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13 Ways to Lower Utility Bills
Almost everyone wants to lower their utility bills. Combined, monthly utility bills can add up to more than your mortgage or rent if you’re not careful. But there are several ways to cut back on what you use so your bills start to lower. You’ll find that some of these ideas are simple and inexpensive and some are more involved, but they will all help you put more money in your pocket.
Save Money on Water
- Wash in cold water. If some of your laundry can only be washed in hot water, set it aside until you have enough for a full load. Not only will this save you hot water, but it’s better for your clothes.
- If you use a dishwasher, only run a load when it’s full. It uses the same amount of hot water and electricity to wash one plate as a full load. If dishes are only lightly soiled or you’ve prewashed, the light wash cycle can save you about 2/3 water usage over a full cycle. Turn off the heat dry. Open the door to let the steam escape and your dishes will dry on their own saving you electricity.
- Large pots and platters take up a lot of dishwasher space, meaning you’ll have to wash more frequently. Wash those by hand. It’s a waste of hot water and electricity to use the dishwasher for your larger items. If you have one basin full of soapy water and one with clear hot water, you can wash and rinse pots and pans without running the water. Don’t do dishes by running the hot water continuously.
- Take short showers and skip the baths. Use a timer to help you get in and out of the shower quicker. Every minute with the water running averages 3.8 gallons of hot water, so an 8-minute shower uses more than 30 gallons of water. Cutting back on your shower time can save you a significant amount of money on your water bill.
Save Money on Electricity
- Always wash a full load of laundry. Washing small loads uses the same amount of electricity. If you have to wash a smaller load, be sure to adjust the water level settings so you’re not using more water than you need.
- Hang clothes to dry, especially heavy items like towels and sweaters. It saves a lot of electricity and is better for the environment. Keep in mind that unless you have a proper clothesline outside, it’s best to machine dry your bed sheets. They don’t dry well inside.
- If you’re using the dryer, never mix lightweight and heavy clothes together. Dry towels by themselves, heavier clothes together and lighter items alone.
- If you use a dryer in the winter, divert your dryer heat vent so that it warms the house instead of the outdoors.
Save Money on Heating & Air
- Turn off the heat or air conditioner when no one is home. It won’t take long to warm or cool the house when you return. You can also use a timer to have your heat or air turn on and off at certain times of the day when you’re not home or you’re returning home.
- In the winter, keep the temperature at the lowest comfortable temperature. For every degree that you drop the temperature, you’ll save up to 5% of your heating bill.
- Do the opposite in the summer – if you have air conditioning, use it only enough to make the house comfortable, not cold.
- Insulate outlets and light switches on outer walls where energy leaks are common. You can purchase insulated covers that are very inexpensive.
- Cover windows with bubble wrap for insulation, it’s better than plastic, and caulk around doors. Most energy loss happens around windows, ducts, plumbing and doors. Just a 1/16” crack can let in as much cold air as if you left a window open 1/2″.
If you want to lower your utility bills, you’ll need to do some work. Some of these tips are simple shifts and others are more complicated. Start with the easy ones then move on to the more complicated methods for even more savings.