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Simple Tips To Cut The Cost Of Your Utility Bills

Household natural gas usage in Colorado Springs

Creative Commons License photo credit: pmsyyz

With utility bills constantly going up, there is not much you can do about the rates, but you can be creative about conserving energy, and cutting the usage cost of your everyday appliances, and lighting, plus doing some comparison shopping when planning to purchase major appliances.

Here are some tips on saving energy and cutting the cost of utility bills throughout the year, and during Christmas time:

  1. Washer and Dryer
    • Use warm water for washing and cold for rinsing, or cold for both cycles.
    • Install clothes lines in your garage or basement to semi-dry heavy clothing, then completing it in the dryer to cut drying time in half
    • Hang-dry permanent press items on hangers on a clothes line
  2. Hot Water Heater
    • Lower the water temperature to 120 degrees or less
    • Wrap an energy saver blanket around your tank, and hot water pipes (this will save you $10-$20 per year)
  3. Shower
    • Take showers rather then tub baths
    • Limit shower time and water flow
    • Install water-flow controller in the pipe at the showerhead to save on hot water
  4. Countertop Appliances & Computers
    • Unplug these appliances after each use (this will save energy, and prevent possible electrical fire)
    • Turn off the main water supply valve when going away for an extended period of time, to prevent flooding in case a pipe bursts, or washer hose cracks
    • Turn off your computer when not in use. Computer that runs 24/7 may easily increase your energy bill by $35/month.
  5. Light Bulbs
    • Replace your standard incandescent light bulbs with the energy saver fluorescent ones (three 60 watts bulbs will save you about $141 in energy cost over their lifetime, and they last 10 times longer, also investing in LED bulbs will save you even more).
    • Use halogen bulbs for outdoor and some indoor lighting (these use 25% less energy)
    • Install solid-state dimmers when appropriate
  6. Heat Registers, Doors & Windows
    • Cover up your heat registers, in unused rooms, with magnetic mats to keep heat from entering the room
    • Keep doors closed to unused rooms
    • Prevent under door draft by placing a rolled up towel, or blanket under the doors
    • Winterize you entry doors, and all windows, by caulking and weather-stripping (this will save you 10% or more on your annual energy usage
    • Replace any cracked window panes, and install storm windows
    • Attach a weather-strip at the bottom of the double-hung windows for a tighter fit, and to cut down on draft and loss of heat/cool air
    • Install storm doors wherever possible (front, back, and side entries)
  7. Oven
    • I takes only 10 minutes to preheat your over to the desired temperature
    • Space you baking and preparations time accordingly
    • Utilize already hot oven from baking for other food preparation (casseroles, roasts, etc)
  8. Dishwasher
    • Air dry your dishes rather than heat dry
    • Run your dishwasher when full
    • Select proper wash cycle setting, according to your load
  9. Iron
    • Do your ironing in batches, avoid piecemeal ironing
    • Start with light weight fabrics first, then gradually increase the temperature for heavier items
  10. Timers
    • Install timers for outdoor lighting (front and back of the house)
    • Have a timer in at least one room for security reasons when you are away
    • Set a timer for your outdoor and indoor Christmas decorations

When shopping for new appliances, pay attention to their energy saving labels, to calculate your energy saving. When landscaping, strategically plant shade trees around your house, which can save you at least $80 annually on your electric bill. For additional energy saving tips you can always contact your energy provider in your area, or visit their web site.

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