6 Easy Steps To Save On Your Utility Bills

6 Easy Steps To Save on Your Utility Bills

Most of your monthly bills are reliable, with little to no variance month after month. There should be no surprises when you write out your rent check or pay your auto bill. But your utilities offer an opportunity that few other bills do: You can take a few steps now to save yourself some money on your next bill. Without breaking the bank on costly upgrades, try these simple steps to reduce your utility bills.

Plug Into Power Strips.

Turning off electronics at the wall is the only way to stop their slow siphoning of power. By plugging your TV, cable box, gaming systems, laptops, and other entertainment electronics into one strip, you can easily cut all power at once when not in use.

Although you can put these devices into a “sleep” mode, they’re continuing to draw a significant amount of power as long as they’re plugged in.

Make the Light Switch.

Renters and owners alike can make this simple switch from incandescent to CFL or LED light bulbs, which last longer, use less energy, and can recreate that cozy glow associated with the older bulbs. They’re more expensive at the checkout, but will more than pay for themselves throughout their lifespan. Incandescent bulbs lose up to 90% of their energy in radiating heat, whereas LEDs emit very little heat, use 75% less energy, and last 25 times longer.

Dial Back the Water Temperature.

As a homeowner, you can adjust the maximum temperature on your water heater to a safe, warm level. (If you have a compromised immune system, however, this might not be the best solution for you, as it can increase the possibility of bacteria growth.) According to Energy.gov, this simple calibration can save you as much as $61 a year. While you’re there, ensure your water heater is insulated to preserve standby heat, and check to see if your water pipes are insulated as well.

Use a Smart Thermostat.

A smart thermostat, such as the Nest Learning Thermostat, will learn your schedule and habits and adjust your house’s temperature to keep you comfortable while reducing unnecessary energy use. If upgrading to a smart thermostat isn’t an option, keep an eye on your thermostat and do it manually instead.

When you leave for work in the morning, or before you go to bed, turn down your air conditioning or heat to save energy for when you’ll need it most. Energy.gov estimates that by dialing back the temperatures (or dialing them up, during the summer cooling season), you can save up to 10% off your annual heating and cooling bills.

Seal Windows.

If you own your home, you can purchase and install storm windows that can insulate better than drafty single-pane windows, saving you up to a third of your energy bill. If you’re renting, you still aren’t completely helpless. Try sealing winter windows with heat-shrink plastic wrap to trap in a layer of insulating air and block drafts. It might not match your goal design aesthetics, but it can save you up to $20 per window, if you live in chilly a chilly locale.

Use Less Water.

Reducing water consumption is pretty straightforward: Take shorter showers, do laundry only when you have a full load, and consider swapping showerheads and faucets with low-flow fixtures. If you have a dishwasher, use it: Handwashing dishes takes an average of 16 gallons of water, whereas most dishwashers use just 4.5 to 10 gallons. To go a step further, examine all of your appliances and fixtures for water leaks and have them properly sealed. For other water-saving tips around the house and garden, read this tip sheet from the Environmental Protection Agency.

6 Easy Steps To Save on Your Utility Bills

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