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How to Save Money on Utilities?

February 9, 2019

Monthly bills can be daunting, especially when you’re living on a budget. So wouldn’t it be nice if you could be saving money on your electric and water bills? To make things easier, we’ve collected the best money-saving hacks for cutting down your utility bill costs. Check out our 16 tips on how to save money on utilities.

1. Buy energy-efficient light bulbs

Replacing all your light bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs (CFLs) is probably one of the easiest and cheapest changes you can make to benefit your utility bill. Energy-efficient light bulbs use around 80% less energy than traditional bulbs. That energy efficiency can help you save around $45 annually. In addition, these tough guys will last you much longer than a standard light bulb, with their average lifespan being about 6,000 to 15,000 hours, compared to 750 to 1,000 hours.

2. Use your window coverings

If you have shutters or curtains, keep them open on sunny days to let that cozy sunshine heat your home naturally. In the evenings, close your shutters to keep the collected warmth in. An already warm house doesn’t need to be heated as much to reach that perfect, comfortable temperature level.

3. Insulate

If you’re cranking up the heat in your home, you probably don’t want it to be escaping into the cold outdoors. Check for leaky windows and gaps along your door frames. If you find any, try this inexpensive foam weather stripping to seal them all. Have larger areas to insulate? No worries, use this double bubble insulation wrap to cover them up. Your house will feel warmer and utility costs will be lower in no time!

4. Get a programmable thermostat

This cool hack can save you time and money as it allows you to program your thermostat in accordance with your schedule. Once it’s programmed you won’t need to remember to adjust it. A smart thermostat device also recognizes the pattern of your temperature preferences and changes the schedule to fit you best. You may notice annual savings of up to 1% for each degree you lower your thermostat for every 8-hour period.

5. Switch to low-flow fixtures

If your landlord allows, switch to low-flow fixtures that will lower your water usage and save utility bill costs.  To clarify, a low-flow showerhead delivers about 2.5 gallons per minute at 80 pounds per square foot, whereas a standard one allows for about 7 gallons per minute to flow at the same rate. Despite all this, the two showers don’t actually feel much different with proper water pressure. Make sure to check with your landlord if they are fine with you switching out their equipment.

6. Unplug your electronics

Before you step out the door, remember to unplug all your electronics. Even if your hair dryer is turned off, it’s still using some of your electricity, which can add up over months.

7. Turn your heater down

Heating space and water takes a lot of energy. Consider turning your home and water heaters down to save some of that energy and spare your wallet. Also, consider washing your clothes on cold in full loads. This will conserve the hot water that's being heated by lower heater temperatures.

8. Heat only the rooms you use

Make it a rule that the room you aren’t in isn’t being heated. If you rarely go to your guest bedroom, it shouldn’t be using up the warmth that could be applied to your bedroom. To avoid heating rooms unnecessarily, close off and seal vents in spaces you don’t visit.

9. Invest in a humidifier

Heaters tend to dry the air, and dry air doesn’t keep you as warm as humid air does. So you find yourself stuck in a cycle of having to heat dry air that doesn’t actually retain the warmth your heater is providing it with. All it takes to break this pattern is a one-time investment in a humidifier that will provide moisture. Humid air will successfully contain heat at lower temperatures.

10. Check on your air conditioner and furnace filters

Proper functionality of your furnace and vents will help reduce energy consumption, so make sure to run all the necessary maintenance checks on your heating and cooling systems. AC isn’t working too well and you keep having to power up the fan? Maybe the vents need to be cleaner to allow better airflow. Better airflow means less energy is being used to power the air conditioner. In turn, this will reflect on your utility bill and air quality. For the best up-keeping advice, get a consultation from a professional.

11. Use ceiling fans to manipulate air

Most people don’t think of fans as devices that could be used for heating their homes. Consider air dynamics. You will understand what we mean when we say you can use your fans year-round, whether it be to keep you warm or cool. Hot air rises and hangs out right under your ceiling. If you’re cold, that’s not where you want it to be. Set your fan to a clockwise rotation at low speed, and it will push the warm air down towards you. A reverse rotation will do the opposite, and keep you cool in the summer.

12. Change the way you dry your clothes

Try using reusable wool balls to speed up your drying process and get softer fabrics, too. No softener needed! It’s a win-win anyway you look at it.

An alternative to dryer balls is a simple, energy-saving option: air dry your clothes. Your clothes will thank you and your utility bill will see improvements since the dryer will not be in high demand anymore.

13. Do your chores at night

Some utility companies sneak in an up-charge for utilities during the day hours. Of course, it is to encourage lower electricity and water use rates, but the day hours are also when most people do their chores. Try shifting some of your chores to nighttime, like running the dishwasher or your laundry machines at night when the costs are lower. You should notice a change in your utility bill over time.

14. Invest in new appliances

Try to replace your kitchen appliances with newer, more energy efficient models. It may be a big investment at first, but it will pay off in the long run, since your electric bill will decrease. Make sure to check with a professional to see what upgrades would benefit you the most.

15. Use your dishwasher

A dishwasher actually uses less water than it would take for you to wash dishes by hand. It also yields better results - as in more sanitized dishes - than manual labor. Make sure the dishwasher is fully loaded before running it to save extra water and escape the additional chore of unloading the washer racks several times a day.

16. Call your power company

Last, but not least, if all our hacks are still not enough, try reaching out to your utility company. Some utility companies encourage their customers to cut back on energy consumption by providing programs they can follow to actively cut back on their utility costs. So call your company or visit their website, and see how you can save even more.

Have a favorite utility bill hack you didn’t find on this list? Share your findings by tagging us @ApartmentList on Twitter or Instagram.

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Angelina is a Marketing Specialist at Apartment List where she writes content on rental lifestyle. Angelina previously worked as a Russian and German language specialist at Facebook and Google, and has a BA in Applied Linguistics from UCLA. Read More
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