3 WAYS TO SAVE ON UTILITY BILLS


Take Steps to Reduce Your Electrical Usage

Using less energy is the obvious and best way to save money on an electric bill. Using less energy can lower your utilities bill by as much as 25%.

Electricity for lights, powering electronics and other things accounts for about 12% of a home’s energy usage. If you have electric heating in your home, it’s likely one of the biggest parts of your utility bill.

Here are some suggested improvements that can reduce electrical usage. Where we can, we include how much each change can save you.

  • Energy-efficient lightbulbs that have the Energy Star label can add up to $75 per year in savings.

  • Solar panels can drop the cost of electricity and eventually provide free energy. One estimate is that solar panels can pay for themselves in about eight years.

  • New appliances with Energy Star seals are more energy efficient than old ones. Appliances eat up about 13% of a household’s energy costs.

  • New office equipment with Energy Star labels use 75% less energy than older models.

  • Update all of your electronic equipment. Timers, power strips, motion-detector switches and WiFi-equipped products can help save electricity.

  • Ask for an energy audit from your utility provider. This service is often free and can identify other ways to save.

If you need help paying your electric bill, look into government assistance programs. One of the biggest ones is the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

Also check with your power company to see if it has an energy cost management plan. It won’t trim your annual costs, but will more evenly distribute monthly payments. Utility bills will increase in spring and fall, but bills in high-usage months in the summer and winter will be lower. [1]


Check Your Ductwork and Attic

Your home’s ductwork and attic can also be allowing warm or cool air to escape, and there are a couple of obvious signs when they’re in need of repairs.

If you can see the support beams in your attic, your attic needs more insulation. As for ductwork, seeing dust is actually a good thing. If you see parts of your ductwork that aren’t collecting dust, this means air is leaking out of the joints and seals, and it needs to be patched up.


The Department of Energy’s website has more in-depth instructions for how to insulate your home, and you can find plenty of DIY tutorials on YouTube. However, insulation takes skill to install, and recommendations vary by climate, so it’s really best to hire a professional to inspect and do the work for you. [2]


USE APPLIANCES WISELY

According to Consumer Reports, rinsing dishes before putting them into the dishwasher is a waste of time and money since modern dishwashers work better on un-rinsed dishes. It's also a good idea to wait until the dishwasher is full before running it.

The same is true for running your washing machine: Wait until you have a full load. Wash clothes in cold or warm water instead of hot. Almost 90 percent of washing machines' energy consumption is spent heating the water, says EnergyStar.gov.

Be sure to clean the lint trap in your clothes dryer after each use. This helps ensure proper air flow, which can improve the dryer's efficiency, according to BobVila.com. Take the energy savings one step further by purchasing a drying rack and letting clothes air dry whenever possible.

Each of these cost-saving measures might not seem like much on their own, but the savings can really add up. For more ways to save, check out the Department of Energy's website. [3]



[1] In Charge Editorial Staff. "How to Save Money on Utility Bills." In Charge Debt Solutions, 16 July 2021, https://www.incharge.org/financial-literacy/budgeting-saving/how-to-save-money-on-electric-gas-water-bill/


[2] Gray, Jessica. "18 Clever Ways to Save on Utility Bills and Still Stay Cool This Summer." The Penny Hoarder, 16 July 2021, https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/save-money/how-to-save-money-on-utilities/


[3] Allstate Editorial Staff. "How To Save Money On Utilities." Allstate, 16 July 2021, https://www.allstate.com/tr/home-insurance/how-to-save-on-utilities.aspx