How to Save on Utilities
The cost of keeping the lights on can add up over the year. Every time you flip the switch, you spend a few pennies. While that might seem harmless, there are ways you can save on these costs. From switching out light bulbs to automating your air conditioning, we’re here to help you save on your monthly utility expenses.
Electricity is probably your most expensive utility cost. And it makes sense. Every time you plug in your phone to charge, put food in your refrigerator, or turn on a fan to cool down a room, you are using electricity. Depending on where you live, electricity costs can range from $.0775 to $.2607 per kilowatt-hour.
Air conditioning is probably the most expensive cost on your electric bill. Cooling (or heating) your home can become very costly. Lower these costs by using a smart thermostat to turn off the AC while you’re away or lower the temperature a few degrees. Smart thermostats can learn from your behaviors and adjust the temperature accordingly. For example, if you typically lower the AC when you get home around 5:00 pm, it might leave the home warmer until around 4:00 pm when it will lower the temperature. This means you don’t have to leave the home at 70 degrees all day!
Another way to save on your air conditioning costs is to raise or lower the temperature a few degrees depending on the season. In the summer, raise your thermostat a few degrees. In the winter, lower your thermostat a few degrees. This can add up over a few months, especially if you are using a heat pump with auxiliary heat.
Heat Pump with Auxiliary Heat
Heat pumps are designed to be extremely efficient. While we won’t get into the details of how they work here, it’s important to understand some of the basics. In short, think of a heat pump as the opposite of air conditioning. It works the same way, just in reverse. This is very efficient, but when the outside temperature drops below 40 degrees, it can be hard if not impossible to heat your home with strictly a heat pump. To compensate for this, some homes are equipped with auxiliary heat. You can think of the as a very large space heater, for your entire home. As expected, these are very energy inefficient. Whenever your heat pump cannot keep up, your auxiliary heat will kick on to help. You’ll be able to notice the difference as the air coming out of your vents will feel much warmer with auxiliary heat. The bad news, this is costly.
The goal is to use auxiliary heat as little as possible, and smart thermostats can help with this. Adjusting the temperature of your home a few degrees can cause auxiliary heat to kick in. Instead, try slowly increasing your home’s temperature one degree at a time to avoid aux heat.
Many of us don’t even think twice about our refrigerators. All we know is that they keep our food and drinks cold. As it turns out, this could be causing your rising electric bill. Most refrigerators have different temperature settings. Raising the temperature of your refrigerator can help you save on those energy costs.
Every time you flip the switch, your lights come on and your electric bill starts to rise. There are many ways to lower your costs when it comes to lighting. You can switch incandescent light bulbs to LED bulbs and save over 50%. Because incandescent lights output 90% of their energy as heat, making the switch to LED will not only lower your lighting costs but can also keep your air conditioning costs lower in the summer. Need another added benefit of LED lights? They’ll last much longer than your typical incandescent bulb, saving you even more money.
You can also automate your lights to keep them off when you’re not using them using smart lightbulbs such as Philips Hue.
Some houses are equipped with natural gas which can many times be more efficient than electricity and cheaper. The most common appliances that use natural gas are your furnace, stovetop, or even an oven. Cut costs by limiting the use of these appliances and checking for small leaks annually.
Cable & Internet
Cable and internet can cost hundreds of dollars per month. Cable companies seem to raise rates every other month, forcing consumers into paying more and more year over year. You do have several options, however. If you think your internet is too expensive, try browsing for other options that may be cheaper or try negotiating with your current provider. You’ll be surprised by how much they want to keep you!
We’ve moved passed the times where cable was the only way to watch live television, however. Now, several different streaming services offer live television at almost half the cost. PlayStation Vue, AT&T Now, Hulu Live TV, Sling TV, and YouTube TV all offer different live television packages including many different channels. Compare the channel lineups for each and pick the package that makes the most sense for you. Many of these providers offer packages starting at less than $50 a month, which can save you hundreds over a year.
Without water, we would not be here today. It is the most important substance Earth has to offer for humans, and yet we don’t treat it as such. In America, we are very wasteful when it comes to water. We turn our faucets and don’t think twice about where it comes from our how it gets routed to our homes. Help conserve water and lighten your water bill with the tips below.
Check your toilet
Toilets use more water in our homes than any other appliance or activity, making up 24% of our household water use per day. Chance are if you have an older toilet, it can be replaced with a new water-saving toilet that will help to lower your water bill.
Shorten your showers
Showers are the 2nd most water-consuming activity in our households. Try shortening your showers by a couple of minutes or opt for a new water-saving shower head.
Stop hand washing dishes
Dishwashers are notoriously smart when it comes to water. You might think that hand washing would use less water, but that has been proven false over and over again. Load your dishwasher and push “START” to start saving.
Wash your clothes in larger loads
Save time and money by filling your washer up the next time you need to do laundry. By condensing several small loads into one, you can save more water and more time!
Saving on your utility expenses is a great way to pad your budget and leave more money in your pocket. Automating your home with a smart thermostat and lighting can help you lower energy costs by keeping your home cooled or heated only when you’re home. There are many other ways to cut utility costs such as ensuring your toilets are up to current standards or trimming your cable bill by switching to a streaming service. At the end of the day, lowering your utility costs is a great way to keep your budget in check and continue your journey to financial freedom.