How to Reduce Your Utility Bills

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In an effort to save some more money on my utilities, I started looking up ways to conserve energy. It turns out there are a lot of options, including things like air-drying your clothes and turning off the heated drying on the dishwasher. I thought about suggesting these tips to my wife, but then I thought, “Better not.”

Fortunately, there are many less inconvenient ways you can save energy. I’ve included a list of them here.

Electrical

  • Keep your fridge and freezer full. It takes a lot more energy to keep an empty refrigerator cold than one full of cold food.
  • Unplug electronics when you’re not using them. Anything with a clock or setting is using electricity even when it’s “off.”
  • Install an attic fan. It can draw the hot air up and out of your house.
  • Switch to LED lightbulbs. They’re more expensive to buy, but they’ll last a lot longer than incandescent or CFL bulbs.

HVAC

  • Get your furnace cleaned yearly so it can force through air as easily as possible.
  • Change your HVAC filters every 30 days so your furnace and AC have to use as little energy as possible to move air through your home.
  • Don’t close air vents when the AC is on. Some people believe closing vents conserves energy, but it makes your unit work harder to cool your home.
  • Keep your home at a moderate temperature. Jeffrey Orloff explains in a post on The Balance that keeping your home at 78 degrees Fahrenheit “is the most efficient setting for your air conditioner during warmer months. Reducing your home’s temperature lower, such as to 72 degrees, could increase your cooling costs by 12% to 47%. And when it’s hot, don’t set the air conditioner at a much lower temperature. While you may think that makes the unit work faster, in actuality it doesn’t help cool the room any more quickly.”

Manage Your Home

  • In colder weather, open your curtains and shades during the day to let the sunlight help heat your home, and close them as soon as the sun goes down. In warm weather, do the opposite.
  • Quick and Dirty Tips’ Money Girl, Laura Adams, explains in a blog post that going through your home and sealing any opening where the warm or cold air you’re paying for can get out is important: “If you have lots of cracks around windows and doors, that can be as wasteful as leaving a window wide open all year long! Use inexpensive caulk or expanding foam to seal cracks that are draining your money. Most energy companies offer a free program to help determine whether you have leaky air ducts and other inefficiencies in your home.” In Southeast Michigan, DTE offers its customers an energy survey and a free Energy Efficiency Kit.
  • Use appliances that generate heat, like your dryer and dishwasher, at night during the summer.
  • Wash laundry with cold water. You can save around $152 a year by using cold instead of hot water. 

I’m excited to start implementing these tactics at home so I can save money on energy costs. How do you save on your energy bill? Let us know in the comments!

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