Every month, there’s one particular piece of mail we never welcome – the utility bill. Opening that bill is like watching the last 30 seconds of a tied football game; you’ll either be pleasantly surprised or downright disgusted. And while you’ll never see a time when that bill comes in stating zero due, there are certain things you can do to increase the efficiency of your home. Here are 10 simple things you can start doing today that will make an immediate impact on the amount of your next utility bill.
1. Clean Coils on the Refrigerator
Over time, the fridge’s coils become covered, caked, and clogged with dust, hair and debris. This causes the refrigerator to work twice as hard to keep your food cold. Pull the fridge from the wall and use your vacuum to get that gunk out of there.
2. Use the Cold Wash Cycle
Research shows that clothes washed on the cold cycle come out just as clean as clothes washed on the warm cycle. The big difference? You can save up to $100 a year by using cold water.
3. Use the Dryer Wisely
Avoid over-filling the dryer with a huge load of wet clothes. Not only do they come out a wrinkled mess, but they take forever to dry, forcing your utility bill skyward. On warm, low humidity days, line dry the clothes and then fluff them in the dryer for just a few minutes.
4. Change the Filter on the Furnace
When the weather turns colder and you’re using your furnace more often, it’s recommended to change the filter monthly. A clogged filter will cause the furnace blower to work extra hard to get that warm air throughout the home.
5. Maintain the Water Heater
Apply specially designed water heater insulation over the tank to help prevent heat loss. Also, by draining a bucketful of water from your tank a couple of times a year, you’ll remove any accumulated sediment which can negatively affect the water heater’s efficiency.
6. Maximize Your Bathroom’s Efficiency
Between the toilet and the shower head, your energy savings are going down the drain, literally. Replace your shower head with a high-efficiency model and replace your old toilet for one that is rated low-flow. These two simple things will help to cut your hot water use by 50% and save over 4,000 gallons of water per year.
7. Weather Stripping
If it’s been a while since you checked the weather stripping around your doors and windows, it’s time to do it. Installing some fresh weather-stripping will help increase your home’s efficiency by up to 30%.
8. Install Low-energy Lighting
Replace heat-producing incandescent light bulbs with cooler, lower energy CFLs (compact fluorescents). Your lamps will glow brighter and cost you less. During the holiday season, toss out your old holiday string lights and replace them with cool, bright LEDs. This simple change will save you over $10 in electricity use over a single season.
9. Move the Thermostat
If your thermostat is located on an outside wall or near a door or window, drafts may be causing your furnace to run more often than it should. Consider moving your thermostat to an inside wall where it won’t be affected by drafts.
10. Use Your Window Blinds Wisely
On colder days, open your window blinds, curtains, or shades to allow solar heat into the home. It may not seem like it, but the home will be warmer as a result. But, when night time comes, close them to help keep that warmth from escaping.