How to Save Money on Utilities
What You’ll Learn
How simple adjustments to your energy consumption habits can save you significant money over time
Why a well-maintained home can mean lower utility bills
What strategic home upgrades can significantly shrink utility expenses
One of the inescapable aspects of owning a home is paying for utility bills. While we all need access to electric, water, and natural gas, it can be hard to budget for recurring expenses if your bills fluctuate frequently or even give you severe sticker shock.
The good news is you can take back control over some of these costs by adjusting daily energy usage, keeping your house in good repair, and making some strategic upgrades. Here’s a handy guide to help you save money on your utility bills.
Daily savings tips
Did you know that making a few small tweaks every day can significantly impact your energy usage and monthly costs? Here are several new habits you can form and a few minor adjustments you could make to save on your utility bills:
Use a programmable thermostat
The temperature inside your home doesn’t have to be exactly to your liking while you're not there. Instead, set your programmable thermostat to automatically turn your heating and air conditioning off or down when you’re typically out of the house.
You could save up to 10% on your heating and cooling bill by adjusting your home’s temperature by seven to 10 degrees Fahrenheit for eight hours per day.
Keep showers short
If you cut your shower down from eight minutes to five, you could prevent roughly 7.5 gallons of water from literally going down the drain. Your cost savings will depend on your local utility rates. However, those pennies will add up over time.
Adjust the temperature of your refrigerator and freezer
A refrigerator and freezer that’s set too cold wastes energy and money. Plus, colder temperatures could impact food quality.
For better efficiency, set your refrigerator to 37 degrees and your freezer to zero degrees Fahrenheit. Keeping these appliances full can also help regulate the temperature inside. When they’re a bit barren, try putting bags of ice in the freezer or pitchers of cold water in the fridge.
Reduce your water heater’s temperature
The default water heater temperature is typically 140 degrees Fahrenheit. But lowering it by just 20 degrees could provide energy savings of up to 22%. That means setting your water heater’s temperature to 120 degrees could put several hundred dollars back in your pocket each year.
Money-saving maintenance and repairs
Not only can maintaining your home give you a nicer and healthier place to live, but it can also save you on utility costs. So, here are some essential tasks to add to your to-do list:
Repair leaky faucets, toilets, and showerheads
Small water leaks may lead to big problems. They can cause damage to your home and siphon money out of your bank account with every drip. If you keep your home leak-free, you’ll save approximately 10% on your water bill.
Seal up air leaks
Air leaks can also sink your financial ship. So, locate all the drafts from windows and doors and fill them with weatherstripping, caulk, or spray foam. Or consider calling in the experts to address repairs. As a result, your heating and cooling units won’t have to work as hard to maintain your desired temperature, which means you could see up to 30% energy savings.
Replace your HVAC filter regularly
A dirty HVAC filter is inefficient and turns your unit into an energy hog. It could also pose health risks to the people in your home. Fortunately, filters are relatively inexpensive and easy to replace. You can reduce the energy your HVAC unit uses by 15% simply by replacing the filter regularly.
Have you ever heard the saying, “it takes money to make money”? Well, in the case of lowering your utility costs, the adage rings true. A few upfront investments could significantly decrease your electricity, gas, and water bills. Here are some energy-efficient upgrades, you might want to consider:
Replace your showerhead
Swapping your showerhead with a WaterSense-labeled unit can help you save a lot of water and a nice chunk of change. It’s estimated that you could conserve up to 2,700 gallons of water per year and put $70 back in your pocket. Plus, being energy efficient doesn’t mean being boring. Eco-conscious and budget-friendly models still offer luxurious features, like dual heads or handheld wands.
Buy energy-efficient appliances
Energy-efficient appliances may cost more upfront than their standard counterparts, but you can realize significant savings over time because the units use less electricity or natural gas. For example, an energy-efficient water heater’s useful life is generally more than 10 years. You could save nearly $300 per year on your electricity bill by making the switch — and roughly $3,600 back in your pocket over the next decade.
Swap your lightbulbs
An LED (light emitting diode) light bulb uses 90% less energy than the regular incandescent version. That means you’ll save roughly $225 per year when you switch the bulbs in your home. Not only that, but LED bulbs tend to last up to 25 times longer, so you’ll have to replace them less often.
A little utility savings go a long way
Every hack, repair, or upgrade listed above can help you keep more of your hard-earned cash. And when you implement all of them together, you have the potential to realize significant savings over time.
Consider having an energy audit done on your residence to discover which tips and tricks could impact your utility expenses most.
If you have questions about utility bills or energy-efficient features while searching for a home, a Better Real Estate Agent can help get answers before or during your visits.