Utilities are essential for any home, and the costs can quickly add up. Between everyday activities like bathing, laundry, cooking, and turning on your lights, it’s impossible to avoid paying for these services.
When looking to save money, your utilities are a great place to start, especially if you're a community that provides paid utilities. To help you get started, we're sharing some tips you can implement today to help you reduce your usage and payments!
Laundry is a necessity, and it is also one of the largest contributors to a utility bill. To cut down the costs of this routine, we recommend first washing your items using cold water. The water heater won't be needed to warm the water, allowing you to use less electricity.
For items that require warm to hot water, consider lowering the temperature of the water heater. Per the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT), “for every 10 degrees of [temperature] reduction, you can save 3-5% in energy costs.” While 130-140 degrees Fahrenheit is acceptable, the PUCT suggests reducing the temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit to be the most effective.
Lastly, look to maximize the size loads of laundry you're doing. Running multiple small loads of laundry will use more electricity and water, inflating your utility bill.
Use the natural elements
For those that live in a cooler climate, consider opening your windows to take advantage of the lower temperatures and breeze. This will bring fresh air into your home, and you won’t need to constantly run your air conditioner or fans, which will save on utility costs.
Another way you can use less energy is by spending more time outside! The warmer months are the perfect time to gather everyone together and grill a nice meal. This way, you won’t need to use electricity by turning on your stovetop or oven, and your appliances won't heat your home, causing you to need to lower your thermostat.
Negotiate with providers
Another way you can work to lower your utility costs is to speak directly to your utility company. Many companies offer discounts that you, your family, or your community may qualify for. By inquiring about what options they have available, you could save big on future utility bills!
Additionally, you can see if they have any specials or programs that will help you save money. For instance, many providers offer a level billing program that will keep your costs more predictable and manageable year-round. This way, you can pay a lower amount during your high-cost months, then make it up with higher payments during the months your bill is typically lower.
Generally, the easiest money-saving actions are those that you can make part of your daily routine! For instance, unplugging devices and appliances when not in use can help avoid using excess energy. You can close the doors and vents in rooms of your home that aren't usually occupied (e.g. guest room). This way, you can air condition the rest of your home while not spending excess energy on cooling rooms that are not in use.
Also, make sure to replace your air conditioner filters every 45 to 90 days. This will ensure that dirt and debris aren’t obstructing the airflow, forcing your cooling system to work harder to keep your home at a comfortable temperature.
Utilities are a necessary part of living, but they don’t have to put a strain on your finances. When you use the natural resources to your advantage, savvily negotiate with utility providers, and practice mindful conservation, you can live comfortably at home with some extra spending money in your pocket!