How to Save on Your Utility Bill

How to Save on Your Utility Bill

July 20, 2022
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Summer temperatures are on the rise and so are our utility bills! In fact, according to the latest inflation report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, energy prices have jumped 7.5% in the last month and are up 41% from this time last year!

So what can we do?

THERMOSTAT & AC

Turn up the thermostat.

It may not be a popular choice but for every degree you can raise that cooling number should equal about a 3% savings in your energy bill according to Consumer Reports.

Install a programmable or smart thermostat.

With Covid restrictions lifting, some of us are heading into the office. That is 8-10 hours that you can raise the temperature in your home to offset costs. A programmable thermostat allows you to cool your home before you walk back in the door. If you can raise the thermostat 7-10 degrees for 7 or 8 hours, you could take 10% off your energy bill!

Use ceiling fans.

Having a ceiling fan rotate in the direction that pushes air down (counterclockwise) takes some of the stress off your AC unit.

Maintain and replace filters.

You should replace your air filters every 3 months. And if you are changing your filters regularly, the basic filter is all you need. Don't waste money of the super-expensive, thicker filters because they make your AC unit work harder.

SEALING & INSULATING

Seal around doors and windows.

A simple YouTube video can help you figure out how to find and fix the gaps and leaks. And don't forget the air ducts!

Close drapes and blinds.

Windows let in about 75-80% of the sun's solar energy. If you simply close the drapes and blinds, that drops the sun's energy to 5%.

Close fireplace damper.

Definitely keep the damper closed when the fireplace is not in use. There is also a fireplace plug that is an easy to install inflatable device that creates a seal in your fireplace.

Insulate.

This is a long term and more costly investment up front but may be worth it over time, especially if you have an older home.

WATER & LAUNDRY

Lower water heater temperature.

The average family spends $250 annually on heating water. That represents about 18% of the home energy bill. Set your water heater to 120 degrees. It is hot outside so most people don't want to take extremely hot showers in the summer.

Full loads and cold water.

If your load is not super dirty, use cooler water in the wash cycle. And make sure you have a full load to be more energy efficient.

Line dry or use lower temperature setting.

If you can, avoid the dryer. Hang your clothes on a rack or if you have the space, run a line outside like your grandmother did. Let that hot sun do some of the work for you.

Low flow shower heads.

These are easy to install and sold at most home improvement stores.

KITCHEN & LIGHTING

Off peak hours.

Remember when calling long distance after 11pm saved your money on your phone bill? Some power companies offer a similar time of use plan to use power during certain times of the day. You save money and lessen the load on the power grid during peak times. This is not automatic so contact your power company. 

Grill out or microwave.

Grilling outside or cooking with the microwave (yes, it does more than pop popcorn) helps keep your home from heating up and stressing your AC unit.

Energy efficient light bulbs.

Using LED Energy Star Light Bulbs can reduce your energy usage about 80% plus they last 25% longer than regular bulbs.

And finally, contact your local power company. Ask about an energy audit or incentives to help you make your home more efficient.


Consumer Confidential: Reducing Your Utility Bills, today.com, July. 2022