When you think about saving on your electric, gas, and water bills, you probably think about conserving energy. Turning out the lights when you leave the room and taking more baths instead of showers are the tried and true ways to help the environment and reduce the monthly cost of your utility bills. But there are many other steps you should be taking to find out how much energy and dollars you might be wasting. The U.S. Department of Energy claims the average family in the United States pays close to $2,000 a year on utilities. If you find your family is struggling with bills, these are a few smart things to try.
1. Check Insulation and Leaks
Most people can save on their bills simply by increasing insulation in the home or replacing old insulation as soon as possible. Home insulation, usually made of fiberglass or cellulose fiber, keeps your walls and ceilings warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer months. Faults with your insulation can cost you as much as 30 percent more on your utility bills, the same with holes and leaks in your doors and windows, which can be letting in too much air from outside and changing the temperature of the house. If you’re serious about improving your insulation, you can have a contractor do an inspection, which should be mandatory if you’re thinking about upgrading your heating or cooling systems.
2. Change Your Water Habits
Not only will using less water help you save on your water bill, thinking about the ways in which you use hot water can save on gas. Of the energy used to run a washing machine, 90 percent goes to heating the water. Research by Treehugger suggests that washing your clothes in hot water for a year is the equivalent of burning 182 gallons of gasoline – a huge waste of energy and money! When you do use hot water, make sure your hot water heater is insulated, especially if it’s older. When it comes to bathing, conservationists might tell you to take more baths, but you can install low-flow showerheads which make up most of the difference.
3. Think About Shopping Around
Not every state has deregulated utilities, but a majority of them have at least partial regulation, which means you could have more choices when it comes to purchasing electricity, gas, water, and telephone. Smaller utility companies can offer competitive pricing and options for low-consumption energy packages that are better for the environment and cost a lot less. It’s important to contact your state agency to see whether you can take advantage of the right to shop around where you live.
With mortgage payments and rental costs sky high, it’s worth it to be able to conserve as much money as you can on your bills every month. You might think some methods of saving energy don’t make sense for you, but there are plenty which are logical and practical for everyone. Not only will you cut the cost of utilities, you’ll also be getting the most out of your home and making it greener. Smart choices like these could be the wave of the future.
About the Author: Jack Shields believes saving energy and money are equally important so he shopped Utilities Direct for a more affordable utility company.