Tips for Saving Money
5 Tips for Saving Money on Your Utility Bill
By Hannah West
From solar energy to efficient washers and LED bulbs, there are more and more ways to save money on your monthly energy bill. Unfortunately, those solutions require an up-front investment that isn’t practical for many people. Here are a few ways to save on your bill today without having to dish out first.
Wash Your Clothes in Cold Water
Heating water accounts for most of the energy that your washing machine uses. You can buy cold-water detergents that will get your clothes just as clean, and you don’t even have to separate into lights and darks like you do when you plan on using the warm setting. The heating rule is also true of the dryer, but that one’s a little harder to get around. However, if you’re truly determined to save, of course there’s a solution: get old-fashioned and hang them up to air dry.
Adjust Your Thermostat
Turn off the air conditioner or heat in a room that you don’t plan to use for a while and shut the door on your way out. Make sure to raise the temperature when you leave the house (or if it’s cold outside, lower it) to preserve the energy you normally would use making everyone comfortable. It may not feel great for the first few minutes when you return, but you can always adjust and get cozy or cool again within no time. If you live in a cooler climate, try using standing fans, which don’t require nearly as much energy as air conditioning systems.
Make sure to set your winter and summer thermostat accordingly. On the heat setting, it should be around 72 but on the cool setting, 76 can be perfectly comfortable. Always keep your vents clean for best results and savings.
Take Advantage of Off-Peak Hours
Learn about your utility company’s time of use rates. Usually, energy use is highest in the few hours after work and in the morning while people are getting ready for the day. Because it’s more in demand at those times, the rates are higher than in off-peak hours. If you can significantly reduce your energy use in peak hours, you could end up slashing down your bill.
Don’t Forget the Windows
With effortless air conditioning at our fingertips, sometimes we forget the difference it can make to open the windows and let a breeze blow through on a mild day. If this isn’t an option for you, don’t forget the many other roles that windows play in your indoor air temperature. For one thing, they allow heat from the sunlight in. In the winter, the sunshine can help you heat up your house. But in the summer, you may want to close window coverings in the area that the sun shines brightest into your home.
Make sure to properly weather strip your windows and doors to seal air leaks in your home. This will stop cool air from leaking in during winter, which can help you save on your heating bill.
Turn off Devices
With the number of electronic devices we use every day, it’s easy to overlook the ones we leave plugged in or turned on when they’re not in use. You could buy a smart power strip that will save you money in the long run, but the cheapest way to take care of this is just to make a habit of turning off and unplugging devices when you’re finished with them for the next few hours.
Appliances account for only a small percentage of our energy use at home, but TVs, at-home gaming devices, and desktop computers are the biggest energy-suckers, so be particularly mindful of those. If you don’t want to run around unplugging individual devices, use the extra regular power strips you have lying around your house so that you can turn off several devices with one action.
To learn more about cutting down on your utility bill, head to Modernize.com.