8 Ways To Keep Utility Costs Down

No matter where you live- Delaware, Idaho, Maryland, Missouri, Oklahoma– utility bills are likely a large part of your monthly budget. And for something that you actually have some control over, it can be surprising just how high those costs can reach. Before you decide to go totally off the grid to save some cash, though, try these tricks for keeping your utility costs down. You won’t dread opening those water and electricity bills every month anymore.

  1. Get an HVAC inspection:

    Not only can an inspection of your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system catch potentially expensive problems, but it can also find ways for your system to run more efficiently. Air escaping through duct work or being impeded by dust or dirt means your system is working harder than it needs to and is costing you money on your electric bill.

  2. Change your air filters:

    Air filters in your home clean the air before it circulates into your home, trapping allergens and dust particles so you don’t have to breathe them in. But the more they fill up with the things they’re filtering out of the air, the more energy your air conditioning system has to use to push air through them. Cleaning or changing your air filters regularly can keep your utility costs down while still effectively filtering your air.

  3. Fix water leaks:

    A dripping faucet is one of life’s greatest annoyances, but it’s costing you more than just your sanity. Household leaks are said to waste more than 1 trillion gallons of water each year; fixing them can save as much as 12% on your water bills! Check all indoor and outdoor faucets for leaks, and make sure to check your toilet for a silent leak, a common cause of surprisingly high water bills. Put some food coloring in the toilet tank, wait 15 minutes, and check the toilet bowl. If there is dye in there, you have a leak that needs to be fixed.

  4. Seal air leaks:

    Keeping outside air out and inside air in can help your electricity bills during every season. The best way to do this is to caulk and seal around every opening to the outside. You can test doors and windows for leaks on a windy day by holding an incense stick or smoke pen near the edges to see if any air is blowing in. Caulk, weatherstrip, or foam seal any leaks you find.

  5. Close off unused rooms:

    If you have a guest bedroom that goes unused most of the year or is used as storage, closing the vent to that room, as well as the door, can save on energy costs since it’s one less room to heat or cool. This advice should be used with caution, though, because closing off too many vents in your home can cause the system to run inefficiently. Experts say you should close off less than 40% of your home to reap the benefits. You also shouldn’t close off a room that has a thermostat in it, because your HVAC system might adjust to the temperature of that room even though it’s not receiving the warm or cool air.

  6. Shade your windows:

    Besides being great for privacy when you want to walk around in your underwear, blinds and window shades are also great insulators during both the summer and the winter. They can block drafts, keep the sun from heating up a room, and ultimately save up to 15% on your energy bill. Shades on west- and south-facing windows are the biggest priority if you want to avoid excess heat. Shades on north and east windows are good for keeping cold air out.

  7. Program your thermostat:

    You can save money even when you are sleeping or away from home simply by making your heater or air conditioner work less. By setting your thermostat 10 or 15 degrees hotter or cooler (depending on the season) for eight hours a day, you could save up to 15% a year on electricity costs. You can do this manually or install a programmable thermostat that will automatically adjust the temperature at certain times of the day — a good option for those who like to come home to a perfectly heated or cooled house.

  8. Do less laundry:

    Now you can be lazy when it comes to laundry and blame it on your thriftiness. Washers and dryers use up electricity and water, so cutting down on how much you use them can save you money when your utility bills arrive. Only do laundry when you have a full load, use cold water when possible, and give hang-drying a try! Using your appliances, like the oven, dishwasher, and clothes dryer, at night won’t significantly affect your utility costs in the summer and will warm up your home in the winter.

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