5 Ways to Lower Your Utility Bills
No matter where you live, your utility bills are probably the most unpredictable bills that you have to deal with. On some months, a utility bill can shock you or even have you turning your pockets inside out to pay it (sometimes this may even require you to go on a payment plan just to keep the lights on).
Fortunately, there are several ways that you can lower utility bills. Let’s take a look at what you can do:
1. Upgrade your lighting
Traditional incandescent light bulbs waste a shocking 90 percent of the energy that they use as heat. This means that you are only benefiting from $10 out of every $100 a light bulb costs you.
Compact fluorescent lights (CFL) and LED light bulbs, on the other hand, are exponentially more efficient. A CFL light, for example, uses about a fourth the amount of energy that an incandescent light bulb uses, and an LED light uses less than a tenth of the power of an incandescent bulb. What’s more, they don’t cost very much: a CFL light costs about the same as an incandescent bulb; an LED light, which once cost between $50 and $100, can now be obtained for around $15.
Upgraded lighting will also save you replacement costs; incandescent lights only last about 1,200 hours, whereas CFLs last around 8,000 hours and LED lights last an incredible 50,000 hours.
2. Use your heating and cooling system more efficiently
Your home’s heating and cooling system will account for anywhere from a quarter to half of your energy costs, so it’s safe to say that reducing the amount of energy it consumes will have a positive impact on your utility bill. Here are a few ways to make your heating and cooling system operate more efficiently:
• Insulate your home to prevent the outside air from making your HVAC work harder than it has to
• Inspect your ducts for leaks
• Whitewash your roof to keep solar radiation out
• Close your blinds during summer days
• Open your blinds during winter days
3. Avoid peak hours
Most utility companies have peak hours during the late afternoon/early evening on weekdays. Avoid using energy during these hours by completing any tasks that require a lot of energy such as laundry, and running the dishwasher during the morning, night, early afternoon and on weekends whenever possible.
4. Upgrade your home appliances
An outdated refrigerator, washing machine, or dishwasher can cost you hundreds (and sometimes even thousands) of dollars each year. Upgrading to energy efficient appliances can stop this unnecessary loss in its tracks.
When you do upgrade your appliances, make sure that you only go with energy star certified ones for maximum efficiency.
5. Use surge protectors everywhere
You waste a lot of energy without even realizing it — and we aren’t talking about those times that you forgot to turn the lights off. Most of your electronics continue sapping power after you turn them off. This includes your television, chargers and microwave. You can stop this waste by plugging surge protectors into every socket and just switching them off when you are finished with everything plugged into them.