Today more than ever, consumers are looking for ways to cut spending and one of the easiest ways to do that is to reduce utility bills. The following are 11 ways to easily lower utility costs by making simple set-and-forget changes that will continue to provide savings for years to come. Not only that, but many of them will improve comfort at home and help to save the environment at the same time.
1) Switch to fluorescent bulbs. Compact fluorescent bulbs are far more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs and put out less heat, which means lower utility bills. They do cost more upfront, but they also last much longer and over time that translates into additional savings.
2) Install a programmable thermostat. Most people spend at least a part of their day away from home, so there is no need to run their AC or heat while they are gone. Using a programmable thermostat allows the AC or heat to automatically cut off while consumers are gone, and come back on in time to warm up or cool down the house when they get home.
3) Place a jug of water in the toilet tank. This one may sound strange, but putting a sealed jug or jar in the toilet tank will displace water, which means less will be used for every flush.
4) Install low-flow showerheads. Some consumers hate them, but low-flow shower heads have improved to the point that they can still offer a great shower without wasting too much water.
5) Install aerator screens on all faucets. Aerator screens help to increase the apparent power of the stream of water coming out of the tap, which means consumers do not have to turn the water up as high.
6) Install a separate water meter for irrigation systems. In most cities, sewer bills are tied to water usage, therefore, it makes sense to have dual meters because only one of them (the one that feeds the house) will be billed for sewer service. This can result in significant savings during the summer when most of the water is not going down the drain.
7) Insulate attic access doors. Heat can leak from any un-insulated attic access doors, so be sure to insult them. Insulation is inexpensive and can be found at most hardware stores.
8) Balance the air vents. It may take some experimentation, but try to balance the air vents so that an even, comfortable temperature is achieved throughout the house, upstairs and down.
9) Install weather strips on all doors and windows. Hot and cold air can easily seep through the gaps under doors and around windows, forcing the AC or heat to run far longer and harder in order to maintain the temperature. Weather stripping is a quick, easy and inexpensive fix.
10) Insulate the garage door. In homes where there is a room above the garage, it helps to insulate the garage door so that it is easier to control the temperature of the room above.
11) Plant trees around the home. Although this is not a short-term solution, planting trees in strategic locations around the home can significantly reduce energy bills in the summer because they help to keep the home much cooler.