15 Ways to Save on Utility Bills

So, you bought your first home and are looking for a few ways to save some money on your utility bill. Don’t worry; every homeowner has been there. Luckily, there are a bunch of different ways to lower the energy cost of that home. Let’s take a look at some easy ways to drive down that dreaded utility bill every month.

1. Use Your Dishwasher

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Yes, the dishwasher is an appliance that costs money to run, but did you know they save more money on energy and water than washing by hand? It is true. The California Energy Commission estimates using your dishwasher can save 5,000 gallons of water and 200 plus hours of your time a year. It will also keep $40 a year in utility costs in your pocket. Only a little financially, but it definitely helps.

2. Air-Dry Your Dishes

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Some of the newer dishwashers can air dry instead of using a heat dry cycle. If your washer doesn’t have this, you can simply turn off the washer and let them actually air-dry. This can save on the energy your dishwasher puts out. In fact, it could reduce the energy put out by as much as 50%. That type of savings is sure to add up.

3. Load Dishes Correctly

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Have you ever put away those clean dishes only to find that they are not clean? That is the worst. But what it means is that you didn’t load the dishwasher the correct way. Save time and energy by re-washing by putting all the plates in the bottom rack, bowls up top, and glasses pointing down. This will help avoid re-washing and wasting money.

4. Use a Ceiling Fan

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Most apartments and homes have a ceiling fan in their rooms. Oftentimes, we turn on the air conditioning as soon as the temperature starts to warm up. A ceiling can reduce the room temperature by 10 degrees while only using 10% of the energy an air conditioning unit would. It sounds like a good option when it’s not quite hot enough to blast the air conditioning.

5. Use Smart Bulbs

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Light bulbs have evolved so much over the last few decades. They last much longer than the ones your dad used to keep in the hall closet. The new LED light bulbs are the best on the planet, and if you still need to upgrade, you should. The US Department of Energy states that LED bulbs are 75% more efficient and last 25 times longer than older incandescent lighting.

6. Turn Burners Off on the Stove Early

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This hack might sound silly, but it is tried and true. Modern cookware holds temperatures even when a heating element is applied to it. That being said, if you turn off the burner a few minutes before you are done cooking, you can save some of that precious energy. Just make sure you check whatever protein you are cooking to ensure it has been cooked through.

7. Keep Oven Closed

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I know it is tempting to open the oven every 5 minutes to check on the cookies or the family pot roast, but it isn’t helping anything. An oven can drop up to 25 degrees every time you open the door to take a look at what you are cooking. It then takes up more energy to get back up to temperature. This is costing you money and may ruin the delicious roast that you are cooking. Turn the light on and gaze through the window next time.

8. Go Small

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If you don’t need to crank up that big oven for a small meal, try a different option, like a toaster oven, microwave, or air fryer. They are way more energy efficient than your stove. An air fryer can use as much as 50% less energy than your stove. Plus, if you are heating something up, the smaller appliances are much faster.

9. Smart Plugs

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These little devices are new to me, and I think my dad would have had them in every outlet if they were available when I was a kid. These plugs have timers and other options to turn off appliances and electronics when not in use. No more lights staying on overnight and running up that electricity bill. This is everything dads around the country have been waiting for.

10. Smart Thermostat

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The running dad jokes about him controlling the thermostat at all times come to fruition. The older thermostats are a money pit, but some of the newer, smart thermostats can put that money right back in your pocket. You can easily set your home’s temperature from anywhere with the mobile app. No more worrying if you forgot to turn off the heat or the air conditioning after you’ve left home. This will give you some peace of mind, knowing you aren’t heating an empty home and throwing away money.

11. Move your Thermostat

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Sometimes, the thermostat monitor is in a bad position in the house and can give off false information. A monitor in the kitchen can read too high when the kitchen appliances are blasting out heat. A monitor by the door next to a draft can cause the reading to be too cool. These can mess with your home’s efficiency. It’s best to be placed in a highly trafficked room, away from doors, windows, and heat sources.

12. Wash Clothes on Cold

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Using cold water in your washing machine can save around $60 a year. Using hot water raises your energy cost a lot. In fact, it takes about 90% of the machine’s energy to heat up that water, according to Consumer Reports. Store-bought detergents are excellent to use in cold water, so you won’t be doing any harm to the washer or your clothes. $63 is not a lot, but that adds up over time.

13. Clean out your Dryer

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Most appliances are going to have the best results when they are clean. Make sure you are always cleaning out the lint trap and keeping the machine clean and full of debris. Once a month, blast some hot air through the dryer vent to unclog anything that might have gotten trapped in there. You can also remove the back panel for more detail in your cleaning.

14. Upgrade Washer and Dryer

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This might not save you money right away, but over time, a new set of washer dryers could pay for itself. Older washers are estimated to cost homeowners as much as $190 in energy costs a year. Old dryers are just as bad, wasting energy and money simultaneously. New models are built to be cost and energy-efficient. It may be time to upgrade.

15. Check Air Ducts

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Have a professional come and check out your home’s air ducts. These can suck the money right out of your pocket. They often get holes or clogs that reduce their efficiency by up to 20%. A faulty duct can also be dangerous to you and your family as it protects you from harmful gases. The safest bet is to have them inspected by an HVAC pro once a year.