Paying for utilities is a necessary evil, but that doesn’t mean we are powerless (pardon the pun, ha, ha!). If your utility bills are high, there might be things you can do about it.
The first thing you can do is to read the mail from your utility company. I know it’s easier to toss it in the recycling bin, but many utility companies provide tips on how to reduce your usage as well as info on any available rebates or rewards programs they may be offering. Their websites can be another resource. Here are my tried-and-true tips for saving money on your utility bills.
How to Save Money on Your Water Bill
- Turn off the water while brushing your teeth, doing the dishes, or anytime you aren’t actively using it. And make sure faucets are completely off when not in use – that dripping water really adds up.
- Speaking of dripping, if you have a leak, try to get it fixed ASAP. A small leak can really cost you. And small leaks can become big leaks. YouTube tutorials can help you solve relatively benign problems on your own before calling in a pro.
- You may love a showerhead that feels like Niagara Falls, but high flow showerheads use a lot of water. Consider replacing your showerhead with a low flow option, like the Niagara Earth Massage showerhead, which is only $8.
- Some water and power companies charge a higher rate for day usage – a great reason to run the dishwasher or do a load of laundry while you’re bingeing on Netflix.
- Speaking of washing dishes, make good use of your dishwasher instead of handwashing. It may surprise you to learn that dishwashers use significantly less water than washing your dishes yourself. Not to mention it’s usually much faster! Just be sure to have a full load of dishes before running a cycle.
- Along those lines, make a habit of running your washing machine with a full load. And use the Cold cycle unless you’re washing very soiled clothing. Also, skip extra rinse cycles, and turn off the “heat dry” setting.
- Check your water heater temperature. While the default temperature is 140 F, reducing the temperature to 120 F is an energy-saver that could save you around $40-$60 per year, according to experts.
How to Save Money on Your Electric Bill
- We’re using our A/C’s like crazy right now, so make a note to check air filters monthly. If there is dirt, hair or dust, clean or replace them if your model allows for this. Buy air filters in bulk to save.
- Keep A/C units clear of furniture or anything else that may be blocking them.
- Keep bushes trimmed around your outdoor A/C units and remove any debris. Rule of thumb: Give the unit a minimum of 1 ft clearance on all sides.
- Adjust your thermostat to 68 F in the winter and 78 F in the summer (and turn it off when traveling). Bonus points if you put it on autopilot with a smart thermostat (like Nest) which will allow you to control it while you’re away.
- Replace your most frequently used light bulbs with energy-efficient bulbs to save around $45-$50 a year, experts say. LEDs, halogen incandescents, and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are the most popular options.
- Pick up some light-blocking curtains for windows in particularly sunny rooms. You don’t have to go for full-on blackout curtains, but any type of shades or opaque curtains will help your rooms feel cooler in the summer without putting your A/C on overdrive.
- Unplug appliances when not in use. Experts say this can save 5-10% off your bill each month.
- Inspect your home for any areas where warm or cool air could be escaping and seal them. Think ducts, drafty attic corners, and under doors.
- Choose fans over central air conditioning – they use less energy. Set ceiling fan blades to rotate counterclockwise during the summer and clockwise in the winter. If you don’t have ceiling fans, oscillating stand fans will do the trick.
- Grab some wool dryer balls to cut your drying time by around 25%. This not only saves energy, but you also save money by not needing to repurchase dryer sheets. What’s more, they’re a much more eco-friendly swap! Win-win-win.
- If you’re in the market to replace any big-ticket appliances, upgrade to a recent ENERGY STAR-certified model if the budget allows. To save money on these big purchases, shop during 3-day weekends or on Black Friday/Cyber Monday.
- Invest in better insulation, especially if you live in an older home. Proper insulation helps keep heat in your home for longer and saves you money. Consider a professional home energy audit to see where you can step up your energy-saving game. Some power companies offer this service.
- Close windows and doors when not in use. Otherwise, you’re kissing your warm or cool air (and your money) goodbye!
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