No one wants to throw money away, especially when your budget is tight. If you’re looking to make your monthly paycheck last longer and save some money, start with your energy bill. Energy bills, including gas and electricity, can be pricey, especially when the Texas heat has you cranking up your AC in the summertime. Energy bills are definitely a necessity—you need lights to see and gas to cook and have warm water in your home. But there are a few tricks and tips to save money on energy bills that anyone can follow.
Heating and Cooling
Heating and cooling your home are probably your highest utility bills. To reduce how much you’re using (and spending) to heat and cool your home, try these tips to save money on your energy bills.
1. Shade Your Windows
In the heat of summer, do everything you can to reduce how much you have to run your AC without sacrificing your comfort. One way to do this is by investing in blackout curtains. The curtains will block the heat and light of the sun and keep your home a few degrees cooler, so the AC doesn’t have to work as hard. In the winter, open the curtains wide to let the sun naturally warm your home.
2. Invest in Ceiling Fans
Running a ceiling fan to circulate air is cheaper than keeping your AC going on all day. Consider adding a few fans to your home to keep summer temperatures down indoors without cranking up the AC.
3. Adjust the Thermostat
You can still be comfortable in the winter or summer by making a small adjustment to your thermostat. Setting your thermostat even one degree warmer in summer and one degree cooler in winter can result in cost savings. There’s no need to freeze or overheat your household, but you can make small adjustments by wearing shorts and T-shirts inside in the summer and bundling up in sweatpants and blankets in the winter to make up for changes in the thermostat.
If everyone in your household will be away during the day, adjust the thermostat before you leave so that the AC or heater isn’t working too hard while you’re gone. A smart thermostat will make adjustments like this automatically.
4. Check Seals
Check the seals on your windows and doors to make sure cool air doesn’t escape in the summer and warm air stays in place in the winter.
5. Change the Filters
Change the filters on your furnace and air conditioner to ensure these systems are operating as efficiently as possible. Consider having an HVAC professional inspect your ductwork for any leaks or problems, so your heater and AC don’t have to work harder than necessary to keep you comfortable.
Heating up water is the second highest energy cost in a household, according to the US Department of Energy. Cut down on these costs by being careful with the use of hot water in your house. Try these tricks.
6. Take Shorter Showers
Start by cutting just one or two minutes off the time you spend in the shower to save on the costs of heating water.
7. Replace Your Showerhead
Energy-efficient showerheads can reduce water usage—and make water heating more efficient. Look for a showerhead with a WaterSense label.
8. Adjust the Temperature on Your Water Heater
Lower the default temperature on your water heater to 120 degrees. That will cap how hot your water will get. That temperature is still warm enough for your hot showers, but will reduce your water heating costs overall. When you go out of town, turn the water heater to its lowest setting.
The big appliances in your home—fridge, washer and dryer, dishwasher—make modern life more convenient. They also require plenty of energy, electricity, and hot water to work. Try these tips to save money on energy bills from appliance use.
9. Upgrade to Energy-Efficient Models
Most of us can’t run out and upgrade every appliance. But if your dishwasher or washing machine is on the fritz anyway, upgrade it to an energy-efficient model. These models are designed to use less energy and water so they can do their jobs and save you money on energy bills.
10. Avoid Washing Laundry in Hot Water
When washing your clothes in the washing machine, turn your settings to warm or cold only. Don’t use hot water when doing your laundry. Cold water is better for your clothes, anyway.
11. Reduce Drying
Drying in the dishwasher and dryer can use up a lot of energy and electricity. Turn the dry cycle off on your dishwasher and dry the dishes by hand. Line dry your clothes inside or outside if possible.
12. Reset Refrigerator Temperatures
To keep your food fresh and your refrigerators at optimum efficiency, set the freezer temperature between 0 and 5 degrees and the fridge to 38 degrees. Another tip for an efficient fridge? Pack the food in there: a full fridge and freezer stay well insulated and can maintain the set temperature without working as hard.
Lamps and lightbulbs light your home day and night. While lighting isn’t your biggest expense, every little effort to conserve energy can help.
13. Switch to LED Lights
Upgrade all the light bulbs and lighting in your home to LED lights. LED lights are more efficient, and they last a long time, saving you money both on your energy bills and on replacing light bulbs.
14. Get Dimmer Switches
You’ve probably heard since childhood to turn off lights when you aren’t using them, and that guideline holds true with saving energy. Another trick is to use dimmer switches and set the lights as dim as possible so you can still see but reduce how much energy goes into powering your light bulbs.
These tips to save money on energy bills will help you start seeing some savings on your utility expenses each month. You can put this extra money toward paying off debts or building an emergency fund. Don’t stress about making every little change at once—every bit of energy conservation helps the environment and your wallet.