guide to saving money on your utility bills

Lowering your utility bills means conserving electricity and water. That means, of course, turning off lights when you’re not in rooms and only running water when you actually are using it. However, saving also means paying attention to and selecting the fixtures and equipment that heat or cool your home, wash clothes and dishes and are available for use in your bathrooms.

Heating and Cooling

On average, nearly 48 percent of energy usage comes from heating and cooling systems. For the typical household, roughly 45 cents of every $1.00 for the energy bills comes due to heating space. The less you run the HVAC, the more you can shave off of your utility bill.

When the weather turns cold, be sure you prevent the escape of warm air and the invasion of cold air by:

  • Close outside vents. This prevents cold air from coming into crawl spaces that can make floors cold.
  • Weatherstrip around windows and doors.
  • Check and, as necessary, replace insulation in the attic and especially underneath the house. Even small holes and cracks in the home can result in as much as a 25 percent loss of heat.
    *Seal air ducts.

With even small actions, you can reduce the running of the HVAC units. Open windows in cold months to allow natural light, and close them in the summer to keep out the sun’s heat. Use your ceiling fan to circulate air, with a counterclockwise spin to push down the warm air that otherwise would rise.

Consider a replacement HVAC if your current unit is more than twelve years old. With an EnergyStar-certified or labeled HVAC, you can reduce energy expenses by as much as 30 percent. Using your assets for a cash loan may help with your purchase. The equity in your home serves as one such potential asset for loan collateral.

Water

Water usage drives utility costs in two facets. You have a monthly bill from the water provider, and a hot water heater contributes to your cost of electricity. In fact, nearly 18 percent of the average household’s energy bill comes from water heater use.

To reduce the use of hot water or your water heater:

  • Wash clothes in cold water, if you can without ruining them.
  • Replace your old clothes washer with one that allows you to adjust water level and temperature for the load you are using.
  • Purchase an EnergyStar-labelled dishwasher or clothes washer.
  • Find a dishwasher that comes with booster heater. This device raises the water temperature to 140 degrees

Fahrenheit, which means you can lower the water heater settings.

  • Shower rather than bathe. When you choose a bath, you consume a considerable amount of water to fill a tub. The warm water will overtime cool, and you still might need to shower to rinse.

Good showering practices can lower water bills. Roughly 17 percent of water usage comes from taking showers. Standard showerheads use on average 2.5 gallons per minute. For a ten-minute shower, this translates to 25 gallons. With a showerhead that is labeled as “WaterSense,” you’re using no more than 2.0 gallons per minute.Further, avoid running the shower when you’re not in it and limit your showers if possible to five minutes.

Aside from showers, check your faucets (indoor and outdoor) for leaks. If you’re toilet keeps running after you have flushed, you might need a new fill valve or flapper. When you replace the valve kit or lever, make sure you have installed them so that the flapper completely seals the bottom of the tank.

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