Monday, July 22

8 Realistic Ways to Lower Your Utility Bills

Have your utility bills been at an all-time high?

According to studies, American households spend about $3,040 annually on energy bills. Keeping the lights on and running the AC or heat all day adds up. Fortunately, there are plenty of little ways you can keep your utility bills in check.

Of course, there are many reasons beyond just trying to lower costs to reduce your home’s energy usage. Using less energy in our day-to-day lives is much better for the environment.

It’s imperative as temperatures have begun to fluctuate from what we’re used to during the seasons. Being mindful of how we use energy, and taking small steps to use just a little less, is always good practice.

And hey, saving money is a pretty significant benefit, too, right? So if you want to trim your gas, water, and electric bills, here are 8 REALISTIC ways to start lowering those pesky utility bills!

Utility Bill
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Check For State Programs

Many local and state programs offer money-saving incentives and ways to make your residence more energy-efficient. To find out about options near you, go to the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency website and enter your ZIP code.

Depending on where you live, you might find tax credits, loan programs, grants that don’t need to be reimbursed, and energy audits.

For instance, in Massachusetts, the Mass Save program joins homeowners with energy experts who visit their homes and pinpoint ways to save on utility bills. As a bonus, they also give you a bunch of free stuff like power strips, energy-efficient light bulbs, and showerheads!

Cover Your Outlets

You wouldn’t believe it, but there are many sneaky areas where air from outside your home can leak inside. And your outlets are one of them!

Even a tiny stream of air from outside can strain your cooling and heating system by causing it to gain or lose heat exactly when you don’t want it to. Of course, this results in higher utility bills.

To fix this, go to all your outlets on a day that’s cold outside and put your hand in front of them. If you feel any air coming through, your outlet isn’t doing a great job blocking the temperatures outdoors.

Fortunately, you can easily fix this with plastic outlet covers you’ll find at any home improvement store in your area.

Save Money On Indoor Lighting

Making a few changes to the lighting inside your home can hugely affect your utility bill. The most accessible place to start is by turning off the lights in rooms you aren’t using and only using indoor lights later in the day when natural light isn’t sufficient enough.

Another simple and practical change you can make is changing your light bulbs. The Department of Energy says that LED lights use 75% less energy than standard light bulbs would, and they even last 25 times longer.

So not only will you be saving money on electricity, but on lightbulbs as well. Another great way to save money on indoor lighting is by installing dimmers in your house.

With dimmer switches, you can lower output and wattage, which helps save energy. Saving energy is key to saving money on electric bills.

Utility Bill
Photo by Africa Studio at Shutterstock

Seal And Insulate Your House

Did you know that roughly 20% of the air circulating through your home is lost due to air leaks and poor insulation? That leakage can raise your utility bills and make your home less cozy to live in.

Weatherizing your home, which involves sealing and insulating, can help plug those leaks and save about 10% on your overall utility bills annually, according to EnergyStar. The agency states you should identify any leaks in the attic and basement first.

This is where the air escapes most commonly. You should also install weather stripping around your windows and doors throughout the house and fit caulking around pipes and outlets to cut down on your utility bills.

Upgrade Your Appliances

The Energy Star program can help you identify energy-efficient products that will go easy on your wallet AND our environment. You should consider upgrading to Energy Star products if the appliances in your home are over ten years old.

For instance, an Energy Star-certified washing machine uses about 33% less water and 25% less energy. Over a product’s lifetime, you can save roughly $370 on your utility bill.

And that’s only for one appliance. Imagine the money you’d save if you only had energy-efficient appliances in your home. Buying energy-efficient appliances is a fantastic way of lowering your electric bill and helping the environment.

Reduce Humidity

We recommend covering your pots and pans when cooking to cut down on the humidity in your home. While humid air can make any outdoor activity unpleasant, it will also wreak havoc inside your home.

A humid place will make the air conditioning put in extra work and won’t be very cost-effective on your utility bill. Also, humidity enables mold and rotting, leading to unsightly stains, poor air quality, and foul odors.

Experts say that you should keep your house at about a 30%–50% humidity level. Here are a couple of ways you can do this:

  • Take shorter showers and use cooler water.
  • Make sure your pots and pans are covered when cooking.
  • Use dehumidifiers, which are much more affordable than cooling your home.

Replace Your Air Filter

If you’re a homeowner, you probably already know that this comes with a long list of little to-dos, many of which tend to slip through the cracks if you ever drop the ball.

But when it comes to the air filter on your HVAC, forgetting to replace it at the right time could mean ineffective cooling and heating, not to mention higher utility bills. On average, you should replace your HVAC’s air filter about once a month.

And if you’re uneasy about remembering to make the switch each month, you can buy a high-end pleated filter since many of them are efficient for up to six months.

Note: Just check the packaging to be sure. But regardless of how often you need to change your air filter, you should put a reminder in your phone so that you don’t end up forgetting and running up a higher heating or cooling bill than you should.

Utility Bill
Photo by Tee11 at Shutterstock

Close Your Blinds Closed

Keep your home cooler by closing your window treatments in the summer. About 3/4 of the sunlight coming in through your windows is transferred into heat, making your trusted air conditioning work double time during the hottest months of the year.

But don’t worry. We know an effortless trick to help you save on utility bills and will help you beat the heat! Close your windows, blinds, and drapes during the day, and open them again when the sun begins to set.

This is an easy and inexpensive way to help keep your home cool at all times. You can install some intelligent blinds and motorized shades that automatically adjust and can open and close on a timed schedule.

Be sure to leave us a comment below and let us know how these tips worked out for you. And if you found this article useful, we also recommend reading: Need More Money? Here Are 7 Minimalist Ways to Cut Down Costs

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