The average household spends $1,900 every year on utility bills, including water, heating, and electricity. These essential living expenses can really put a drain on the family budget, but there are some everyday ways you can save too. Take a look at these simple steps to save money on your utility bills.
1. Block drafts. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that drafts can account for anywhere from 5 to 30 percent of home energy costs. Use simple items, like door draft stoppers, to keep cool air outside in the winter and hot air out in the summer months.
2. Unplug chargers. Did you know that cell phone and computer chargers plugged into an outlet are still consuming energy, even when there is no device attached? The U.S. Department of Energy, predicts that this type of energy loss accounts for 25 percent of the power used by home electronics.
3. Replace furnace and air conditioner filters. Set a reminder to change out your furnace and air conditioning filters every month. Dirty filters can lead to higher utility costs as your units are working harder than necessary to pump out heat or cool air. Consider upgrading to electrostatic filters that trap 88 percent of debris and protect against bacteria.
4. Install a programmable thermostat. Decide the temperature you want to set the air conditioner or furnace unit for three separate times:
– When you are awake and home.
– When you are gone for the day.
– When you are asleep at night.
Adjusting your temperature by even one degree for an extended period of time can potentially save you hundreds on your utility bills every year. Programmable thermostats can save an estimated $180 every year.
5. Insulate your windows. When possible, replace old windows with new, energy-efficient models. If installing new windows is not in your budget, invest in a $10 window insulation kit. All you need are the materials enclosed and a hair dryer to create an extra barrier for your windows that will protect you from the cold air outside
6. Service your heating and air conditioning equipment. Your furnace and air conditioner are two of the most expensive pieces of equipment in your house. Protect that investment by having a yearly checkup at the beginning of the busy season for each. Using a properly tuned and lubricated unit can save you 5 percent on your utility costs each year.
7. Prevent heat from escaping your fireplace. Heat and cool air can easily escape your fireplace without the proper precautions. If you never use it, plug and seal the chimney flue. If you do use it, purchase tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange that blows the good air back into your home’s circulation.
8. Buy an energy monitor. One of the best ways to lower your energy costs is to be aware of them. An energy monitor will tell you how much energy you are consuming at any given time and can help you set goals for energy reduction, potentially saving you hundreds every year on utility bills.
There are plenty of simple ways you can reduce your energy costs and keep a little extra cash in your pocket. Do an energy checkup for both the warm and winter seasons and look for ways to save on your utility costs.