Tips for Lowering Your Utility Bills

Any home owner or property owner knows that, if gone unchecked or unmanaged, utility expenses can add up quickly, especially in the height of winter or summer.

a file folder marked utilities with a statement inside

Here are some tips and strategies for lowering your utility bills:

Keep Your Vents Open and Your Filters Clean – There’s a common misconception that by closing vents in certain rooms, your HVAC system doesn’t have to work to control the temperature in that portion of the house, but that’s just not true. Closed vents make your HVAC system work harder and adds to your overall energy bill, so make sure they’re all open. Additionally, make sure your air filters are cleaned or replaced on a regular basis. Dirt and dust particles can clog the filters, making your HVAC system work harder.
 
Hire an Expert to Check Out Your HVAC System – While paying for precautionary checks may not be the most appealing thing, hiring someone to come take a look for air duct leaks, intake blockages, and other failings can save you a lot of headaches before larger problems occur. Try doing this in the off-season as well, as their services will be less expensive.
 
Install a Programmable Thermostat – There’s no reason to heat or cool an empty house and a programmable thermostat can help you in this regard. You’ll be able to control the heating and cooling schedule to have it turn off when you’re not home, but nice and perfect when you are.
 
Properly Insulate Your Home + Weather Strip It – Many homes, especially older homes, do not have the proper level of insulation, meaning that air can seep in through cracks and walls. Check online or check with a local expert to see what steps you may need to take to insulate properly. Another idea is to make sure your doors and windows are weather stripped to keep the elements out. You can find many do-it-yourself kits and pieces for this online.
 
Install Storm Doors – Storm doors help to keep the weather out and add an extra later of security to your home.
 
Shield the Inside of Your Home from The Sun – This is relatively straight forward, but if you’re trying to keep your home cool in the summer, the more you can block the sun with blinds and curtains, the easier it will be for your HVAC system to cool your home.
 
Bring Out the Blankets – One way to shave some money off of your heating bill is to bust out the blankets and lower the temperature in your home at night.
 
Create Better Airflow – Knowing the heat rises and cool air sinks, you can set up fans around your home to push hot or cold air to the areas that need it most. This helps create a more even airflow and temperature through your home and fans require much less energy than your HVAC system. Additionally, if you have ceiling fans pre-installed, make sure to run them counter-clockwise when it’s hot to help push the hot air up and out, and clockwise when it’s cold to do the opposite.
 
Wash Your Clothes in Cold Water + Rethink Drying – Not only will this help your colors bleed less, but it will also use a substantially smaller amount of energy. Heating water accounts for 90% of the machine’s energy usage. On the drying side, make sure to leave some room, about 25%, to help the dryer run effectively and dry your clothes all the way through, preventing a need for a second run. You can also consider line-drying your clothes which uses no energy at all.
 
Turn Off Heated Dry on Your Dishwasher – Most dryers come with a heated dry function turned on automatically. Consider turning this off and using a rinsing agent instead, which will help prevent water spots.
 
Be Mindful of Appliances – Although appliances use an overall lower amount of energy in your home, about 17%, there is still some room for savings. Consider upgrading your appliances to Energy Star appliances which use overall less energy. Also consider turning off devices completely when you’re done using them, especially “always-on” appliances like video game systems, television sets, and desktop computers.
 
Install Dimmer Switches – This is an easy one. Dimmer lights mean less energy!
 
Switch to LED Bulbs – While more expensive up front, LED bulbs are worth the investment as they use about 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs. Multiply that by the number of bulbs in your home and you’ve got yourself some savings!
 
Keep Your Fridge Full + Clean – Counterintuitively, the more food you have in your fridge, the easier it is for your fridge to keep things cool. Food acts as insulation so your fridge doesn’t have to work as hard. Additionally, let food cool completely before putting it into the fridge and consider cleaning the coils on the back of your fridge. Dirty coils make it harder for the fridge to cool properly.