Whether you live in a hot, dry area or in a place that frequently receives rainfall and snow, you’re probably interested in saving money on utilities. Fortunately, there are several ways to ensure that your household utilizes all of your utilities efficiently.
Even if you can afford to pay big utility bills every month, you may still be interested in cutting down your energy usage. After all—electricity, water and other utilities are not unlimited. Sustainable living is the way of the future, and will help to ensure that future generations can enjoy clean water and a relatively unpolluted environment.
1. Keep Records of Your Utility Usage
The first thing you should do when lowering your utility costs is to figure out exactly how much you’re using each month. This will help you keep track of any spikes in your usage and may make you overall more aware of your energy and water usage habits.
You may realize that the bulk of your water bill is due to habits like flushing the toilet too often or doing laundry with an almost empty machine. Record the way you use utilities, and get each member of your household to be more conscious.
2. Make Conservation Fun
Training younger members of your family (and yourself) to adjust to energy-saving habits does not have to involve angst and shouting. You’ll get better results if you “gamify” the change.
Associate simple rewards with actions like ironing five shirts in one session, instead of wasting energy by turning the iron on five different times. Get kids to come up with their own ideas on how they can save energy around the home, so there’s more engagement and a greater sense of ownership for the change.
Set small, achievable targets and have monthly family meetings where kids can view the bills and understand how their actions have caused utility bills to fall. It’s a vital life lesson. Celebrate in an affordable way, making it clear that the reward was made possible due to positive behavior.
3. Check Your Insulation
If you’re doing your best to keep your energy usage down and find that it’s not working, you might need to check your house’s insulation. Every second, all the heating or cooling generated by the system you have installed slowly seeps right back outside.
Check every room in your house for areas that may need new insulation. Just one layer can make a positive impact on your bill. This step also includes checking for issues with window frame connections and any holes that lead outside. If your A/C vent leads outside through your wall, for example, take a look to make sure that the hole has been sealed with expanding foam.
4. Turn Off Before Stepping Out
Get everyone in your family to start turning off lights, fans, TVs, etc. before leaving a room. Younger children can learn to turn off the lights. Gently remind them.
Budget for new, energy-efficient bulbs and slowly switch from incandescent to fluorescent bulbs everywhere to improve home energy efficiency. These bulbs are initially more costly than less energy-efficient bulbs, but they’re worth it. Start with high-usage areas first.
5. Get New Appliances
Some people stick to brands that are known for producing durable fridges, stoves and washers. Chances are you may have a kitchen range that’s been working hard for 15+ years and is still going strong.
However, these appliances may be costing you money in the long run. Big improvements are made to appliances around every 10 years. This means that the unit you have is probably using a lot more energy than necessary to do its job. Switch to new appliances with an Energy Star label.
Even though it may cost more initially, it may help you consume less energy in the long-run.
6. Switch Your Water Heater
Some households use water heaters with a tank, which keeps the water hot until it’s needed. This is made possible by constantly using electricity to keep the water warm.
There’s no financial advantage to doing that. If you switch to a tankless water heater, you’ll quickly have a warm supply available when you need it. This will help you save on hot showers, keep your plates sparkling and enjoy clean laundry without the sizable utility bills.
If you aren’t yet ready to switch your heater, consider insulating the tank. Doing this will prevent at least 25% of the heat from being lost.
Tank insulation does not require a lot of technical skills, and you don’t need to buy a lot of expensive supplies. All you’ll need is a tank jacket. This is also called a tank blanket, and most local hardware stores offer them.
7. Turn Your Fridge Down
Your fridge may automatically be set at its coldest setting. Adjust it a little to put more cash in your pocket.
This also applies to other appliances. Your water heater, for example, can be adjusted as well, immediately saving you money the next time you turn on a faucet.
8. Give Up the A/C
If you can avoid using your air conditioning unit often, you’ll save a lot of money. Try to use fans instead, especially if only one person is in a room.
If your family claims that they cannot survive without the A/C in summer, ensure that it’s in good working condition. A unit that is clogged or has other maintenance issues will not use energy efficiently.
When using your air conditioner, challenge yourself to keep the temperature higher than you normally would. Eventually you may get used to this temperature and lower your utility usage over time.
9. Change Your Showerheads
If you or a family member likes to spend at least 30 minutes taking a shower (or showers more than once a day), you can save a lot of water with a low-flow showerhead. In the winter, you’ll save on heat as well.
Switch the faucet heads to low-flow versions. While younger children tend to be the ones who enjoy playing with water, adults can also unconsciously use more water than necessary.
10. Switch Your Supplier, If Possible
If you have several power companies in your area, you may save by switching. Some cheap electric companies offer no-deposit electricity to all consumers, including customers with bad credit. Shop around for better electricity rates, and if possible, benefit from incentives when you switch.
There are many ways to save money on utilities right through the year. Some of these are easier to implement than others, but all of them will allow you to have more cash for other things that you enjoy in life. Give yourself a break, and start saving cash by implementing at least one of these right now.