How to Lower your Utility Bills

By Rebecca Lake
October 14, 2019

Whether you rent or own, looking for tips on how to lower utility bills might be at the top of your budgeting to-do list

According to ApartmentList, the typical renter spends around $100 to $150 per month on utilities. For homeowners, the average monthly cost climbs to around $320

If you’re trying to save money or pay down debt, then cutting utility costs can help free up some much-needed extra cash. 

Take a look at these tips to help you lower your utility costs.

Save on Heating and Cooling

Running the A/C all summer and the heat all winter can take a toll on your wallet but here are some ways to keep more cash in your pocket. 

1. Invest in a smart thermostat: Smart thermostats can be set to adjust temperature automatically, based on a schedule you set. 

“When you can set your thermostat for waking, leaving, returning and sleep you should be able to consistently set a lower temp during the times when you don’t need to keep your home warmer,” says Ryan Guina, founder of The Military Wallet and Cash Money Life

According to Energy Star, a programmable thermostat can save you up to 10% per year in energy costs. 

2. Use ceiling fans: Ceiling fans can help redistribute warm or cold air throughout your home, meaning your thermostat doesn’t have to work as hard and your electric bill shrinks. They can also take the pressure off your HVAC system, which can help it last longer so you don’t have to replace it as often.

3. Seal leaks around windows and doors : Caulking leaks around windows and doors is a quick fix that can cost $30 or less and save you anywhere from 10% to 20% on energy costs

It makes no sense to crank the heat or AC when your home has air leaks, which is pretty much the same as throwing money out the window,” says Michael Outar, owner of Savebly

4. Heat and cool strategically: According to Brian Stoddard, director at Homewares Insider, the best strategy for managing utility costs is to avoid heating or cooling unused rooms.

“Firmly shut the doors and make sure there’s no draft or a possibility of the heat or air-conditioned air spreading inside them,” he says.  You can also close off vents in those rooms and close blinds to prevent air from escaping. 

5. Service your system regularly: A simple strategy for how to lower utility bills is to make sure your heating and cooling unit is in good working order. Changing the air filters monthly, clearing away leaves or other debris from around the outside unit, and servicing your HVAC system in the spring and fall can help keep it running efficiently. 

6. Choose energy-efficient upgrades: Heating and cooling systems aren’t built to last forever and if it’s time to replace yours, choose your new model wisely. “Air conditioners, particularly older ones, can use a significant amount of energy,” says Glenn Wiseman, sales manager at Top Hat Home Comfort Services

“Energy Star estimates you can save 20% on cooling costs by replacing your central AC unit if it’s more than 10 years old.” 

Save on Electricity Bills

Wondering how to cut an electric bill in half? Or at the very least, spend less on powering your apartment or home? Give these money-saving measures a try. 

1. Trade out old lightbulbs: A simple way to save money on your light bill is to simply switch to energy-saving light bulbs, Outar says.

“It’s an upfront investment that will save you money for years to come.” 

2. Make sure to turn your lights off: Remember how your mom always told you to shut off the lights when leaving a room? The same principle applies now.  “If you want to save on your electrical bills, turn off your lights! If you’re not home, nothing should be on,”  says Ashley Peeling, regional marketing manager at CLV Group

Another bonus tip: Always unplug your phone or laptop once it’s done charging. 

3. Lower the temperature on the water heater: If your hot water heater is powered by electricity, you could save a few dollars on your bill by reducing the temperature. This means less power is used to heat the water in the tank. Another option is to choose a tankless hot water heater instead, which can be 24% to 34% more energy-efficient than a traditional hot water heater. 

4.Check the temperature on the refrigerator : Setting your fridge temp too low can cause it to work overtime, running up your electric bill in the process. Instead, set the temp to the ideal range of 35 to 38 degrees Fahrenheit


Water Bill Savings Tips

Water keeps your dishes and clothes clean, not to mention keeping you hydrated. But, it can eat up a chunk of your utility budget. 

So, last but not least, let’s take a look at how to save money on a water bill. 

1. Take shorter showers: Baths can be a water-waster but so can showers if you’re lounging under the stream for 10, 20 or 30 minutes at a time. A simple fix for how to save money on water bills?  “Take shorter showers and don’t let the water run while you’re either brushing your teeth or shaving,” Peeling says. 

2. Cut water use in the kitchen: If you normally do dishes in the sink with the water running, turn off the tap and consider using the dishwasher instead. Make sure you’re running full loads so you’re minimizing water use as much as possible. 

3. Opt for low-flow fixtures faucets: Leaving your faucet or showerhead running can waste water, even when you’re taking a shower at lightning speed. Opting for low-flow fixtures is more efficient. 

“They use less water than traditional faucets and showerheads, which will save you money,” Outar says. 

4. Batch laundry and skip the hot water cycle: Instead of doing laundry whenever the mood strikes, pick one day a week to clean your clothes. Run full loads only and use high-efficiency detergent, which can help your machine run more efficiently and get your laundry cleaner. And of course, skip the warm or hot water cycle and only wash clothes in cold or cool water instead. 

What Will You Do With the Money You Saved on Utility Bills?

If you’re using these tips to slash your heating, cooling, power or water bills, don’t let the money you’re saving go to waste. Tuck it away in a savings account until you’re ready to use it for one of your financial goals. 

Rebecca Lake has been writing about personal finance and business for nearly a decade. Her work has been featured on, Credit Karma, Credit Sesame, and other personal finance sites.

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