving energy, you’ll earn $20.
2. Install a smart thermostat to save ~$173/Year
With the latest technological upgrades in the world of smart thermostats, you can save up to 10% on heating and cooling your home by investing in a system that learns your habits and adjusts to keep you comfortable and save you money.
Research shows that optimal summer temperatures are 85 °F while you’re away and 78°F when you’re at home. In the winter, aim for around 68°F when you’re home and 58°F or less while you’re away or sleeping.
A Nest or ecobee smart thermostat will learn your habits, so it can automatically turn itself down while you’re away and adjust to your preferred temperatures.
These settings can save you up to 10% on your heating and cooling — an average of $173 per year.
Give your water heater a hug
On-demand water heaters are often the most efficient choice, since water isn’t being heated when not in use. For electric hot water tanks, try wrapping it in an insulating blanket to reduce heat loss!
Do your chores after 7pm
The washer, dryer, and dishwasher all use a lot of energy and often run for long periods. Try shifting your schedule to wash clothes or dishes during off-peak hours – typically after 7pm or anytime on weekends and when energy costs are at their lowest.
Fight phantom power consumption
Plug countertop appliances and electronics into a power bar and program it to switch off at night. Remember that televisions, cable boxes, PVRs and game consoles suck energy even when not in use. If you have them all on a single power bar, it’s easy to switch off before everyone goes to bed.
6. Keep your vents open and clean
If you have central air conditioning and/or heat, check the vents in your home. Some may be closed, meaning your air conditioner and heater may be struggling to keep your home or apartment the right temperature. Your vents also use air filters to keep dirt, dust, and other unwanted stuff from blowing throughout your home. Those filters should be replaced every few months or they’ll prevent ideal airflow. You can pick up a bulk pack at your local hardware store for $1-2 per filter. Just be sure to measure the size of your vents before you go so you get the right ones.
Make your dishwasher work for you
For something the majority of us give so little thought to, your dishwasher can have a major impact on your utility bill. To make sure you’re not sending money down the drain every night:
- Upgrade your old dishwasher to an EnergyStar appliance. They’ll use less energy and save you money on your water and electric bills.
- Part of the cleaning process requires quite a bit of heat and hot water, but drying your dishes doesn’t. Most machines employ a heated dry method that you can disable. Turn off that setting to save a significant chunk of change on your bill.
- Load it effectively: Turns out, where you place your dishes matter!
- The bottom rack works best for plates, and plates should face into the center of the dishwasher.
- Place all utensils with the handle at the bottom. This means the sharp end goes up, so be very careful that you don’t hurt yourself. The handle doesn’t get as dirty, so it doesn’t need as much attention as the other end of your utensils. Facing the sharp ends upwards allows more water to reach them.
- Place your bowls and cups on the top row. Cups should face down and bowls at a slanted downward angle. If you don’t face rounded items downward, water will get caught inside them and may not reach the lower dishes as much as it needs to.
- Additionally, tupperware and other thin plastics belong up top as well, regardless of their shape. The heat from the washing machine can warp them, and that’s less likely to happen on the top rack.
- When dealing with large and flat objects (e.g. a cutting board), do not place them close and parallel to the dishwasher door. When loaded up front like this, flat objects can prevent the detergent door from fully opening and the detergent from being used at all. This prevents the dishwasher from properly cleaning your dishes and you’ll have to run the load again. That’s twice the power consumption.
Replace old toilets
The major water use inside the home is toilet flushing. If your home was built before 1992 and you haven’t replaced your toilets recently, you probably could benefit from installing high efficiency toilets that use 1.6 gallons or less per flush. A family of four can save 16,000 to 27,000 gallons of water per year by making this change.
9. Get a free solar savings estimate from Google
Heard of Google’s “Project Sunroof”?
It’s a free, online service that determines how much you can save over 20 years by installing solar panels. Type in your address and it pulls it up on Google Maps and tells you how many hours of usable sunlight your house receives, as well as how many square feet of roof space you have.
From there, you can get quotes from local companies to install solar panels. It’s basically a free way to get a quote without having anyone to climb a ladder and scope out your roof.
Your turn! Tell us – what do you do to reduce your eco-footprint and keep your utility bill low each month?