February 17, 2015
hand adjusting thermostat

With energy costs continually on the rise, you can try these money saving tips and put your utility bill on a diet!

Do an energy check every night:

If you tend to leave electronic devices, appliances, lights, or fans on while sleeping, you are wasting some serious money. Take the time to do a walk-through of your home and turn off all of your appliances and devices before you hit the sack. To put it into perspective, running one compact fluorescent lightbulb all night, every night for a year costs about $9. A conventional bulb will cost you around $21 for every light you leave on. Some other expensive mistakes include your ceiling fan ($35/year) and your TV ($55/year).

Get a better alternative for your home phone service:

Having a traditional landline can rack up a significant bill pretty quickly – from $120 to $400 per year. With the various fees, long distance costs, and taxes on top of your regular service fee, you can find yourself paying double or even triple what your bill is supposed to be. When you cut out your landline and get a better alternative you can save yourself a lot of money. Choose a Voice over IP (VoIP) phone service like a magicJackGO, which is only $35 per year, and watch your monthly phone bill disappear!

Get regular checkups for your heater and AC:

The largest energy consumer in your home is your air conditioning and heater unit. In the average household they make up as much as half of your utility bill. That’s a really good reason to make sure that these units are running at peak efficiency. Getting the system checked and cleaned annually by a professional will help keep your energy guzzler in good working order – and costing you less.

Don’t leave your thermostat at a steady temperature:

Leaving your thermostat at a steady temperature can shoot your energy costs through the roof. It may seem like a good idea to keep it at a steady temperature all the time, but this actually wastes money. By lowering the temperature in winter – and raising it in the summer when no one is at home, you can save quite a bit. It doesn’t cost nearly as much to bring the temp to your comfort level as it does to keep it going all the time when you aren’t home.

Or better yet, get a programmable thermostat:

A programmable thermostat will allow you to put your climate control on automatic. Set it to run less when no one is home and at a comfortable temp when they are. They are also great to have when you are on vacation or if you won’t be home for a few days. Some thermostats will even allow you to control them using your smartphone. Whatever kind you get, though, the EPA estimates that the average homeowner saves around $180 each year by using a programmable unit and using it properly.

Set your hot water heater to 120 degrees:

This is both a safety measure and a savings measure. According to the EPA, setting your hot water heater at a temperature of 140 degrees or higher can cost you an additional $36 to $61 every year due to standby heat losses. The heater is constantly trying to keep the water at that higher temp. Additionally, those high temperatures can cause painful burns.

Do your laundry at night:

Some power companies charge lower rates during what they call off-peak times. These discounts can translate into big savings for you if you do more of your power usage at night. Do things like wash clothes, run your dishwasher, and other tasks at night. You will see a difference in your utility bill. Check with your company and see if they offer discounts for off-peak times.

Buy products that are certified by Energy Star:

When the EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy teamed up to create the Energy Star label to identify energy efficient products, it was mainly on big ticket items that used a lot of energy. Now the list of things that Energy Star certifies has grown and includes televisions, lightbulbs, washing machines, and fans. The more Energy Star certified products you buy and use, the more money you will save in water and electricity costs.
What is your favorite tip for saving money on your energy bill? Have you tried any of these tips and seen a difference in your bill? Tell us about it in the comments below!