How to Save on Utility Bills
Americans spend more than $2,000 a year on utility bills and these costs are on the rise, making it more important than ever to reduce them. Many bills are increasing more than inflation and have been for close to a decade at this point, with experts predicting that this trend will continue.
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In this guide, we’ll show you how to reduce your bills, making big decisions now that could save you in the long-term. More importantly, these tips will guard you against any major price fluctuations.
Solar panels are getting cheaper and more essential. It’s still an expensive and daunting proposition, but in a decade the panels will start paying for themselves. You will also have future-proofed your home, preparing for a time when the cost of energy skyrockets and these panels become the norm on new houses throughout the United States and all over the world.
You can reduce the cost of solar panel installation with solar tax credits. After these have been accounted for, the average cost is somewhere around $12,000. That may seem like a lot, but it’s roughly a third of the cost of the average new car and unlike that car, which will depreciate rapidly and cost you in the long-term, solar panels will save you more than they are worth.
Insulate Your Home
Insulation prevents heat and cold from escaping, which means you’ll find yourself using less and saving more. It can be improved in most areas of your home and is essential whether you’re living in a cold or hot climate.
Fix the seals on your windows and doors; ensure your ventilation and heating systems are running at maximum efficiency, and make sure your home is well insulated. The garage door is one of the biggest drains on a home’s heating and cooling as the average door is thin, old, and in dire need of replacing.
A brand-new, high-tech door can reduce your bills over time, and it will also improve your curb appeal, thus increasing the value of your home.
Buy Energy Star Saving Appliances
Home appliances have improved a lot in the last few years and continue to improve with each new generation and each new technological advancement. If your old appliance breathes its last haggard breath, look into buying a new, energy-saving option. If you’re buying new, it shouldn’t cost much more than the energy-hungry options but will save you massive sums during its lifetime.
Look for appliances with an Energy Star rating every time you need to buy a replacement.
Use Energy-Saving Lightbulbs
If your home doesn’t have them already, look into installing energy-saving lightbulbs. Although this is a tip you will see on many articles about reducing utility bills, they often neglect to mention that you shouldn’t simply swap all the bulbs you have in your home and then trash them.
Firstly, make sure the bulbs you have aren’t already energy-saving. Secondly, if they’re not energy saving bulbs, wait for them to expire before you swap them. Just buy in bulk and keep the lights on standby until they are needed. Halogen lights, CFLs, and LEDs can all help to save money and should pay for themselves within a year or two.
Dryer balls are simple woolen balls that you add to your tumble dryer to reduce dry times and soften your clothes, thus reducing energy costs and negating the need for fabric softener. They’re also free of the sort of chemicals found in dryer sheets, ones that could harm your skin and your clothes.
Dryer balls work by separating your clothes during the cycle, allowing more air to flow between them. They can also help to reduce static, which means your clothes will have fewer wrinkles and pet hair.
Reduce Water Consumption
You can reduce water consumption by taking showers instead of baths and shaving just a couple of minutes off your shower time. There are also water-saving shower heads that can reduce water consumption by several thousand gallons a year without making a difference to your usual routine.
Fix leaky faucets, collect rainwater in a water butt, and use cold water washes for clothes that don’t have any deeply ingrained stains. As long as you’re using a good detergent, there will be no issues with cleanliness.
Unplug Your Appliance
Start developing good habits with regards to your appliances. Turn off lights that you’re not using, stop leaving TVs, computers, and consoles on stand-by, and limit your use of air conditioning. You may only save a few bucks here and there, but this adds up to tens of dollars every few months and it’s a small but important part of the bigger picture.
Ask for Changing Rates
Some customers are charged a flat rate throughout the day, which means a load of washing will cost you the same whether you’re doing it in the morning or late at night. However, you can request changing rates from your utility provider, reducing the cost of running your home during off-peak hours.
Once you have those rates, you can start leaving your chores for when those cheaper rates apply, potentially saving as much as 25% every time you run the dishwasher, washing machine, and tumble dryer.
Keep the Thermostat Stable
Your heater and air conditioning drain the most energy in your home and account for a sizeable percentage of the $2,000 household spend that we quoted at the outset of this guide. By reducing the air conditioning during the summer and dropping the heating during the winter, you can make big savings over the year. Even a few degrees are enough to make a noticeable saving, especially if you’re used to placing the devices on maximum settings.
Wear a sweater, invest in some blankets, get a portable fan—do whatever it takes to reduce your use of heating and air conditioning without sacrificing the health of your family.
You can also switch to a programmable thermostat. The installation process is a little difficult, but you can save an estimated 10% on your energy bills with this one change.
Summary: A Little Effort Goes a Long Way
It takes time and money to make these changes, but in the long run, it’s worth it and will ensure you have more money for the things that really matter in life. Less money spent on energy bills means more money is available for vacations, family time, college educations, and all the other things you enjoy.