Easy Tips to Lower Your Utility Bills

Who enjoys spending hundreds of dollars on utilities every month? That’s right, no one. But most of us don’t even think about all the little things we do every day that cost us money.

Some small changes in your home can be really worthwhile. Sure, each change might just save you a few cents here and there, but over time, this can add up to big savings. With some easy and inexpensive cost-saving measures, you can painlessly save some of that cash you’re shelling out each month.

Water

Water leaks A typical home can lose 2,000 to 20,000 gallons of water per year due to leaks. You can use your water meter to see if you have any leaks in your home. Turn off all the water in your home and record the meter’s reading. Make sure no one uses any water for the next 15 minutes and then look at the meter again. If the reading has changed, you likely have a leak. And if you have drippy faucets? Get them fixed. Those drips add up to a lot of wasted water.

Don’t let water run Fill the sink with water when you shave, wash vegetables and fruit, or rinse dishes. And don’t let the water run when you brush your teeth, either!

Install a low-flow showerhead Water-efficient showerheads are fairly inexpensive, and there are models that won’t leave you showering with just a trickle of water. You’ll make up the cost of that new showerhead in just a few months.

Heating/cooling

Install a programmable thermostat Programmable thermostats allow you to effortlessly change the temperature of your house at nighttime or when you’re not at home. You’ll save about 3 percent of your bill for every degree you lower the thermostat.

Change your filter Clean filters are more efficient and use less energy than dirty ones do, so make sure to replace them on schedule.

Seal gaps around your homes doors and windows and add insulation to attic and exterior walls Sealing gaps and adding insulation are simple steps that help your home retain heat better in the winter and keep things cooler in the summer. You can buy winterization kits or just use rolled-up towels and blankets to block the cold from drafty doors and windows.

Electricity

Get energy-efficient bulbs Although they’re initially more expensive, energy-efficient bulbs will save you money in the long run. Compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs last 10 to 20 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. CFLs also use less heat, so you’ll save some money on your AC bill. Remember that lower wattage bulbs cost less to use than higher wattage ones do, so always go with a lower wattage bulb if you can.

Turn things off Turn the lights off when you leave a room, unplug electronics when they finish charging, and unplug appliances when they’re not in use. Phantom energy (energy used by devices that are switched off or not in use) costs you more than you think.

Make your dryer more efficient Dryers are massive energy hogs, but if you must use them instead of line drying, make sure that the lint filter is clean and that the room the dryer is in has plenty of circulation. Your clothes will dry faster, saving you money.

Energy Audit

As a final tip, ask your utility company about performing an energy audit on your home. Utility companies usually want to help you conserve energy, and they often employ auditors who come to your home and help you find ways to save. Alternatively, you can hire a professional to do an audit. Chances are, you’ll save enough money that it will be worth it.

Photo by Joe Schlabotnik