The article below is one of the many in our Finally Home! Homeowner’s Toolkit, which was created to help homeowners on a variety of topics. The toolkit is a great guide for new homeowners as well as seasoned homeowners, and includes topics such as staying current on your mortgage, refinancing, insurance, budgeting and home maintenance.
The toolkit is free to anyone who has completed the Finally Home! Homebuyer Education course. If you are considering buying a home, check out Finally Home! today. It’s the key to successful homeownership.
No matter where you live, there are changes you can make that can reduce your overall utility bills and save you money.
- Ensure your vents and ductwork are clear of lint. Regular cleaning will optimize your dryer’s performance and can shorten your drying time.
- Add wool balls to your dryer to shorten your drying time by 30-50 percent.
- Air dry whenever you can. Hanging laundry outside or on a drying rack saves energy by not using a dryer.
- Wash in cold water: Washing in cold water can cut energy consumption by more than half when compared to washing in hot water. Another benefit to washing in cold: It can extend the life of your clothing.
Heating and cooling
- Install a programmable thermostat: Adjusting your thermostat up or down, depending on when you are home or asleep, can make a big difference in energy savings. Using a programmable thermostat takes the guesswork out of the process. Some newer thermostats can even learn your schedule to make the adjustments as easy as possible.
- Use ceiling fans wherever possible: Circulating cold air in the summer and warm air in the winter can keep you comfortable without needing to blast your HVAC system.
- Clean or replace your HVAC filter monthly: This will allow your HVAC system to work more efficiently.
Smart upgrades around the house
- Replace your light bulbs: Upgrade your light bulbs to LED or CFL bulbs. These bulbs last longer than traditional incandescent light bulbs and use far less electricity. You don’t need to change all your bulbs at the same time, but changing as the old ones burn out will pay off over time.
- Replace your appliances: When it comes time to replace your household appliances, consider upgrading to energy efficient appliances. These will save you on energy costs and could qualify for a tax break.
- Replace old, drafty windows: Replacing your windows with new energy efficient windows can prevent heat and cooling loss.
- Seal air gaps around the home: Replacing worn-out weather stripping around doors and windows can reduce heating and cooling loss. Caulk and seal gaps, including around pipes and outlets to further reduce air loss.
- Consider planting native or drought-friendly plants to reduce the need for additional watering.
- Hardscaping, including decks and patios, that reduce the footprint of greenspace will also reduce your water bill.
- Plant trees and shrubs to provide shade. Properly planted trees can reduce air conditioning costs by 30% and can save 20-50% in the energy used for heating.
Help from utility providers
- Your utility providers may have programs that allow you to take advantage of time-based pricing or provide rebates for upgrading to energy-efficient products.
- Your utility provider may provide an energy audit at a low cost. An energy audit can determine problem spots and can provide tips for reducing your energy consumption.