Conventional wisdom asserts that the bigger the family, the bigger the bills. But this doesn’t have to be true. In fact, families with more children are often more adept at cost-saving measures that can help them keep their household budget under control. Taking these steps to save energy in your own home, no matter how many children you have, can make you one of them. Here’s how you cut your energy consumption and increase your savings.
1. Keep the refrigerator closed. All of the appliances in your kitchen could be using up to 20 per cent of your total household energy. That’s food for thought, especially when you and the kids may take what seems like forever to decide what to snack on in front of an open refrigerator door. Keep all that frigid air on the inside by deciding what you’re going to get before you head to the kitchen to take a large chunk out of that 20 per cent.
2. Start a lighting coalition. Get the kids together and explain to them how important it is to be conservative with electricity, and especially lighting. Set rules for turning off the lights before leaving a room. If they range in age from toddler to teenagers, there is a good chance that all of them won’t understand. But the older ones can help keep the younger ones on track by leading by example.
3. Limit showers and hot water use in general. With so many people in one household, the hot water heater probably gets quite a trial each day. Ask the kids to keep their showers short (such as five minutes or less), and remind them to turn off the water while they brush their teeth in the morning and at night. To help save even more energy, make sure your hot water heater and the plumbing pipes are well-insulated to keep them from losing heat.
4. Compare gas and electricity prices. While the kids are busy controlling the thermostat, you can make a parental contribution to lower energy bills by researching cheaper companies that provide service in your area. If you’re one of the hundreds of thousands of UK residents that experienced an increase in your energy tariff over the past six month, get online and go to a price comparison site to compare your current service with other providers and find information on how to make the switch.
5. Make a temperature chart. To help save money on heating and air conditioning costs, remind the family to turn the thermostat up by two degrees in the summer and down by two degrees in the winter. If you have an entire gang of Picassos, they could even get together to make a colourful chart to post near the thermostat as a friendly and fun reminder. Also, remember to talk to them about what they can do in lieu of turning the climate control up or down, such as dressing in layers or grabbing their favourite blankets.