This year’s winter, with the polar vortex, power outages and one storm after another, has wreaked havoc across Maryland. The result is extremely high energy bills for consumers at a time when utility rates in the state are spiraling, along with new energy-related fees and surcharges. So, between rate increases and a volatile, endless winter, many consumers are struggling with high utility bills, including baby boomers contemplating retirement.
One of the best ways to combat escalating utility bills is through energy conservation. Most baby boomers are environmentalists and naturalists at heart and have always been advocates of conservation to preserve our country’s precious natural resources. Now this commitment to nature will help them with their energy bills.
There are a number of things boomers are doing to conserve energy and lower their gas and electric bills. Energy conservation begins at home. The following energy conservation tips help boomers save on energy costs and lower monthly utility bills:
- lower the thermostat in winter and push it up a few degrees in the summer so that you do not use your air conditioning unless it is really necessary. Install and set a programmable thermostat. Energy.gov estimates you can save about 10 percent a year on your utility bill by using a programmable thermostat and resetting it when you go to bed each night or go away from home.
- use sunlight to your advantage. According to Baby Boomer Lifeboat, ‘the sun’s rays contribute heat in the winter but force air conditioners and fans to work harder and use more energy in the summer.’ So, open your curtains on winter days and let the sunshine in to heat up your home. Light colored window shades or blinds can reflect the heat back outside on summer days.
- shut off the heat and/or air conditioning in rooms not being used, turn off the lights when you leave a room and turn off computers and televisions when they are not being used.
- Use power strips for electronic devices because they can easily turn off multiple units when not in use.
- fix leaky faucets, caulk windows and seal drafty doors.
- do laundry when you have a full load to preserve hot water and wash in cold water whenever possible. This full load advice applies to your dishwasher, too.
These energy conservation tips can save baby boomers on energy costs, lower their utility bills and help them conserve energy as they help preserve the environment.