5 Easy Ways to Save Money on Utility Bills
On average, American families spend at least $370 on utilities each month, with rates spiking during the warmer and colder months due to added use of the air conditioning or heating. This summer, as we all struggle to adjust to a new normal amidst the changing economic landscape cause by COVID-19, it’s a good idea to search for ways to reduce your monthly expenses.
Aside from cutting back on air conditioning usage or changing your lightbulbs, what else can you do to lower your utility bills? Quite a few things, actually. From smart thermostats that will optimize your energy usage to implementing a few simple strategies around the house, you can easily save hundreds this summer.
1. Switch to a Smart Thermostat
If you haven’t already switched your old thermostat over to a smart one, now’s the time to do so. Not only can they add value to your home but they can also help you save hundreds a year on heating and cooling. For the price of a smart thermostat, which can be as low as $40 plus the cost of installation, you can potentially save up to 30% on your energy bill annually, while Ecobee has released statements that their thermostat can help save up to 23% on heating costs. The key here is to set a smart heating and cooling schedule that will ensure that you’re not wasting energy while you’re not home or when the house is sufficiently cooled off during the summer, for example.
2. Use Low-Flow Water Fixtures
You’ve heard of changing out your lightbulbs to increase energy efficiency, but what about other fixtures in your home, like the ones that drive up the cost of your water bill? Energy-saving low-flow water fixtures can help you save between 25 and 60% on water usage, according to Energy.gov. And, the best part is that you don’t even have to get rid of your old fixtures. Now, you can purchase low-flow fixtures that will attach onto your existing ones, allowing those who rent apartments and other spaces to save on their utility bill without making major modifications that might upset the landlord.
3. Cook Outdoors This Summer
If you’re not interested in purchasing anything to lower your monthly utility bill then you can still save while making adjustments to your daily habits. If the weather permits it wherever you are this summer, try cooking outside. Research shows that cooking indoors, especially in kitchens and spaces that are smaller, unnecessarily heats the entire house. Because you’re heating the inside of your home, your air conditioning unit will have to work overtime just to cool the house down back to a normal temperature. Instead, opt to enjoy lunch or dinner out on your back patio and enjoy grilling meats, veggies, and other foods all summer long. US News notes that if this isn’t feasible, switch to energy-efficient appliances that won’t heat the space too much.
4. Weatherproof Your Windows and Doors
Studies have shown that over 40% of an average home’s annual energy budget is consumed by windows and doors. So, this summer, make sure you’ve weatherproofed your windows and doors to prevent any cool air from escaping and hot air from entering. This will be especially important when it comes time to start saving on utilities in the fall and winter months. In fact, the potential energy savings from reducing air leaks in a home may range from 5% to 30% per year. On top of this, adding insulation is one of the fastest and most cost-effective ways to reduce energy waste. Installing more energy-efficient windows, doors, and skylights can also reduce your energy consumption overall, making your house greener.
5. Ask About Discounted Rates
You’d be surprised at how much you can save if you just ask for savings. And, we’re talking about savings in a lot of different ways. First off, you can simply contact your energy, water, or electricity provider and ask about current deals and discounts. They might even be offering discounted rates due to the coronavirus crisis. If they’re not, be sure to ask about their varying rates at different points during the day. Nerd Wallet noes that some utility providers offer cheaper rates if you use the utility during off-peak hours. This will help you know when to engage in energy-intensive chores and when to avoid doing things like washing the dishes and laundry.
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