6 Ways to Reduce Your Utility Bills

Electrical MeterMost of us don’t think about the rates utility companies are charging us.  Why not?  Because most of the time we don’t have a choice of suppliers if we want water, electricity, and gas.  The only way we can save money on our utilities is to make some changes around our home.  So, here are some tips on how to reduce your monthly utility bills.

Install an irrigation meter

Most of us don’t realize that we’re charged twice for the water we use.  Once to pump it in into our houses and again when we pump it out as sewage.  If you use a lot of water to irrigate your lawn or garden or fill your swimming pool, then you should consider installing a separate irrigation meter if your water utility allows.  By installing an irrigation meter, you only get charged once for outdoor water usage.  You don’t get hit with a sewage charge for water that doesn’t even make it to the sewer.

Turn it off

Do a nightly sweep and turn off all  your electric devices before going to bed.  In addition to the lights, consider appliances you can unplug.  For example, the Department of Energy states you can save $17.83 per year by turning off your cable box each night.  While that may seem like a small savings, it adds up when combined with turning off or unplugging appliances that don’t have to run overnight.  However, if the item you’re going to turn off requires you to reset it each time, it may not be worth it.

Set your water heater at 120 degrees

Setting your water heater at 120 degrees should be sufficient to let you take hot showers.  However, many are set higher.  The EPA estimates that a heater set at 140 degrees or higher will cost you $36 to $61 more annually than a heater set at 120 degrees.  You’ll waste more than $400 to bring fresh water up to higher temperatures.

Use reusable AC and furnace filters

Sure you have to clean them regularly, but reusable AC and furnace filters will save you money in the long run. Cleaning your air filters regularly will save you money too.  Filters free of dust and dirt allow your HVAC system to work more efficiently cutting your electric costs.  They also prevent costly damage or untimely HVAC unit deaths.

Go crack hunting

Find and seal the cracks in your home.  According to the EPA, the cumulative effect of the small cracks in your home is equal to leaving a window open all year long.  Use expanding foam or caulk to seal cracks around windows and door frames, around the top of the basement wall where it meets wooden frame, known as the rim joist, and around the holes where pipes enter and exit your house.

Paint it white

This tip is a little extreme for homeowners and may not be practical but it could be an option if you have the means (and approval). The Lawrence Berkeley National Library’s Heat Island Group found in a study that buildings with white roofs in sunny climates required up to 40 percent less energy for cooling than buildings with black roofs.  By painting your roof white, you could save more than $100 per year to cool your home at current electric company rates.

Making these changes will help you create a more energy efficient home and save on your utility bills in the years to come.  What tips do you have to share?

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