“Turn off your lights!” “Were you born in a barn? Shut the door!” “Times up! Get out of the shower!” -me, to my kids-*
Just a few tweaks here and there can add up to big savings when it comes to your utility bill. Even if you save a little each month, that savings really adds up month after month!
We certainly aren’t perfect in this area, but we’ve been working on it and have seen some decent savings. We’ve lowered our bill up to $25 per month** (depending on the month), mostly by doing the following 3 things. Do everything on this list and you could see huge monthly savings. Let’s see how low you can go! (If you want to take it a bit further, see the bonus tips below.)
3 Best Ways to Lower Your Utility Bill
1. Adjust your thermostat
I know, I know – this seems pretty obvious, right? But this is one of the main things you need to do to keep your utility costs down. We keep our thermostat set higher during the summer (at 78 degrees) and lower in the winter (we’ve went as low as 62 degrees when gas was expensive, but now keep it around 67 degrees since gas prices dropped).
Are you literally uncomfortable with these temperatures? Just try it for a while and I promise, you will get used to it. Adjust your clothing accordingly and give it time, as your mind and body will get accustomed to your new indoor temperatures.(I wear a fleece jacket all winter since I get cold easily.)
Are you the person that still manually adjusts your thermostat? Stop doing that! Use a programmable thermostat and set it at temperatures that challenge your comfort a bit. After that, don’t touch it! If you’re uncomfortable, change your clothes, add a blanket, or turn on a fan so you become comfortable.
2. Use only LED light bulbs
Until we replaced all of our incandescent and compact fluorescent light bulbs with LED bulbs and experienced the savings first hand, I would’ve never believed how much difference this could make. Our electric bill dropped $10-$15/month after replacing all of our light bulbs.
Though the LED bulbs are still slightly more expensive, the prices have come down significantly over the past couple of years and the additional cost will more than pay for itself in short order.
When we were working on replacing all of our light bulbs with LEDs, we spread out the cost by looking for sales and rebates and picking up a few each month so we weren’t hit with the total cost of replacement all at once.
Plus – don’t forget to turn off the lights when you’re not in a room! This adds up faster than you think. Make it a habit!
3. Help out your furnace/air conditioner (or turn it off!)
First, consider if you need to have your furnace or air conditioner running at all. Are the temperatures outside moderate? If so, turn it off, open the windows and use fans as needed. We have a few months (spring/fall) when we don’t have to use our furnace or a/c (our utility bill drops 40% during this time).
If you do have your furnace or a/c running, help it out by doing the following:
- Close blinds/curtains during the sunny days when it’s hot and open them on those sunny days when it’s cold.
- Is the air temperature outside cool at night, but hot during the day? Open the windows at night and close them first thing in the morning to keep that cool air trapped during the day.
- Use ceiling fans and/or the fan on your HVAC unit to keep air moving. Remember, ceiling fans have a winter/summer switch – make sure you have it on the correct setting for the season.
- Limit opening exterior doors during extreme temperatures (and if you have an attached garage, keep it closed)
- On very hot days, don’t use your oven! In the summer, we use our outdoor grill and crockpot to keep the house from heating up. If we need the oven, we use it early morning or late evening.
- Add additional insulation to your walls/attic, weather stripping to windows/doors, and insulate electrical outlets with foam inserts.**
- Lower the temperature on your hot water heater
- Wrap your hot water heater in a water heater blanket
- Install motion sensor light switches if you have forgetful people living with you
- When appliances die or windows need replaced, replace them with energy efficient models (and check for rebates through your utility company)
- Change the filter and have your furnace/air conditioning unit checked/cleaned each year
- Get an energy audit from your local utility company. Some utility companies offer this service and provide a few free efficient light bulbs, hot water heater wraps, low flow shower head, etc.
- Install low flow water faucets/aerators
*I’m really not a mean mom, promise!
**Rates vary from region to region. We live in the Midwest, with extreme seasonal temperatures (-20 degrees F in the winter on up to 100 degrees F in the summer) and our electric/propane usage runs us an average of $115/month for a 1900 square foot house. Now you know 🙂 )
***We added insulation to our attic this winter and our house was so much warmer, plus the furnace ran less. And yes, we DIYed it (of course). We rented the machine – I fed the machine while my husband used the hose to blow in the insulation. Doing our entire attic only took a couple of hours on a Friday night – so, if you’re looking for date night ideas… 😉 !