If you’re like most Americans, your average utility bill may cost well over $100. However, the current inflation in the U.S. has likely increased this expense.
Average households spend about $24,032 per year on common bills. The average annual cost of utilities alone is $3,070 — which is 13% of the average monthly household budget.
You’re likely looking for ways to save on your utilities. Luckily, you have several options to save money today.
1. Request an Energy Audit
Many electric companies offer energy audits. They’ll do a room-by-room analysis in your home and examine your electricity bills to determine the areas where you’re wasting energy. Best of all, tit’s free. Plus, the utility will offer you recommendations to help save money on your electric bill.
You can easily perform your own home energy audit if your electric company doesn’t offer this service. Follow the instructions provided by the U.S. Department of Energy.
2. Adjust Your Thermostat Settings
One of the simplest ways to save on your electric bill is by adjusting your thermostat. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save up to 10% on your heating and cooling costs per year by making simple changes. Turn your thermostat down 7-10 degrees from its typical setting for eight hours a day to save energy and money.
In other words, you should try to keep it warmer in the summer and cooler in the winter. The most effective way to adjust your thermostat is while you sleep or are at work. Smart models allow you to preset the temperatures during these hours. That way, you don’t forget to adjust the settings.
3. Change Your Air Filters Regularly
Every air conditioner and furnace has a filter that keeps dust, dirt and other pollutants out of the air in your home. In general, it’s essential to change the air filter every 90 days to keep the air from recycling dust throughout the house.
A clogged filter can break down your HVAC system, making it more expensive to run because it reduces its efficiency. Changing it may save up to 15% of energy consumption — saving money accordingly on your monthly utility bill.
To change your air filter:
- Find its location
- Ensure you get the correct size and place it by using the arrow to indicate the furnace filter airflow
- Note that the arrow should be pointing toward the furnace
4. Turn the Water Heater Down
Most water heater manufacturers set their thermostats at 140 degrees. However, you only need the temperature to be at 120 degrees max. Turning it down to this setting helps save 6%-10% on water heating costs each year. On average, you could save up to $42 annually by lowering the water’s temperature.
Typically, the water heater’s thermostat dial will be found near the bottom of the tank. Check with your owner’s manual for instructions on adjusting accordingly or consult a professional technician.
5. Unplug Electrical Items When Not in Use
Household items left plugged in will use electricity unnecessarily even when they’re not on.
Start by turning off the lights when you leave the room or relying on natural light outdoors. Another way to reduce energy use is by plugging your items into power strips and turning them off when not needed.
Unplugging items you’re not using can save hundreds of dollars per year.
6. Use the Dishwasher
Running your dishwasher might sound counterintuitive, but it’s more energy-efficient than hand-washing the dishes every night. Research shows that washing dishes by hand costs $2,012 over a dishwasher's 12-year average life span. Meanwhile, it costs only $447 to use a dishwasher over its lifetime.
Dishwashers also use less water — 4 gallons per cycle. In comparison, it takes 15 seconds on average to wash each dish by hand. You're using half a gallon of water, or 4 gallons every two minutes, by that time.
7. Use Appliances Properly
Do you rinse your dishes before placing them in the dishwasher? Reports show that prerinsing can waste time and money since modern dishwashers work best on dirtier plates. Furthermore, it’s always better to wait to use the dishwasher until full.
The same goes for running your washing machine. Wait to use it until you have a full load, and clean your clothes in cold water. Hot water is where most energy consumption comes from.
You’ll also want to clean the dryer’s lint trap after each cycle. Doing so will ensure proper air circulation and improve the machine’s efficiency. You could also take energy and money savings a step further by purchasing a drying rack. That way, you can air-dry your clothes instead of using the dryer each time.
8. Ensure Air Vents Are Open and Clear
Closed or blocked vents force the furnace or air conditioner to work harder — making it inefficient to distribute air around the home. Ensure all the vents are open to prevent this mishap.
Furthermore, it’s best to move large furniture and other items away from working vents. These recommendations guarantee the airflow functions more efficiently, saving energy costs within your home.
9. Switch to LED Lighting
Lower your lighting costs by switching to energy-efficient lightbulbs. If you have incandescent or fluorescent bulbs in your home, consider changing them for LEDs. These bulbs can stack more money in your pocket because of how much energy they save.
Compared to incandescent lighting, homeowners can produce 90% more-efficient lighting with LEDs. Similarly, LEDs are 80% more efficient than fluorescent lights.
You can also find more cost savings with LEDs because of their long lifespan. LED lightbulbs won’t burn out completely — they only lose light slowly over time. When switching to LEDs, you can save up to $1,000 over a decade and even more in the long run.
By utilizing LEDs, you get better lighting and safeguard yourself from headaches or eye discomfort while protecting the environment.
Using These Tips to Save
Each of these cost-saving tips might not seem like much on their own. However, things can truly add up when they’re combined, fattening your wallet and helping the planet.