Let’s talk about those utility bills of yours. The summer is winding to a close, and fall is getting ready to settle in. While others might be thinking about pumpkin patches and apple cider, the naturalForms team is thinking about savings. So today, we’re here to give you the definitive guide for the different ways to save big on your utility bills. Here you’ll read forty realistic ways that you can save on money on your utilities today.
Let’s get started.
Do an Energy Audit – The first thing you need to do is go around your house and find your weak points. You can be the one to do this, while following a handy guide, or you can hire a professional if you want it to be extra thorough.
Turn the Lights Off – The amount of energy you burn when you just leave everything on when you’re gone is just wasteful. Before you leave for the day, turn off all your lights, and don’t bother keeping the T.V. for your cat. He’s lazy enough as it is.
Adjust Your Thermometer – In the cooler months, you won’t be able to tell the difference between 68 degrees and 73 degrees, but your wallet will. And when summer rolls around, you shouldn’t have the AC blasting at the lowest temperature, just keep it around 74 degrees, and you’ll barely notice the difference.
Negotiate with Your Energy Supplier – Many states have what’s called “energy choice” which means you can choose between multiple electricity suppliers. If you live in one of these states, consider contacting your supplier and negotiating a new rate. Or…
Switch to a Different Supplier – If they aren’t willing to supply you with a cheaper form of energy and the option is there, go to the cheaper company.
Wrap Up Your Water Heater – Did you know that your water heater loses heat when not in use? It’s true! Because the temperature outside the tank is cooler, the warm air is drawn outside and dissipates. An easy and cost-efficient way to combat this is to install a cover on it to help insulate. This can save you up to 16% on your water heating bill!
Adjust the Hot Water Heater – One great way to lower the cost of heating your water is to simply turn it to around 120 degrees or a little bit less. That’s still hotter than any hot tub you’ll ever get in and ensures a nice, hot, steamy shower.
Adjust Your Fridge Temperature – You can do the same thing to your fridge as well. Keeping your fridge between 37 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit will ensure peak efficiency and minimize energy costs. Additionally, your connected freezer should be set to 5 degrees Fahrenheit to achieve the same goals.
Wash Your Clothes in Cold Water – Washing your clothes takes up a lot of energy, 90% of the energy it takes to operate a clothes washer goes to heating the water. So, skip all that mess and wash them in cold instead. And if you have something like an oily stain, have it on warm and it’ll be fine.
Use a Dryer Ball – Wool dryer balls are an inexpensive way to cut down on the time it takes to dry your laundry AND skip the dryer sheets. You’ll get several years out of these bad boys and get a pleasant softness for your clothes to boot.
Air-dry the Laundry – If you want to save even more on your dryer, just skip the whole thing entirely! Even during the fall months, your clothes dry evenly. Plus, you’ll get that pleasant outdoors smell to go with it.
Use Programmable Thermostats – If nobody is going to be in the house, what’s the point of having your house’s AC or heater running? Exactly! There is none. So, use a programmable thermostat to get your home running efficiently. Not only will you be able to schedule its lower temperature, but you’ll also never worry about having to constantly adjust its temperature either.
Clean Your Vents – To keep your HVAC system running smoothly, make sure that it’s got clean vents to keep things running efficiently. If you notice that it’s extra dusty in there, you might want to…
Replace Your HVAC Filter – Your HVAC filter needs to be replaced at least once a month. Your house is going to get dusty, and that dust will get into your vents clogging up your HVAC. Keep your first line of defense in good shape.
Improve the Insulation in Your Walls – Depending on the age of your house, you might have no insulation to speak of, so make sure that you’ve got your home ready to take on the shifting temperatures outside. What good is a great HVAC system if your house can’t keep it in?
Insulate Outlets and Switches – You never really think about it, but your outlets and switches can contribute to the heat leaving your home! Luckily, it’s a breeze to insulate them yourself and a very inexpensive way to help seal up the house.
Open Up Those Windows (and Turn Off the Thermostat) – During the fall, temperatures are mild, the sweet smell of autumn has arrived, and you’re stuck in your stuffy house! Open up the windows to get a good cross-breeze going and enjoy the mild weather!
Put on a Sweater – This is a classic dad line, but it’s true. An easy way to keep the thermostat down without freezing is to put on a sweater and wrap up with a blanket. You won’t freeze to death, and you’ll save on your heating.
Be Smart About Ceiling Fans – Your ceiling fans can really help you stay cool in the summer, and warm in the winter. Most ceiling fans have a switch that changes the direction of their blades. Why? When the blades rotate counterclockwise, they will push the air down, cooling the air. When the blades rotate clockwise, they will pull the air up and out, dispersing the warmer air from the top of the ceiling to the rest of the space.
Plant Some Trees – A great way to keep your home cooler, and provide some shade for the yard as well is to plant trees in your yard to keep the sun from directly beating downwards. Don’t think that you have to plant a forest of mighty redwoods to do the job either, even a few ornamental trees can help make a big difference.
Use Efficient Showerheads – Showers take up a lot of water. About 2.5 gallons of water per minute in fact. Switching to a WaterSense showerhead will wind up saving you about 2,700 gallons of water per year, which is about 330 kilowatt hours of electricity saved from heating the water in the shower.
Shorten That Shower – We just mentioned how a WaterSense showerhead will save you a lot of water. Do you know what saves more? Not taking long showers. Let’s assume the average 8-minute shower is cut down to 5 minutes: will save 2,190 gallons of water per person a year. (6 gallons saved per shower, showering once every day.)
Use That Dishwasher – Here’s a fun fact: Your dishwasher saves you on water and energy. How much? About 5,000 gallons of water a year is saved when you do so. But don’t think that just a few cups at a time is best, you’ll always use the same amount of water, no matter how full it is. So…
Pack the Dishwasher – That doesn’t mean you should literally cram so many dishes in that it’s fit to break. It means that you’re going to use a set amount of water anyways, so you should fill it up and save on water.
Get Efficient Appliances – Efficient appliances can make a large difference over the lifespan of their use. When your appliances are nearing the end of their lifespans and it’s time to replace, go with Energy Star appliances, and you’ll wind up saving hundreds, maybe thousands over their lifespan.
Clean Your Fridge Out – No, that doesn’t mean go raid your fridge for a snack. It means you need to go clean the vents for your refrigerator. Not only does the dust hammer efficiency, but it can also cause a house fire. Make sure you’ve cleaned your vents regularly to keep your home safe.
Use Efficient Bulbs – Another classic example, switching from incandescent to fluorescent and LED bulbs is going to save you hundreds of dollars in the long run. They use a fraction of the electricity and last up to a decade. As a bonus, they don’t cost much more than regular incandescent these days.
Unplug – A lot of energy goes to appliances that aren’t even in use. These phantom loads, also called “energy vampires”, come from the appliances drawing power from electrical outlets even though they are idle, or even turned off. These can wind up costing you $100-200 a year, or more.
Smarten That House Up – This is more of a catch-all because there are so many ways to automate a home. Simply put, today you can automate your lights, HVAC like we mentioned, pools, irrigation, and so much more. People don’t always think about the ways they could be more efficient at that moment, so automating is a good compromise.
Fix That Roof – The roof is the first thing that is going to insulate your home from the sun, rain, hail, snow, and more. Despite that, people don’t realize how much money they could be saving on a roof that reflects heat better.
Replace the Old Doors & Windows – If you took all of the heat gained and lost through windows, you’d get about a quarter or more of the residential heating and cooling use. Leaking the cold into your house is a losing proposition, and if your windows are constantly leaking, save yourself the hassle and the energy bills.
Weatherstrip the Doors and Windows – If you can’t afford to replace your doors or windows, you can also use weatherstripping. Weatherstripping is used to seal the actual points where the doors and windows will open.
Caulk Your Windows – Like we’ve said, drafty windows are not only annoying, they’re letting money get sucked out of your house all hours of the day and night! Caulk is used to seal air leaks, cracks, and gaps between the frames and the siding.
Switch to Carpet – It is just a fact that carpet is warmer and a better insulant than wood, laminate, or tile floors. How much more efficient of an insulant is it? Well, the Johns Manville Technical Center Thermal Labs tested them for their R-Value, which means its thermal resistance, or insulation level. And the results speak for themselves.
Carpet vs. engineered hardwood: (From 3 to 7 times the R–value.)
Carpet vs. laminate: (From 4 to 8 times the R–value.)
Carpet vs. ceramic tile: (From 8 to 17 times the R–value.)
Use Dimmer Switches – Dimmer switches are a fantastic way to keep the room lit while tempering how much you use. With on and off switches, you have no choice in how much energy is going to be used by your lights. The answer is all of it. Instead, use a dimmer and you’ll be keeping the room comfortably bright, and your bills comfortably light.
Find Those Leaks (and Fix Them) – A leak in your faucets and pipes don’t just pose a risk to your water bill. They pose a risk to your entire home. Mold can grow and weaken the foundation on your house, rot away drywall, potentially expose wires, and render your home unlivable if the mold is bad enough. Mold is no joke, so make sure you’ve got your pipes checked.
Wash Your Clothes and Dishes After Dark – Energy suppliers will offer different rates for the electricity usage depending on when it is in use. When everybody is using electricity, the cost goes up. When less are using it, the cost goes down. At night, this is considered “off-peak” hours and the price to run appliances is lower! Call your energy supplier and see if they offer off-peak hours.
Use Thermal Drapes – Much the same as trees providing shade, your drapes can help lower your heating bill. In fact, it can help you cut down on the amount of heat transferred from your windows by as much as 24 percent.
Use a Humidifier – Fun fact, part of your perception of heat comes from the humidity of the place you are in. During the winter, the air dries out, which gives the cold part of its bite. To help feel more comfortable and receive fewer static shocks, use a humidifier to increase the moisture in the house, and still feel comfortable with the heat low.
Use a Dehumidifier – There’s a saying out there “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.” While a hot dry day is uncomfortable, the muggy, drenched, heat that makes the whole room stuffy is unbearable on the best of days. Get a dehumidifier to help make the house feel comfortable without cranking the A/C on to 65.
There you have it, forty different ways for you to start saving on your utilities. And hey, while you're saving on utilities, save on paper too! Switch to naturalForms to save on all your forms using our digital form technology.
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