Green Homes

Building for the future, today – combining the best of historical wisdom and modern technology.

Add to My MSN

5 Tips to Help You Lower Your Utility Bill

6/7/2013 2:30:00 PM

Tags: energy conservation, home automation, David Glenn

thermostatEverybody’s trying to save money. And even if you aren’t especially tight on cash right now you don’t want to be throwing money away. One of the most common expenses that can easily be lowered is the monthly utility bill. There are so many factors that contribute to the cost of utilities—climate, age of home, supplier prices—but regardless of your current price it is always possible for the cost to go down. Here are a handful of simple tips to keep in mind so that you can keep your utility bills from climbing through the roof! 

Be Smart About the Thermostat  

You should be comfortable in your home. But it’s less important that your furniture enjoys nice warm temperatures while you’re out of the house. Turn down the thermostat when you leave for the day and especially if you’re leaving for an extended period of time for vacations etc. Generally speaking, you can save about three percent on your heating bill by lowering the thermostat just a single degree. If you have a newer thermostat it likely allows you to have it automatically programmed to lower during the day and overnight while you’re cozy in bed. You might also consider lowering your water heater temperature slightly. Smart thermostats allow you to do this at the utmost convenience, and with little effort.

Seal Up the Leaks  

Leaking warm air out into the winter cold is almost literally like throwing money out the window. New windows and doors can be expensive to have installed but if that isn’t in your budget there is still a lot you can do to help the problem. The easiest solution is keeping curtains on the windows and closing them at night to soften heat loss. It is also very affordable to buy door sweeps, caulk, or weather stripping keep the cold air out and the warm air in.

Keep Everything in Good Shapeplug outlet  

Poorly maintained equipment is far less efficient. Regularly check your HVAC unit and other equipment to ensure that filters are clean, insulation is sufficient, etc. Even older heaters can be extremely effective if they are well maintained. Don’t forget the simple things like changing out incandescent light bulbs for compact fluorescents that last longer and produce less wasted energy.

Turn off or Unplug Appliances  

About twenty percent of most total energy bills are the direct result of appliances and home electronics. Most people are surprised to find how many small gadgets are left plugged into outlets even when they are not in use. Establish a rule in your home: unplug it when you’re done. Additional energy can be saved by turning off appliances that are used regularly enough that unplugging would be an inconvenience when you are not using them. Computers, TVs and radios are common examples. 

fluorescent lightbulbTurn off the Lights  

Most people are unaware of how often lights are left on in rooms that are unoccupied. Make it a habit to turn off the lights in any room that you leave unoccupied and make sure to turn off all lights before leaving the house, especially if it is going to be for an extended amount of time. Many home-automated systems allow you to remotely control lights (and other utilities) from your smart phone. If you have those features you should take advantage by regularly monitoring your utility usage.

David Glenn is a home improvement and DIY expert of over 20 years. He enjoys working with his hands and keeping up with the technology trends and advances.

Related Content

Money, Money, Money

Who isn't worried about the economy right now? Here's some good advice on what to do with your money...

Reader Callout: Submit Your Kitchen Tips

Readers share kitchen tips, such as ways to save time and money.

Flushing the Toilet with Greywater

Find out the easiest way to use greywater in your home.

How to Garden Without (Much) Money

Learn to think differently and you can grow a garden without breaking the bank.

Content Tools

Post a comment below.


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.