How to Save Money on Your Utilities
Knowing how to save on utilities can save you a ton of money in the long run. If you calculate how much you spend on each appliance each year, you might be shocked to see where your money goes. No matter the season, taking a few simple steps to conserve electricity, gas, and water will keep your wallet (and Mother Nature) happy. Here are the best ways to save on utilities in each part of your home.
How to Save on Utilities in Your Basement
Monitor your bill
Whether you just moved in or you’ve been living in your home for a while, take a look at your utility bill. If you notice any unusual price spikes, give the utility company a call and ask them to read your meter or examine your home's infrastructure. You could have a leaky water or gas pipe and you’ll want to catch it before you have a real problem.
How to Save on Utilities in Your Bathroom
Take shorter showers
Want to know how to save daily on utilities? Just shorten your showers! Showering in five minutes or less conserves thousands of gallons of water every year, so you can shave dollars off of your bill every day by taking shorter showers. Even if you can’t get your daily ritual down to five minutes, shortening it from 20 to 10 will still save you plenty on your utility bill.
Replace or turn down your water heater
Does your shower take ages to heat up? Welcome to the club! Water heating accounts for nearly 15% of a home's energy costs, but if you own your home, you can reduce energy costs up to 50% by installing high-efficiency water heaters. If you rent, you can still lower your monthly bill by turning your water heater down to 120 degrees. This won’t save you thousands but your savings will add up over time.
Turn off the tap
It turns out that turning the tap off when you brush your teeth does actually save you money. If you want to save on utilities, shutting the water off while you brush is a simple habit that you can start practicing today.
How to Save on Utilities in Your Laundry Area
Load up on laundry
Knowing how to save on your utilities can also save you time on laundry. One load of laundry uses up to 45 gallons of water in a typical washing machine. To cut costs, only run the washing machine when you have a full load of dirty clothes. Only have two white shirts? Combine laundry with a roommate, or hand wash them and air dry. If possible, update your machine to an energy efficient washing machine and save up to 30 gallons per load.
Use cold water
Washing your laundry in cold water will still get your clothes clean while also lowering your energy bill. It takes a lot to heat water, so choosing to wash your clothes in cold water is a great way to save you money on your utilities.
Skip the tumble dry
Curling up with a warm blanket straight out of the dryer is lovely, but machine drying your linens and clothing can increase your energy bill. Instead, keep it old school. Install a clothesline or buy a drying rack to air dry your clothes. Not only will you save on your electric bill, but your clothes will last longer.
How to Save on Utilities in Your Kitchen
Use the dishwasher
There’s an age-old argument over which is cleaner – hand washing or machine washing dishes – but how about asking which method uses less water? Sorry hand washers, but as long as you run full loads, dishwashers are more water efficient. That said, if you insist on hand washing or don't have a dishwasher, you can use less water by washing your dishes in a water-filled container and only running the tap to rinse them off. This way, you only use the water that you need. You might be surprised by just how much you save on utilities by doing the dishes differently.
Keep the fridge full
As a rule of thumb, try to keep your fridge between 36 and 38 degrees. To keep the temperature at a steady level and use less energy, make sure the fridge and freezer are full. If you are going out of town or your fridge isn’t full of food, you can fill some pitchers up with water to take up the extra space and keep the temperature level.
How to Save on Utilities Throughout Your Home
Invest in smart home devices
Want your lights to come on right before you walk in? Need your home to be warm when you arrive? You can accomplish both of these without leaving your lights or heat on all day. Smart home devices give you the freedom to control different electronics in your home from your smartphone. Investing in smart light bulbs, thermostats, and plugs will help you to save on utilities without compromising on comfort.
Most of your electronics do not need to be plugged in when you are not using them. Keep large appliances such as your washing machine and dishwasher plugged in, but unplug most everything else when you are not using it. How will this save money on utilities if the appliances aren't on anyway? Electronics still use power even when they are not turned on, just by being plugged into the socket.
Opt for LED bulbs
If you don’t go for the smart bulbs, LED lights last for years. They emit enough light to brighten your home without the fluorescent glare of some other bulbs. LED light bulbs use less electricity than other bulbs and they last longer, saving you up to $45 a year.
Let it be known – you can keep your house cool in the summer without running your AC. Simply invest in an industrial fan, open your windows, and place the fan on the window sill facing outdoors. It's an effective and cheap way to send all the hot air outside and keep your house cool.
Go easy on the thermostat
Unless you live in a region that is warm year round, you know that running the heater is expensive, can make your home stuffy, and is a pain for sensitive sinuses. Before touching the thermostat ask yourself a few questions. Are your curtains open? Are your filters dirty? Are your windows drafty? Will blankets and sweatshirts keep you warm enough? Try putting on an extra layer or sealing your windows before turning up the heat. A single sweatshirt can save you plenty of cash over the years.
Clean filters and vents
Speaking of filters, be sure to change them regularly and keep your any air vents clean. By changing your filters at least every three months, you take some of the pressure off of your cooling system. When the filters are clogged and the vents are dirty, your HVAC system has to work much harder, which uses more energy and costs you more money. Keep it clean and see how much you save on utilities.
Just because we rely on water, electricity, and gas to survive doesn't mean we like paying for them. Luckily, cutting your utility expenses is easy with a bit of ingenuity, good habits, and a small investment in cost-reducing technology. Mother Nature will thank you, too!