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50 Ways To Save On Your Utility Bill (and Counting)

This time of year, as the cold winds are blowing and the winter snow is making a long-term visit many of us are watching our bottom line crunch. The added energy required to heat homes in the winter can be devastating to those of us on a budget.

In our house we’ve watched the utility bill climb these last two months. That’s why I was inspired to research new ways to save money on our monthly bills. Together lets make our February utility bills the lowest they’ve been this winter!

  1. Clean/Replace furnace filter often during heating season
  2. Have an inspection to make sure your heating system is in good working order
  3. Keep furniture & rugs from blocking heating ducts
  4. Use extra blankets on your bed
  5. Set ceiling fans on low, pointed towards the ceiling to help circulate the warm air that rises
  6. If radiators are located next to an exterior wall place a piece of aluminum foil between the radiator and the wall to reflect heat back towards the house
  7. Use your thermostat. When away from the house for longer than 5 hours turn the temperature back to 60 degrees.
  8. Turn down the temperature of your house 1 to 2 degrees in the winter months
  9. When using an air conditioner, make sure you install it in the shade. It will use less energy to cool that way.
  10. When possible, avoid using the air conditioner by opening windows instead.
  11. Plant shade trees in your yard to help cool your home naturally.
  12. Only run heat & air conditioning in rooms that you are using. Close ducts in rooms rarely used and keep door ways to that space blocked.
  13. On the hottest days of summer sleep on the 1st floor or basement. Since warm air rises, these will be the coolest floors on your house. (For the same reason, avoid bunk beds and loft sleeping areas on the hottest days as well.)
  14. Install an attic fan to aid in removing trapped hot air.
  15. During the summer avoid using appliances that produce heat (stove, dishwasher, dryer, etc) until the early morning or evening hours to avoid heating your house further and causing your air conditioner to work harder.
  16. Use ceiling fans to cool your home whenever possible.
  17. Turn off the heated dry cycle on your dishwasher and allow dishes to air dry.
  18. If possible, use low heat and quick wash cycles on your dishwasher to decrease energy use.
  19. Clean your dishwasher’s drain regularly. Food particles can get caught and cause your dishwasher to run less efficiently.
  20. Only run the dishwasher when it is full.
  21. Showers use less hot water than baths.
  22. Dial down the water heater a degree or two. This requires less energy to heat the water and since it’s only a small change in temperature you probably won’t notice a difference.
  23. Install a low-flow shower head to use less water.
  24. Turn off the water (especially hot) when its not in use. (Like when husbands are shaving.)
  25. Fix leaks or dripping faucets to cut back on wasted water.
  26. If you live somewhere that charges different amounts for irrigation vs. home water, install a second water meter to save on the cost of sewer charges for irrigation and gardening water.
  27. Collect rain water for use in gardens.
  28. Insulate hot water pipes that run through cold places like exterior walls and basements.
  29. Put an insulating blanket around your water heater to hold heat in.
  30. Always use cold water instead of hot if it will get the job done.
  31. Perform a “flush” of your water heater at least once a year to remove sediment deposits that cause it to run less efficiently.
  32. Thaw food before heating in the microwave or oven to shorten cooking time.
  33. Cut vegetables into smaller pieces to shorten cooking time.
  34. Clean the grease splatter pans on your stove top. They reflect heat towards your pans better if they are shiny and clean.
  35. Watch for wasted fuel in your oven and stove. Yellow flames can signify that too much fuel is being emitted. Contact a professional for assistance.
  36. Use glass & ceramic dishes in the oven. They hold heat better and will cook more efficiently.
  37. Use a crock pot instead of the oven when possible – it uses less energy in most cases.
  38. Use the window of your oven to check on food instead of opening the door. Up to 75 degrees of heat can be lost with just a quick check of your baked goods.
  39. Wash & rinse laundry on cold when possible.
  40. Match the amount of clothes in your washer with the load size to avoid using excess water.
  41. Hang dry your clothes as much as possible. Installing a clothing rod is a very inexpensive way to do this indoors and as an added benefit the clothes will already be on hangers. Always air dry whites outdoors, the sun acts as a natural bleaching agent.
  42. Don’t overload your clothing dryer. It will dry clothes more efficiently if they have room to tumble.
  43. Clean out your lint trap often to promote energy saving air flow.
  44. Dry your laundry in consecutive loads to benefit from the left over heat of previous loads.
  45. Avoid opening the refrigerator and freezer often to look for what’s available. Each time you do precious energy is wasted. Instead think about what you want before opening the door.
  46. Allow food to cool before placing in refrigerator. Hot foods cause your refrigerator’s motor to work harder to maintain it’s temperature.
  47. Full freezers use energy more efficiently than empty ones. If your freezer is getting empty consider filling extra space with bottles 2/3 full of water to help.
  48. Remove excess ice buildup on freezers.
  49. Open the blinds instead of using lamps during the day time.
  50. Turn off electronic devices (or even unplug them) when not in use.
  51. Only run humidifiers and dehumidifiers when needed.
  52. Use energy efficient light bulbs.
  53. Place outdoor lights, security lights & holiday lights on timers to avoid running when not needed.
  54. Install dimmer switches to use only the amount of light you need.
  55. Use solar covers on pools to hold in heat and absorb energy from the sun to heat your pool for free.
  56. In cold weather months, cover windows with insulated drapes to avoid heat loss.

Tell us your ideas for using less energy in your home in the comments below.

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