Utility bills add up to an average of $1,900 for most families in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Lowering your utility bills gives you more money in the budget for other expenses while benefiting the environment by conserving fossil fuels. Some energy-reducing strategies are simple to begin immediately, while others take some time and upfront investment.
Washing machines and dishwashers get a lot of use in the average home, especially with young kids. Efficient use of these appliances saves on your energy bill. Wait until you have a full load before running either appliance. If you need to wash a small load of laundry, adjust the machine’s load level to match. Lowering the home’s water heater means washing your dishes or laundry on hot won’t take as much energy. A cold wash cycle for laundry saves more energy.
Search for Leaks
Leaks in the home waste energy, driving up your utility bill. By searching for and sealing leaks, you lower your overall costs by reducing energy use. Check around windows and doors to find drafts. Heating and cooling duct work in the home might also leak air, causing the system to work more to keep the home at the correct temperature. A window air conditioner left in year-round is likely to cause drafts during the winter months. Cracks, holes or lack of insulation around light fixtures, plumbing, walls, ceilings, foundations and other structural parts of the home also allow leaking, which decreases the energy efficiency of the home.
Older homes are less likely to have adequate insulation, which means less energy efficiency overall. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, about 80 percent of homes built before 1980 lack proper insulation. The attic is a key location for insulation in the home. The walls are another common place to add insulation. You might also need to insulate any crawl spaces in the home, which are not heated or cooled and can affect the rooms beside and above them. Insulating the basement also helps keep the rest of the house more comfortable.
Upgrading your appliances means you’re spending money upfront, but over time you’ll save on your utility bills. More efficient appliances also make chores easier. For example, an older clothes dryer usually takes longer to dry a load of laundry. This makes laundry washing more drawn out and may cause a backup of clean clothes waiting to be dried. With a more efficient dryer, the clothes get done faster so you can tackle that mountain of dirty clothes faster. Look for the EnergyStar label when purchasing new appliances.
Policing all energy consumption in the home is difficult for one person. Instead, get the whole family involved in lowering the energy bill. Brainstorm ways to keep the costs low, such as shutting off lights and unplugging charging cords. Turn it into a game to see who can be the most energy efficient around the home. This places the responsibility on everyone and teaches your kids how to be more eco-friendly.