If you have dealt with a recent shock caused by your water, gas, and electric bills, you understand just how important it is to save on household bills. The rates are going through the roof and winter is around the corner. Finding good ways to cut back without freezing is helpful for just about everyone, so here are some simple ways to save.
Do you remember your parents telling you to turn off lights when you leave a room? It’s great advice. Also, turn off other appliances. Your printer, computer, radio, television and coffeemaker all take small amounts of energy to keep running, even in “energy saving” mode. It’s a minor detail, but it adds up.
This chart from Carbon Track will help you see which devices use the most whilst in standby mode:
Source: Carbon Track
For all the controversy about compact florescent bulbs, they save a lot of energy while still provide the same amount of light. Start by using them in conjunction with standard incandescent bulbs and you won’t have such a hard time switching over. You will appreciate not having to change bulbs as often and save money at the same time.
When you need to purchase new appliances, look for those with the best energy star ratings. Those appliances are designed to save you energy, and by extension, money.
Most new homes are heated with natural gas, and this is a place where prices have risen dramatically in the last few years (and I’m sure we don’t need to tell you about the latest price hikes). There is no other choice but to drop your temperature. You really don’t need to heat the house any higher than 65 degrees F (18 Celsius) unless you have very young children or elderly people in your home. You can drop that to 60 degrees F (15 – 16 Celsius) at night and pile on the blankets.
Another great way to save money is to ask your utility company to come out and do an energy audit of your home. This service is generally free and can give you a great heads up on areas you can improve for reduced costs. Adding insulation pays for itself in a season or two. Shutting the vents in rooms you don’t use cuts energy use. Using a programmable thermostat and wrapping your hot water heater all help you save money.
There are some basic strategies that we all know. Shorten your shower time, don’t run the water when brushing your teeth or getting a glass of water and use low flow showerheads and toilets. Other easy fixes include repairing leaking faucets and replacing toilet valves that are leaking.
Still, most water in a home is used on watering the lawn during the summer months. If you have a lawn, your best bet is to reduce it significantly and plant things that are more drought tolerant. You can find whole websites dedicated to xeriscaping, the practice of low and no water gardening. If you must water, do so early in the morning to reduce evaporation, use drip irrigation where possible, and opt to water less often but for longer, letting water get to the roots.
If you’re a small household, check to see if your water is metered (i.e. you pay for what you actually use rather than a flat fee). Even larger households may make a saving so use the online calculators and work out what your bill would be, based on your typical use.
Saving money on your household utilities doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your shower time or working with candles. You just have to make small changes to see a big difference in those bills.
For more ways to save money on your bills, we recommend you do a ‘money makeover’!