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How to Keep Your Utility Bill Low While in Quarantine

By: Angelina Bader
April 2, 2020

As we all try to do our part by staying home amidst the COVID-19 crisis, we cannot ignore the potential impact on our monthly bills. Remembering to turn the lights off is hard enough, let alone when your family and/or roommates are home 24/7. Thankfully, we have compiled several tips on how to save on your electric bills during the quarantine.

Read on to find out what you can do to cut the cost of your electric bills. If you want to learn more ways to save on utilities, check out our other utility bill guides.

Switch to Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs

Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs) are more efficient and longer-lasting than traditional bulbs. Energy-efficient light bulbs use about 80% less energy than incandescent bulbs and can help you save around $45 each year. CFLs have an average lifespan of 6,000 and 15,000 hours, compared to 750 to 1,000 hours of a regular light bulb. It is one of the fastest and money-efficient changes you can make to lower your utility bill costs.

Install Smarter Switches

Motion sensors only turn lights on when you are present in a room, which means you will only be paying for light when you’re actually using it. Also consider investing in timer fan switches. That way you can preset the amount of time you want your fans to run and they will automatically turn off after they’re done. One less thing to keep track of!

Invest in Energy Star-Approved Appliances

Energy Star certified appliances when they meet certain energy-efficiency guidelines. Appliances that function according to these guidelines can save you up to 30% of your electricity bill. Consider replacing your kitchen appliances with newer models, which tend to be more electricity-efficient and are more likely to be Energy Star approved. This big investment will end up paying off in the long run, considering your electric bill will decrease. Remember to ask a professional what upgrades would fit your kitchen and electric bill best.

Do your Chores at Night

Some power companies up-charge for electricity use during the day. The extra fee is supposed to encourage lower electricity use rates. Doing some of your chores at night, such as running the laundry machine, may cause you see a decrease in your power bill costs.

Clean Out Filters, Vents, and Furnaces

If you don’t want to replace your old appliances, you can still make your existing ones work better. Your dryer is a great example. To get more bang for your buck out of your dryer, clean out the lint from its filters after every few cycles. This way there will be no need for extra or harsher, energy-inefficient cycles, causing you to save up to $25 a year.

Additionally, proper maintenance of your furnace and vents will help reduce energy consumption. Run maintenance checks on your heating and cooling systems. For example, cleaning out your AC vents and filters will allow for better airflow at lower electricity use levels. In turn, this will reflect on your bill and air quality. Remember to always check in with a professional for the best cleaning advice.

Take Good Care of your Fridge

Your refrigerator is the biggest, most energy-consuming item in your kitchen. If you can replace it with a new more energy-efficient model - great! If not, that’s okay. Either way, make sure you to clean its coils twice  a year. Keeping this practice up will improve your fridge's efficiency by around 40%.

Keeping your fridge and freezer full actually benefits more than just your stomach. These appliances run better when full. In case you have some empty space, fill up your fridge with water containers and your freezer with ice bags.

Unplug your Electronics

Saving money on your electric bill is all about developing good habits. Don’t leave your small appliances, such a hair dryer or a fan, plugged into an outlet, even if they are turned off. These energy vampires will still be eating up your electricity and draining your pocket.

Look Into Programmable Thermostats

Program your thermostat to keep up with your schedule. This little trick can go a long way in saving you both time and money because once it’s programmed you won’t need to remember to turn it off. Most smart thermostat devices can also track your temperature preference patterns and adjust accordingly. You may notice annual savings of up to 1% for each degree you lower your thermostat for every 8-hour period.

Turn your Water Heater Down

Your heater is working hard, so don’t waste its efforts and the electricity it's already using. Save hot water by washing your clothes on cold in full loads. With the preserved hot water, your heater won’t have to heat as many additional gallons.

Only Use Heat or A/C in the Rooms your In

Don’t waste precious heat or A/C on the rooms you don’t check on often. If your storage and living room aren’t the places you usually spend time in, they shouldn’t be stealing away warmth from your bedroom. In order to avoid heating all the rooms in your homes, close off vents that lead to rooms you don’t visit.

Take Advantage of Insulation

Consider turning the heater down and conserving warmth inside your home in other ways, such as insulating. Check for leaky spots all long your window and door frames. Try using inexpensive foam weather stripping to patch up small openings, and for larger areas consider getting double bubble insulation wrap. Your house will feel warmer and electric bill will be lower in no time!

Call your Power Company

If you’re still looking for more ways to save, try calling your power company. Some power companies help their customers save on electricity consumption by leading initiatives that you can participate in and lower your costs. So call your company or visit their website, and see what other options are out there.

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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