by Evans Putman
Want to save money on utility bills? Want to help the environment? What if I told you that you can kill two birds with one stone and do both? Even if you are more concerned with your bottom line than you are with the planet, you’ll find these six steps for saving money on your utility bills both simple and inexpensive to implement. Are you ready? Let’s start saving. After all, I’m sure you have much more enjoyable things you could be doing with your hard-earned cash than sending it to utility companies.
Fill ‘Er Up
If you have a washing machine and dishwasher, I’m not going to tell you to quit using these appliances. What I am going tell you to do is to stop running these appliances when they are not completely full. Fill them up, conserve water and cut down on your water bill.
Become a Collector
Do you realize that – unlike your overpriced bottles of water – you can pay absolutely nothing for the water needed to keep your lawn, shrubs and garden green and healthy? Instead of adding dollars to your water bill, make an initial investment in a rain barrel. Use Mother Nature’s water to nourish your landscaping, clean your car and wash your dog.
Ceiling fans are an excellent option for pushing cool air around your home in the warmer months and helping to keep your air conditioner from running on overdrive. But did you know that you could save money in the cold, cold months of winter as well by running your ceiling fans? Change the direction of airflow by flipping the switch on your fan and reversing its direction. The warm air that rises to your ceiling will be recycled back down into your living space.
You may not realize it, but many of those electrical devices in your home are pulling money out of your pocket even when they are not turned on. Even if you don’t believe in ghosts, you’ll probably find the numbers on this phantom loads chart frightful – to your bank account at least. Using power strips and just taking the time to actually unplug unused electronics and chargers will can add a nice boost to your monthly utility savings.
Plug Those Holes
We’ve all seen them before. Those cracks around a door or window letting in a little outside light and letting our warm and cold indoor air flow freely into the outside environment Well, these cracks and extra spaces are just like having holes in your pockets. The small investment in time and money to add caulk and weather-stripping pays big dividends in energy savings.
Let There Be Light
Another way to save money without spending money is as easy as opening the blinds on your windows. In fact, it is to open the blinds and curtains on your windows and letting the sun’s rays warm your home in the cooler months. This tip is especially useful if you have south-facing and/or west-facing windows.
Do a little investigating and you’ll find a multitude of ways to save money on utility bills. More importantly, you’ll be able to reduce your monthly energy costs without spending a lot of money. And while you are enjoying all that extra money in your pockets, you can also pat yourself on the back for being environmentally-conscious as well.
Tips from the Experts
Jim Wang from Bargaineering uses the following tips:
- We use a programmable thermostat that adjusts the temperature setting based on our usage periods, so it shuts off during the day and turns on when we’re home. I’ve heard good things about the Nest thermostat and how it does the thinking for you based on your changes. I have never used it but my friend raves about it.
- We also close registers in rooms we don’t often use, such as the basement, so we aren’t heating and cooling a large area we don’t intend to use for a while. Our HVAC system is on the smaller side so this helps the system regulate our temperatures better.
- Lastly, we replaced a lot of aging equipment like our water heater, because newer appliances tend to use less energy. The water heater was probably 15 years old, way outside the expected lifetime, so we replaced it early to save on energy and avoid catastrophic failure (like a leak).
Financial guru Phil Taylor from PT Money suggests the following tips:
- Think big. A high utility bill might be a sign that you are living in too big of a space or utilizing too many resources. You should examine if it’s reasonable to downsize into a smaller home or drain that pool that you can’t afford.
- Use it. Is there a utility you could do without? Some utilities are optional. Make sure you’re not paying for something that you aren’t using. i.e. are you still using that landline telephone?
- Compare providers. If you live in an area with multiple providers, periodically compare offers. Your teaser rate could have long run out, making a competitors rate a better deal. Before you switch, call your current provider and see if they’ll counter.
- Use technology. Digital thermostats and automatic light switches can really help to lower your monthly gas and/or electric bills.