Utility bills can consume a very large portion of your paycheck. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could pay 25-50% less on these bills? There’s a number of ways you can. Don’t worry you won’t find any low flow toilets on this list!
#1 Change your light bulbs – Compact florescent bulbs use about 25% the electricity of standard incandescent bulbs and will last for years. They do not work with dimmer switches, but you can swap out the majority of your light bulbs and save a significant amount on lighting.
#2 Check your insulation – Go in your attic. Does your insulation cover all the 2x4s? If not you don’t have enough. Having a well insulated house will save you a significant amount on your heating and cooling bills and is well worth the cost. It’s also the kind of project the average home owner can do by themselves.
#3 Add caulk and weather stripping – Is your house drafty? Look at your doors, does light shine in? Feel around the edge of your windows, do you feel a cold or hot breeze? You need to add caulk and weather stripping. It’ll save you money and help get rid of those annoying hot and cold spots in your house.
#4 Fix leaking faucets – I’m sure you’ve heard even a small drip in your sink can fill a swimming pool in a year. It can also empty your bank account. Fixing this problem is usually as simple as replacing a 50 cent washer.
#5 Use fans – By having a slight breeze you can usually turn your AC up a degree or two and still be just as comfortable. It’s a whole lot cheaper to run the fan than to run the AC, so use them.
#6 Turn the computer off – That 300 watt power supply in your computer is still drawing power when you’re not using it. Turn your computer off when you’re done with it. If that’s too much of a hassle, adjust the screen saver settings to put your computer in sleep mode when it’s idle. This is a low power mode that will allow you to quickly resume your work where you left off when you’re ready to use the computer again.
#7 Switch to LED Christmas lights – You wouldn’t think you’re Christmas lights draw that much power, but when you get enough of those little lights, it really adds up fast. 25 watts per 50 bulb stand is standard and when you hook up 10 of those strands you’re looking at 250 watts, probably running 24/7. Christmas lights that use LED bulbs use 80%-90% less electricity and still look just as bright. Also, turn your lights off when you go to bed.
#8 Get an LCD computer monitor – Are you still using an old style CRT display for your computer? Switch to LCD, they consume as little as 25% of the power of a CRT monitor of the same size. You were looking for a good excuse to switch anyways.
#9 Switch to tankless water heater – It amazes me how few people even know about the existence of tankless water heaters. These water heaters do not store hot water, but rather heat it instantly whenever it is needed. The consume a mind-boggling amount of energy when in use, but it ends up being much cheaper to consume a lot of power during the time you need hot water than a little keeping it hot 24/7.
#10 Change your filters – So you change the filter on your AC/Heating unit every spring and fall like you’re suppose to? Wrong! Most filters are only rated for 30 days. Filters are cheap, so change them frequently. The efficiency gained in heating/cooling your house will make well worth it.
#11 Install a programmable thermostat – These are fairly cheap and easy to install. Why pay to cool your house while you’re gone to work? Do you really need it to be the same temperature while you sleep as when you’re awake? Programming it will allow you to make these energy savings adjustments automatically every day.
#12 Take (short) showers instead of baths – Try this one day. Pull the plug on your tub and take a shower like you normally do. When you’re all done, look at the water level. It’s probably about a quarter of the way full. This is how much water, and energy heating that water you save by taking a shower instead of a bath. If you can shorten your shower, even better.
#13 Ditch the phone company – Remember those “We don’t care, we’re the phone company” adds from Saturday Night Live in the 70’s? Not so anymore. They now have competition from the cable company, cell phone providers and internet phone companies. Shop around and you can probably find a better deal. If you use cell phones all the time, you may even be able to shut off your home phone.
#14 Cancel extra TV channels – Do you pay $50-150 a month for 500 channels but end up just watching the networks? Cancel the extra channels and save some cash. If there’s one show you just HAVE to have on one of these other stations, considering paying to download that one show from iTunes or elsewhere instead.
#15 Have AC Maintenance – If your AC is struggling to keep up in the summer, it might be a good idea to have some routine maintenance done. Low Freon levels can significantly impair the efficiency of your AC unit. So can grass clippings and other debris.
#16 Clean that lent trap – Be sure to empty the lent trap on your dryer after every load. If you are doing so and your clothes are still damp, there’s probably lent that has built up in the exhaust hose and it may be time to replace or clean it.
#17 Have a free energy audit – Many power companies provide energy audits free of charge. They can help you find inefficiencies you may not be able to find on your own, and will sometimes even provide you with free compact florescent bulbs. Contact your power company to see if they offer this service.
#18 Get some shade – Blocking out direct sunlight can significantly lower your cooling bills. Plant some trees that will help shade your house and close the blinds on hot days.
#19 Water in the early morning – If you water your grass on a regular basis do it in the early morning hours. By doing so you reduce the amount of water that evaporates which means much more gets to the grass. It’s not recommended to water in the late evening because having damp grass overnight provides a good environment for parasites that can harm your grass.
#20 Change your shower heads – You can switch to a low flow head without having to settle for a wimpy shower. Newer shower heads available can generate just as high of pressure but use less water. They do this by quickly pulsating between on and off to deliver rapid high pressure bursts. These heads are only about $20, have multiple settings you’ll love and can save a lot of water.