Tips for Paying Less for Utilities
Utilities like electricity and gas can be very expensive, especially during the hot summer when the air conditioning is cranked up to keep you cool. However, there are many things you can do to pay less for air conditioning, heating, electricity, gas, and other utilities.
Here are some tips for keeping your utility bills down.
Turn Off Lights and Get Energy Efficient Lighting
An easy way to reduce your electricity bill is to turn off lights when you’re not using them. Turn off overhead lights and use lamps or natural sunlight to provide illumination whenever possible. You might find that a lot of the time, you don’t need to turn on all of the lights in the room to be able to see and work effectively.
It’s also a good idea to switch out old incandescent bulbs for more energy-efficient CFL or LED bulbs. These types of lighting use a lot less energy than traditional bulbs.
Reduce Hot Water Usage
Heating water is expensive. If you reduce hot water usage when possible, you’ll save money every month. A good way to start is by shortening your shower. If every member of your family reduces their time in the shower by one or two minutes, these savings will add up over the year.
You can save a lot of money by washing your clothes in cold water. Modern detergents and washing machines often clean clothes just as well in cold water as they do in hot, and you won’t have to spend money heating the water.
Unplug Unused Electronics
Most electronics still draw electricity when they’re plugged in, even if they’re turned off and you’re not using them. Unplug electronics such as coffee makers, phone chargers, and desktop computers when you don’t need them. Putting these electronics on a power strip that you can easily switch on and off makes this process more convenient.
Of course, you probably don’t want to unplug everything (after all, your refrigerator needs to stay plugged in to keep cool, and your cable box might take ten minutes to restart once you plug it back in, for instance) but it’s still a good idea to unplug those other devices that you don’t frequently use.
Manage Your Temperature
Adjusting your thermostat by a few degrees can save you money. For instance, set it one or two degrees warmer than usual in the summer and one or two degrees cooler in the winter. You likely won’t notice the difference in temperature, but your electricity bill will.
You can also save money by adjusting your thermostat before leaving home. It doesn’t need to be as hot or cool inside if there’s no one there.
Hang Dry Laundry
Hang your laundry to dry instead of using the dryer. Clothes dryers use A LOT of energy and hanging clothes on a clothesline or a drying rack if possible can help you save quite a lot each month.
Keep Vents and Filters Clean
Check your vents in your home and make sure they’re open. This might sound simple, but it could be an easy solution to your energy woes. There is a myth that closing vents in certain areas save money (since you’re not heating or cooling the rooms you’re not using, according to the theory) but this actually isn’t true. In reality, closing vents actually increase heating and cooling costs by making your central air conditioning or heating system work harder than it needs to.
If your heating or cooling system or any of your vents have filters, make sure to keep these clean and replace them when they get too clogged with dust and dirt. This will increase air flow and help your system work more efficiently.
Time Your Usage
In many regions, electricity costs are lower during certain time periods and higher in others. This is done to encourage people to use less energy during peak-use times. In most cases, jurisdictions that are set up like this have lower energy costs during night-time hours.
If possible, do your energy-intensive tasks (running the dishwasher or clothes dryer, for instance) at times when electricity is less expensive. You’ll save a lot of money this way. Many modern dishwashers and clothes dryers have timers so you can set them to start running when it’s cheaper to do so.