Updated: Feb 20
Who doesn’t love saving money, right? I got a better one for all of you; how many of you all grew up with your parents clocking your showers. God forbid your shower was anything over 10 minutes. Was your father the light bill sheriff? Every time you left a room for more than a minute, he would come behind you and flick the light off. Now that you are an adult with kids of yours, you feel their pain. Shoot, just being an adult with your bills, you understand. Some products are easy to install in your home to help with that fluctuating electric bill or high water bill along with saving money long term.
Energy Star Certification
If a product has been Energy Star certified, it has met rigorous energy conservation standards established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy. These are products that have been approved by the government to be highly energy efficient. Products that are not Energy Star certified are still reliable and efficient, but the Energy Star logo reassures purchases. I will provide energy-efficient products that are Energy Star compliant and those not at the bottom of this blog.
LED Light Bulb
LED lights bulbs, on average last 50,000 to 100,000 operating hours. That is 2-4 times more than your average fluorescent light bulbs. The less frequent you have to change light bulbs, the less money you have to spend. LEDs also consume low amounts of power. The two statistics to look for when comparing how energy efficient an LED bulb is: luminous efficacy or useful lumens. These two categories describe the amount of light emitted per unit of Power. This is another known as watts consumed by the bulb. Result in a 60-75% improvement in the overall energy efficiency of the facility’s lighting. Depending on the existing lights and the individual LEDs installed, the savings could be more than 90%.
Low- flow Shower Heads and Faucets
Low flow sink faucets and shower heads save money on your water bill and can save on your gas/electric bill. The less water used means less energy is needed from your water heater to provide hot water. A low-flow shower head uses 1.5 gallons per minute (GPM); a standard shower head uses 2.5 GPM. A traditional water faucet is 1 to 1.5 GPM. A low-flow faucet uses .5 GPM.
The smart thermostat is detected more frequently these days. You have to wonder why people don’t mind investing in one. You can schedule your HVAC to run less while you’re gone for the day, which allows you to use less energy by cooling your home only while you’re in it. You can program your digital thermostat to kick in right before you or your family come home so that your home is a perfect 69 degrees from the moment you walk in the door. Accordingly to Nest, their smart thermostats save 10-12% on heating and 15% on cooling. That’s an average of $131-145 a year. The Nest thermostat is Energy Star certified as well. There are other brands available that are useful, as well.
Advanced Power Strips (APS)
About 10% of our energy usage in our home is due to what is called “vampire loads.” This occurs when electricity is still used by appliances when they are not in use. For example, your TV is off but still plugged in or your game system. The solution to this is an advanced power strip. To prevent “vampire load,” a standard surge protector must be switched off entirely (or each device must be unplugged). With an APS, you designate one device as the “control”—so when you turn off your TV, for example, other electronics plugged into the strip are automatically shut off. It will save you time, effort, and money in the form of lower electric bills.
Double Flush Toilet
Dual flush technology allows a person to use less water when a low-volume flush is needed. Water velocity is expended vice water volume, which will enable you to use water more efficiently. You would be surprised how much your water bill can skyrocket when you have a toilet that is not energy efficient and is leaking or continuously running.
Landlord Food for Thought
There are two things a landlord should care about the most. #1 is keeping his or her tenant happy and safe. #2 is cash flow. Here’s how you can kill two birds with one stone. There are a lot of landlords that have their tenant pay utilities. This could be gas, water, or electricity. Sometimes like in my case, I pay the water bill while my tenants pay their gas and electricity. Installing the low-flow faucet and shower head does two things: those products keep the water bill I have to pay down, and it allows them to use less hot water, which lowers their electric/gas bill. Lowering my water bill creates more cash flow in my pocket and less money to pay out to the local city utility department. Even if I don’t pay the electric bill, I still care enough to install LED light bulbs because the lower I keep my tenants’ electric bill, the more likely they are to pay their rent and the happier they will be. How many people do you know challenge themselves and their families to get a light bill lower the following month? I know a few. “Ok, we got the light bill down to $100; let’s see if we can get it down to $85 next month!” As a landlord and someone who pays my utilities in my primary home, I like to keep my expenses low. The money you spend on utilities could be going into your pockets.
Below are the recommended products I use myself or have been Energy Star certified: