In todays world, oil and gas prices are not coming down nearly as quickly as they go up. Water prices are climbing, with its consumption growing more than twice the rate of the worlds population. Utility bills are always on the rise, adding up to larger energy expenses for consumers.
There are some simple things people can do around their homes to help cut their utility bills down to more manageable levels. Implementing these simple routines and making some small changes can help reduce the cost of utilities, especially when times are rough and money is tight.
1. Conduct nightly energy sweeps. Every little bit of savings helps lower utility bills. Each evening before going to bed, make an energy sweep through the house and turn off all electrical devices. According to energy calculators, it takes $9 per year to generate electricity for one compact fluorescent light throughout the night, $21 for one conventional light bulb, and $35 to run a ceiling fan. Unplugging unused electronics overnight can also help save on electricity bills.
2. Seal up the house. A worthwhile, one-time cost homeowners should consider is hiring someone to seal all the small leaks in the house or doing it themselves. According to the EPA, the sum of the effects of all the little leaks around the house can equal leaving a window open all year-round. Inexpensive caulk or foam can be used to seal cracks where air escapes, including doorframes and windows, as well as gaps in walls where pipes come into and leave the house.
3. Set the water heater at 120 degrees, Fahrenheit. Heating water too much can cause scalding, and also cost a great deal of money. According to the EPA, setting a water heater at 140 degrees or more can increase heating bills by $36 to $61 each year. In addition, it can cost an additional $400, annually, to bring the water up to and maintain it at such high temperatures.
4. Use Energy Star-certified products. The next time you purchase new appliances, consider the ones labeled with an Energy Star logo and information. In a joint effort between the EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy, appliances are labeled according to their energy efficiency to help consumers make informed decisions. Many different appliances, large and small, earn Energy Star ratings. People can look for these ratings on washing machines, dryers, refrigerators, light bulbs, furnaces, fans, and even televisions.
5. Install a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats are not very expensive and are easily installed. They can save consumers up to $180 a year. Programmable thermostats can be set at different temperatures throughout the day, allowing adjustments to be made depending on the time. Setting the thermostat to go down when homeowners are at work and when they go to sleep can greatly reduce heating costs.
It is amazing how little needs to be done for homeowners to save a little bit of money each month. Cutting down on utility bills as smart consumers can help people not only save money, but also lower their energy consumption of nonrenewable resources.
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