Utility bills can make up a large chunk of what we spend each month, and these bills have the ability to add extra stress to the everyday life of college students who may not have a steady stream of income. Even though utility bills can feel quite costly, there are several tips and tricks to reduce the amount of resources used, and therefore reduce the amount of money that is spent on utilities. Here are several energy saving ideas for college students that are actually quite simple but have the ability to greatly cut back on monthly utility costs.
Ceiling Fans Instead of Heating and Air Conditioning
Especially in harsh summer and winter conditions, cranking up the air conditioning or heating can be tempting, even if it is at the expense of extra utility costs. However, taking advantage of ceiling fans for regulating the temperature in a room is much more cost-efficient and is a solid step toward creating a more energy efficient lifestyle. If you have a home or dorm room that has a ceiling fan, setting it so that it moves clockwise will push hot air down and keep your home warmer in winter. Setting it to move counter-clockwise will draw hot air up and keep your home cooler in the hot summer season.
Take Quicker Showers
It goes without saying that reducing the amount of time you take when showering will reduce your water bill. Learning how to take quicker and more efficient showers will provide you with a smaller water bill at the end of the month. However, the length of your showers is not the only thing increasing water costs; the type of shower head you use should be considered as well. Unsurprisingly, a lot of older shower heads are less efficient than some of the shower heads available on the market today. Per minute, many of the older shower heads will spout four to five gallons of water while the more energy efficient ones often only put out one and a half gallons, often without sacrificing the luxury of great water pressure.
If you live in an apartment or other home with a dishwasher, take advantage of it. Contrary to popular belief, hand washing dishes uses up more water than using a dish washer correctly. To maximize efficiency and save on water costs, it is a good idea to only start the dish washing cycle when there is a full load of dishes to be cleaned, as it will use the same amount of water and energy as a smaller load. Instead of giving dishes a pre-rinse, merely using a fork to scrape off excess food debris can reduce utility bills.
Unplug Electronics When Not in Use
Phantom energy refers to the energy used when an electronic or appliance is plugged in while it is not being used, and phantom energy can really add up. Though unplugging an electronic device every time it is not being used may seem excessive, it has been estimated that this phantom energy accounts for about ten percent of the average home’s monthly energy costs! To make unplugging electronics less of a hassle, consider using a power strip; simply switching the power strip off before you leave the house or go to bed eliminates the phantom energy use of multiple electronic devices at once, and helps you save big.