Utility bills can take a big bite out of your budget. With electricity, gas and water expenses, those costs can consume hundreds of dollars, maybe even thousands, each year for most households.
There are ways to reduce your utility bills and ways to make you less reliant on energy. Here are some tips to saving money on utility bills.
Switch to energy-efficient lights and limit use
You can reduce your electricity bill by replacing traditional light bulbs with more efficient ones. Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) and LED bulbs both use less energy and are better for the environment. You can also reduce electricity expenses by turning lights off in rooms you are not using. Practice turning lights off as you leave one room and keeping lights on only in rooms where you are.
Limit water use
An easy way to reduce your water bill is to water your lawn only on certain days of the week. You can also look for ways to capture rain or runoff water from your property to use for your lawn or other functions. This ensures you do not use water suitable for drinking for irrigation. With only about 1% of Earth’s water suitable for drinking, it is important to conserve.
If you are planning to add a new lawn to your property, consider hydroseeding instead of using traditional grass seed, which requires more watering and is more prone to failure. Hydroseeding is a more efficient way to grow a healthy and full lawn. But remember when hydroseeding next to any structure, make sure the soil is graded a minimum of 2 inches per 100 feet to drain the water away.
You also can consider limited water use inside. For example, some members of your household may shower more than once a day or may run the dishwasher with only half a load. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, each person uses an average of between 80 and 100 gallons of water each day. To reduce this, create house rules about showers, clothes washing and dishwashers.
Replace air filters
Your air conditioner and furnace use filters to clean the air distributed throughout your home. You should replace the old filters every 60 to 90 days to ensure they do not cause your heating and cooling system to work too hard. Clogged filters can make your system run longer than it should to heat and cool, and that adds to your electricity bill. It is also important to ensure that all of your vents are open to allow the most efficient air flow through your home. Make sure that no furniture or objects are blocking the vents that help feed air into your heating and cooling system.
You can also save money on heating and cooling with a programmable thermostat that allows you to reduce energy use when you are not home or to turn off heating and cooling in rooms you do not use.
Use appliances wisely and replace old ones
Your home appliances make life easier for you, but they can also add unnecessary expenses to your budget if you do not use them wisely. Only run them when they are properly filled. Dishwashers and washing machines should not be used when only partially filled. Also, consider using cool water instead of hot to reduce the expense of using your hot water heater. Clean out the lint filter in your dryer to ensure it isn’t working harder than it should to dry your clothes or dry clothes on a rack to reduce the expense of running your dryer.
Your old appliances could also cost you money. Modern appliances are more energy efficient and can save money on utility costs, including electricity and water. While the initial investment may be expensive, your utility bills will be less with more efficient appliances.