11 Ways To Save Money and Energy in Your Military Home
Home is where the heart is or — for service members and their families — home is where the military sends you. For each and every on-post house that you customize and make your own, there are small tweaks and fixes you can employ that will save your military family money.
Some duty stations provide rebates to service members in exchange for low monthly energy usage, which means extra money in your pocket. With the right tools and techniques, you can be both comfortable and efficient without spending excess cash.
If you’re ready to start saving immediately, these tips will help you cut back on energy, water, warming and cooling costs. Many of these tweaks come at no cost to you, and you can begin as soon as you finish reading this article!
- Turn it off. Get into the habit of turning off lights when leaving a room. Open blinds or curtains in the daylight and utilize as much natural light as possible. Not watching your TV or using your game console? Turn it off to save even more.
- Unplug it. Did you know that kitchen/bathroom appliances and chargers for phones, computers, tablets, etc., still pull electricity even when not in use? When you unplug your device, unplug your charger from the wall as well. Only plug in as needed.
- Adjust temps. Most homes only require water heaters to be set at 115 degrees F, whereas the default manufacturer setting is 140 degrees F. This quick adjustment can save you up to 10% annually. When it comes to your thermostat settings, the US Department of Energy recommends 68 degrees F in winter and 78 degrees F in summer, for maximum savings.
- Close it off. When it comes to AC (and heat in the winter), don’t pay to cool/warm rooms that you aren’t using. For example, if you have a guest room/office that is mostly unoccupied, close off the vents in that room and even shut the door. The bonus is that this will send more controlled air/heat to the rooms you do utilize.
- Window treatments. Thermal and blackout curtains both regulate light and temperature in your house. Utilize them to block excess heat from the sun and act as insulation from outside temperatures. And having a cool, dark room on summer nights when the sun is still up, may help you sleep better, conserving your energy as well!
- Fill it up. If you’re going to spend the energy, water and money to run the washing machine or dishwasher, know that the most efficient method is to only run them with full loads. If you have just a couple of items, hand wash or wait until you can fill it up before hitting “start.”
- Air dry. You can air dry clothing, hair, and even dishes to reduce energy and money spent on extra heating. Drying racks for clothing and dishes are available from your PX/BX.
- Kitchen hacks. In the heat of the summer, your oven can heat up the entire house. Instead, use your slow cooker, microwave, or take it outside and grill. In the winter, put your oven on self-cleaning mode to double up efforts — it will warm your house while incinerating any mess inside!
- Bright ideas. Your on-post housing may utilize energy-efficient light bulbs, but make sure to also purchase them for any lamps you own. According to the Department of Energy, by replacing your home’s five most frequently used light fixtures with ENERGY STAR bulbs, you can save an average of $75 each year.
- Low flow. To reduce water usage and expenditures, faucet aerators placed on sink faucets will introduce air into the water, creating consistency in flow and pressure. Investing in a low-flow shower head can save your family thousands of gallons (and several dollars) each year.
- Make it a personal mission. It is much easier to warm or cool yourself than it is an entire home. In the heat of summer, opt for lots of water and — if you love your caffeine fix — cool off with iced tea and coffee. In the cold of winter, cozy up with hot coffee, tea or hot chocolate. And never underestimate the value of sitting in front of a fan in summer or adding on extras (blankets, socks, slippers, hoodies or hats), to warm yourself efficiently in the winter.
Energy saved is money saved. With these tips, you can live comfortably in your military housing, reduce your usage and costs, and — in some cases — earn money back. Happy savings!