Everyone these days is looking to lower the cost of utility bills. The typical American family spends around $1,600 a year on utilities and many pay upwards of $500 a month. With the right moves, you can slash your utility bills and do a little good for the planet.
To really make a dent in your utility bills, we must first realize that more than half of the energy we use in the home goes towards heating and cooling. Another big chunk goes to water, so these are the areas that we should focus on the most.
The Best Ways to Lower Your Utility Bills
Depending on where you live and the time of year, you’re always expending energy trying to keep heat in or out of your home. Whether you’re running heating or cooling, how insulated your house is, makes all the difference to how much energy you need to use up to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home.
Your attic is where the most energy is lost. Good fiberglass insulation in the attic will typically lower your heating and cooling costs by around 10-20%. Adding insulation is inexpensive and simple to do, and it repays itself in no time.
Your next concern is keeping out drafts. Applying weather stripping is another simple, inexpensive DIY project that will stop the heat or cold from permeating your walls. Professional siding installation not only lowers your energy bills, but it also makes the exterior of your house look great. Siding replacement can increase the value of your home while saving you money every day.
Even outlets and sockets should be sealed with specialized outlet and switch plate seals, as they are often sources of air leaks, especially when they’re on an outside wall.
Insulating your water heater can save up to 9% on your water heating costs if you have an older water heater.
A Programmable Thermostat
Now that we’re not losing any of the hot or cold air we’re creating, it’s time to get smart about how and when we need the air or heating running.
A programmable thermostat is estimated to lower utility bills by 10%. You can set your home to be a different temperature at night and during the day. If you’re not there during the day, you can program the thermostat to drop the temperature very low and only return the heat when you’re about to arrive home.
The more you can turn your thermostat down, the more you’ll save. Every degree makes a difference, so try slowly lowering the temperature to see how low you can go while still feeling comfortable.
On the Cost of Water
A standard showerhead can put out around 4 gallons of water per minute. Instead, switch to a low-flow showerhead that puts out around 1.5 gallons of water. You’ll still get powerful showers, but you’ll save money on water heating and conserve water.
Also, 90% of the energy you use when washing clothes is to heat the water. Switch to washing on cold and you are looking at massive savings on your washing.
Do you run your dishwasher when it’s half full? Make sure it’s packed to the brim each time to save energy. To save even more, switch off any drying function and just let your dishes dry themselves. If you have large pots and pans, consider washing them by hand, as they take up a lot of room in the dishwasher making for an inefficient wash.
Energy Star Appliances
We don’t suggest you rush out and buy a whole new range of appliances, but when it does come time to replace each appliance ensure you’re checking the Energy Star efficiency ratings of the replacements. Highly efficient appliances are usually only a little more expensive than their inefficient counterparts are, and you can be sure that paying a little more upfront will pay huge dividends in energy cost savings.
Consider how you use your appliances, too. For example, a microwave uses a fraction of the energy of an oven or stovetop, so if you’re reheating something consider using the microwave first. Similarly, if you’re cooking something small, try to use a toaster oven instead of heating a full oven. You’ll not only save energy, but it cooks faster too, thanks to the smaller area the toaster oven needs to heat.
There are hundreds of ways you can lower your utility bills, and hopefully, these tips will give you ideas on how you can save money while helping to save the planet.