The electric bill just arrived in the mail, and somehow the amount is jarring. Maybe the bill has been slowly creeping upward. There are many reasons why an electric or a natural gas bill could be soaring higher.
For homeowners that need to get those costs in check, here are 15 simple solutions to lower utility bills.
1. Adjust the thermostat and use the programmable functions.
This is one of the easiest tips for homeowners. Simply adjusting the thermostat warmer or cooler (depending on the season) could help decrease the electricity and/or natural gas bill. How low or high should homeowners set the temperature? In winter, adjust the thermostat to 68 degrees Fahrenheit. During summer, nudge the temperature to 78 degrees Fahrenheit.
Homeowners also should take advantage of programming functions on the thermostat, too. Programs ensure that the temperature in the home adjusts automatically and this means that homeowners can always keep their home at the most energy-efficient temperature.
2. Don’t wash half-loads (of dishes or laundry).
Operating the dishwasher or the washing machine to wash only partial loads can waste both water and electricity. Instead of washing a few dishes or clothes, make sure the loads are full.
3. Turn off the lights.
Leaving lights on when no one is in the room wastes electricity. Turn off the lights when leaving a room, and make sure all bulbs are LED (they are the most energy-efficient).
4. Ditch the wood fireplace in the winter.
Yes, a warm fire feels wonderful. Unfortunately, a wood-burning fireplace lets heat escape and isn’t so efficient. Plus, it can cause the HVAC to work harder. Choose a gas or electric fireplace if homeowners crave the ambiance.
5. Choose energy-efficient appliances.
When an older appliance is at the end of its life, consider upgrading to an energy-efficient model. These appliances use less energy to do the same job.
6. Install low-flow showerheads.
Don’t waste water during that daily shower. Low-flow showerheads use less water and might save homeowners money.
7. Install a touch-free faucet.
Homeowners who have a bad habit of leaving the water running when they brush their teeth can take control of water waste by installing a touch-free faucet. These faucets turn on when they detect motion.
8. Unplug unnecessary appliances and gadgets.
Zombie energy drains can wreak havoc on the utility bills. Check outlets and powerstrips for gadgets and appliances that aren’t in use.
9. Close the curtains during summer.
If a window is letting the sun in during the summer, homeowners could be heating up their home in the process. Close those drapes.
10. Use blackout curtains.
Protect the home’s upholstery from fading and help cool off the rooms during summer by adding blackout curtains. These are fairly inexpensive and crafty homeowners could sew them as a DIY project.
11. Insulate the windows.
Home improvement stores and online sites sell kits that include plastic films to help seal the windows and add insulation. These kits also are budget-friendly, and the films are easy to install.
12. Take a shorter shower.
Long showers mean that more water—likely hot water—is running down the drain. Shorten up those showers to use less water and less electricity (or natural gas) to heat that water.
13. Install a smart thermostat.
A smart thermostat allows homeowners to control the temperature remotely via an app on their mobile device. Homeowners can adjust the temperature when they are at work or on vacation to ensure that they improve the home’s energy efficiency.
14. Change the air filter in the HVAC.
A dirty air filter makes the HVAC work harder. Air filters should be changed regularly, typically every three months. However, some homeowners might need to change the filter more frequently.
15. Conduct a home energy audit.
A home energy audit requires homeowners to go into every room in their home to inspect the pipes beneath sinks, the outlets, light bulbs and other areas to understand how energy is being used or wasted.
Homeowners can download HomeSelfe to conduct a DIY home energy audit. The app is free to download via Google Play and the app store. Homeowners will need their most recent utility bills to enter their energy use data. In addition, the app will ask homeowners to take a picture of each room.
HomeSelfe uses all this information to help homeowners understand ways to help improve energy efficiency in their home. The app also lets homeowners find applicable rebates, too.
When homeowners discover that their energy bill is zapping their bank account, they can take control of their energy use. Simple solutions could help homeowners embrace energy efficiency and save money in the process.