5 Easy Ways to Lower Your Utility Bills
Easy changes you can make that can have a large impact on your overall utility costs
5 Easy Ways To Lower Your Utility Bills
For many homeowners, utility bills account for a significant portion of the monthly budget. While there are some aspects of your utility bills that you cannot control, such as energy rates, it is possible to lower your monthly expenses. Here are some easy changes you can make that can have a large impact on your overall utility costs.
1. Install Blinds or Shades
The amount of sunlight that comes into your home through the windows can greatly impact the indoor temperature. In the summer, this may mean that your air conditioner has to work harder to keep your home cool. In the winter, however, allowing sunlight into your interior rooms can reduce the load on your furnace. It's easy to moderate the amount of sunlight that comes through your windows when you have blinds or shades. Many styles allow you to filter the light so you can get the heating benefits without significant sun glare. There are also insulated window coverings that can give you even more control over how much heat your home blocks or retains.
2. Invest in a Solar Energy System
Installing solar panels on your home can provide several financial benefits. By using solar energy to power your home, you can reduce your dependence on your local energy provider, lowering your utility bills. Depending on where you live, you may be able to enter into a net metering agreement with your utility company. If you're wondering what is net metering, it simply means that you can feed energy back into your utility grid when your solar panels produce more than your home needs. For example, if your solar panels provide more energy than you consume on especially sunny days, you give the excess back to your utility provider to use in other parts of the local grid. Most utility providers give credits for this extra energy, which can offset your utility expenses in months when your usage is higher.
3. Upgrade to a Smart Thermostat
One of the best ways to lower your utility costs is to avoid using energy when you don't need to. For example, you can lower heating costs if you turn your thermostat down during the day when you are at work. Programmable thermostats can help you create heating and cooling schedules, but newer smart thermostats may provide even more benefits. Many smart thermostats can "learn" your schedule and adjust the temperature automatically, when you are away from home. Some also track your energy usage, giving you valuable data that you can use to find other ways to reduce your energy consumption.
4. Switch to Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs
Light fixtures can use a lot of energy, especially if they are equipped with incandescent bulbs. Newer energy-efficient light bulbs, such as CFLs and LEDs, use far less energy than incandescent models. They also last much longer, reducing the long-term amount you have to pay to replace the light bulbs in your home. To choose the right energy-efficient light bulbs for your home, consider the color as well as the brightness. Cool white bulbs may work well for bathrooms, but you may want a warmer tone in bedrooms and living areas.
5. Wash Clothes in Cold Water
Washers and dryers can account for a large percentage of your utility usage, especially older models that are not energy-efficient. If you don't have an energy-efficient washer, upgrading to a newer model can be a good first step. If you already have energy-efficient appliances, you can further reduce your utility costs by washing your clothes in cold water and setting your dryer to a low heat setting. There are special detergents that are designed to work in cold water. You could also consider installing a clothesline so you don't have to use your dryer as often.
Reducing your home's energy consumption can significantly lower your utility bills. Installing a smart thermostat and energy-efficient light bulbs are simple weekend projects. You can also invest in solar panels to take advantage of net metering.