Utility bills can place a dent in your budget. Whether you spend a fortune on electricity, gas or water bills, all hope is not lost. There are strategies you can implement to give your wallet a break and help the environment.
Read on to discover practical tips to reduce your utility bills while making your home more energy-efficient.
Understanding Your Current Utility Bills
Before applying cost-reduction strategies, you should understand how utility fees are calculated. Familiarizing yourself with the charges and rates on your utility bills will help identify areas to reduce consumption and save money.
The first step is to get a copy of your most recent electric, gas and water bills. Examine each line item and reach out to your service providers to get clarity on charges you don’t quite understand.
The Critical Areas of Utility Costs
Once you understand your consumption levels and how you’re billed, you’ll be ready to start making adjustments. Here’s a closer look at the vital components of utility costs.
When you’re looking to lower your utility bill, the first area to focus on is your home’s electricity consumption. Start by assessing the energy usage of your day-to-day activities and appliances. Turn off lights when not in use, and consider upgrading to energy-saving LED or CFL bulbs.
Also, unplug devices like chargers and electronics when not in use to avoid incurring charges for standby power consumption. It’s also ideal to use energy-efficient appliances and set your computer to power save mode.
Gas Usage for Heating and Cooking
Another critical area to examine is your gas usage, especially if your home relies on gas for heating and cooking. The best way to reduce your gas bill is to ensure proper insulation within your home. Doing so helps trap the cool air inside during the summer.
Keep windows and doors sealed and fix any leaks in your ductwork that might cause drafts. If your heating system is outdated, consider upgrading to a more energy-efficient model. Also, opt for smaller appliances like a microwave or toaster oven rather than larger, gas-guzzling alternatives when preparing meals.
Water consumption is another significant cause of costly utility bills. To conserve water and lower your bill, fix any water leaks in your home. These include dripping faucets and leaking pipes. Also, consider installing low-flow showerheads, faucets and a dual-flush toilet to reduce water usage.
Running full loads when doing laundry is another strategy to reduce water consumption. And if possible, collect rainwater for outdoor watering and garden usage.
How to Lower Your Electricity Bills
Below is a deeper dive into specific ways to reduce electricity bills.
Switch to Energy-Efficient Appliances
If you haven’t yet done so, switch out your current appliances for energy-efficient ones. These devices provide the same level of performance while consuming less energy. You may need to invest a sizable amount to make the switch, but the cost-savings incurred over time will make the upgrade well worth it.
Optimize Use of Air Conditioning and Heating
You can also change your thermostat settings to conserve energy. In the summer months, set the thermostat to 78 degrees Fahrenheit when you’re home, and raise it when you’re away. During winter months, aim for 68 degrees Fahrenheit when you’re home and lower it when you’re not. It’s equally important to ensure your windows are correctly sealed, minimizing drafts and heat loss.
Ceiling fans are another cost-efficient way to cool down your home. They circulate air and create a cooling effect for a fraction of the cost.
Unplugging Devices Not in Use
Many electronic devices and appliances continue to draw power even when they’re not in use, contributing to higher energy bills. This is called phantom energy and can drive your utility consumption up, increasing your monthly bill.
To reduce your energy usage, unplug devices such as phone chargers, computers, and small appliances when they’re not in use. Consider using power strips with an on/off switch, as they make it easier to disconnect multiple devices at once.
How to Lower Your Gas Bills
If gas bills are placing a dent in your budget, follow these suggestions to cut costs.
Regular Maintenance of Your Heating System
Proper heating system maintenance is crucial if you want to lower your gas bills. Be sure to clean or replace filters, lubricate parts and inspect components regularly to keep your heating system running efficiently. Or you can hire a company to do it for you and get added peace of mind. If possible, schedule annual inspections with a professional to avoid unexpected breakdowns.
Upgrade to a More Efficient Heating System
Investing in a more efficient heating system can significantly increase your energy savings. If your heating system is outdated or inefficient, upgrading to an Energy Star-certified furnace or high-efficiency water heater is a smart move. These new systems are designed to use less gas while providing improved heat distribution and comfort. Make sure to do your research and consult an HVAC professional to choose the most suitable option for your home.
Effective Use of Insulation
Efficient insulation is essential to prevent heat loss and reduce your gas bills. Inspect your home’s insulation and identify areas where heat may be escaping, such as drafty windows, doors, and even your attic or garage.
By sealing gaps and adding insulation to walls, you can trap heat inside your home, requiring less energy to maintain a comfortable temperature. Also, consider using weatherstripping around windows and doors to minimize drafts further and make your home more energy efficient.
How to Lower Your Water Bills
Consider these money-saving tips when looking for ways to lower your water bills.
Fix Leaky Faucets and Toilets
One of the easiest ways to lower your water bill is by fixing any leaky faucets or toilets in your home. Both can waste thousands of gallons of water a year, increasing your water consumption.
Not only will doing so save water, but it can also prevent any costly damage caused by leaks. Be sure to check your faucets and toilets regularly and promptly address any issues you find.
Use Water-Saving Appliances
Water-saving appliances, such as low-flow showerheads, faucets and energy-efficient washing machines, can significantly reduce your water consumption and lower your water bills. Installing aerators on faucets and low-flow showerheads also reduces hot water usage, which will help save on your water heater expenses.
Recycle Water When Possible
Recycling water is a great way to conserve resources and reduce your water bill. Some simple ways to do this include:
- Collecting rainwater: Use rain barrels to collect rainwater and use it to water your plants and other items in your garden.
- Reusing cooking water: After boiling vegetables or pasta, let the water cool, then use it to water your plants.
- Using water-saving taps: Install a low-flow faucet or a motion sensor faucet to reduce water wastage while washing dishes or hands.
- Storing cold water in the fridge: Instead of running the tap until the water is cold enough to drink, store drinking water in the refrigerator so it’s always at your desired temperature.
How to Lower Your Utility Bills Even More
These bonus tips can help you save even more on your utility bills each month.
Monitoring Your Progress with Energy Monitoring Tools
These tools can help you stay up-to-date with your energy consumption. You can track your energy usage, identify patterns and take note of areas that need adjustments to boost cost savings.
Assessing Your Energy Consumption Regularly
Regularly checking your energy consumption is also vital to get a lower utility bill. Take advantage of resources, like your utility company’s online portal, to review your energy usage over time.
Switching to a Time-of-use Plan
A time-of-use plan assesses different rates for electricity use at different times of the day. These plans typically have higher rates during peak hours and lower rates during off-peak hours.
Negotiating Your Utility Bills
Reach out to your service provider and ask if they have any promotions, discounts, or special offers available. You can also request a utility audit to identify problem areas that need to be addressed.
Using Experian BillFixer
Taking advantage of services like Experian BillFixer can help you find savings on your monthly utility bills. Experian negotiates with utility providers on your behalf, and 100 percent of the money saved is yours to keep.
Even better, you can test drive the service for 7 days to determine if it’s right for you. Once the trial period ends, it’s just $24.99 per month and includes an assortment of benefits to help you stay on top of your credit health.