Everybody’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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.