This week the Dallas Morning News reported that the unusually cool and wet weather has resulted in lower utility bills. Based on the averages published in this story, people spent about $85 less in June of this year than the same time last year on water and electricity.
The writer takes the piece in an odd direction midway through by asking a consumer credit counselor what people should do with that money. Save it, she said, not surprisingly.
My suggestion? Spend it on something that will reduce your energy and water bills, whether the weather gets hot or not! Here are five ideas for what to do with your spare $85.
1. Buy 10 CFL light bulbs.
They use 70% less energy than their incandescent counterparts and last 10 times as long.
2. Buy a programmable thermostat.
For every 1 degree you lower the thermostat, you save 10% on electricity.
3. Get an A/C tuneup.
A large percentage of these have efficiency problems, inadequate airflow, or other problems that could be solved to increase utilization.
4. Plant a tree in a west facing exposure.
A U.S. energy dept. model says that 3 trees planted in the proper places could save the average house $100-200 / year on energy. Learn more at the Pioneer Thinking website.
5. Get an insulating blanket wrap for your water heater.
It costs about $20 and reduces standby heat loss. Instructions are here.