How to Slash Your Utility Bill

How to Slash Your Utility Bill

Winter heating can increase your energy consumption, but taking a few small steps around your home can bring your utility bill down a few degrees.

  1. Check your registers.  Be sure none of your vents or registers are blocked by furniture.  Obstructed air flow can cause your heating or air conditioning to work less efficiently, increasing consumption.
  2. Open south-facing windows.  During the day, open the blinds and curtains on only any south-facing windows to let in some natural sunlight and heat.  Close them back up at night to trap in the warm air.  If you don't have drapes already, installing drapery at each window can act as an insulating liner, keeping heat trapped in your home instead of escaping through windows.
  3. Lower the thermostat.  Lowering the heat by 1 degree during the winter months can save up to 1-3% on your electric bill.  Although it seems like a small difference, this could save you hundreds of dollars per year on your bill - especially if you lower the heat by a few degrees.  While out of the house for extended periods, set the heat to 65-68 degrees and turn it back up when you come home.  If you're heading out for a winter getaway, lowering the thermostat to 58 degrees will provide extra savings.
  4. Control standby power.  Also known as vampire energy charges, this refers to energy consumption by small electronics that can quickly add up.  New smart electronics consume energy, even when it appears they are shut off.  Plug televisions, game systems, and other electronics into a power strip.  Turn off the power strip when the items are not in use to completely stop their phantom energy consumption.
  5. Purchase energy-efficient lighting.  New LED bulbs are great energy savers and often use 80% less energy than traditional light bulbs.  While these may be more expensive on the front-end, they last significantly longer and use much less energy.  Over time, these bulbs more than pay for themselves.
  6. Conduct a nighttime inspection.  Before going to sleep for the night, walk through your home to make sure no lights, electronics, or other devices are left on and running unnecessarily.  
  7. Make use of small space heaters.  If you're spending most of your time in one room of your home, use a small space heater to heat it up instead of heating the entire house. 
  8. Take showers instead of baths.  Showers use less water and require less energy for water heating than baths.
  9. Wash only full loads.  Don't run your dishwasher, washing machine, or dryer when only partially full.  To make the most of your energy use, save running these machines for when they are completely full.

Do you have other tips you'd like to share?  Please leave them in the comments below!