Powering Down: Ways to Save Money on Utilities

Have you noticed a thin and raw spot of scalp at the top of your head? Don’t worry, you’re not going bald – yet. The spot is due to the amount of scratching you every time you review your utility bill. No matter how much you try to save electricity, gas, and water, the monthly payment keeps inching up. Not only is this worrisome, it places a burden on a family budget you have expertly crafted. Fortunately, you can stop scratching that spot on your head, because there are a few simple things you can do to reduce the costs of your utilities in your household.

Electricity

As a child it used to drive me nuts that my parents would turn on all of the lights on the main floor in the morning and leave them lit until they went to bed. I never saw their electricity bills, but I would be shocked if they weren’t higher than normal. With a family of my own, my wife and I constantly emphasize the turning off of lights when they leave a room for a long period of time. In many cases, sunlight that filters through the many windows of the main and upper floors of our home becomes our only light source for he day.

Another way to lower electricity costs is to unplug all items not being used. Many folks keep toasters and coffee makers plugged in even when they use them for a short period of time in the morning. However, their inactivity doesn’t mean electricity has stopped flowing from the outlet into the object. It may be a small amount, but enough plugged-in appliances can cause an increase in your bill. Try some unplugging around your home to see if there is any reduction.

Water

Get your family to go around the house and check for any leaks – you may be surprised at what you can find. Perhaps an outside hose has consistently dripped since last summer, or the utility sink in the laundry room has a slow leak you never noticed. Most of these drips can be repaired on your own with a small cost for a faucet washer. In addition to the sinks and showers, check the toilets to see if they’re in working condition. Some pieces may be worn, causing water levels to dip and refill at regular intervals.

Speaking about toilets, there have been numerous technological advances in these thrones over the last few decades. You can purchase a low-flow toilet, which uses less water to flush waste materials and refill the tank, or you can buy a variable flow toilet. In this model, the amount of water used for flushing varies on whether the contents of the bowl are liquid or solid.

Heat and AC

Most heat dissipates due to leaks in door and window frames as well as through light and electrical outlets. An energy audit, while costing some money up front, can save you money later as the largest heat evaporation culprits are pointed out around your home. In summer, the repair of these leaks can help keep more cool air circulating around the house.

In addition to this measure, the thermostat should be kept at 65 degrees or lower for winter heat and 75 or higher for summer air conditioner. Should these temperature sets not keep your house warm or cool in the respective seasons, check to see if you have enough insulation in your attic or crawl spaces. Just a few inches more of the roll or spray insulation can reduce your utility bills over a stretch of time.

4 Responses to Powering Down: Ways to Save Money on Utilities

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