After a home mortgage or rent, the average household’s second major expense category is their utility bills. Adding up the electric bill, gas/oil bill, water/sewer bill, cable/satellite bill, internet and phones bills for a month can sometimes even surpass the amount of the mortgage or rent. So, taking a hard look at utility bills and finding ways to cut back on your usage or change some of your habits can result in savings. I love saving money and a lot of the tips about utilities, especially electricity, are very easy to convert into actions.
First, think about how your household uses electricity and what percentage of your electric bill is used for these major categories compared to an average American homeowner, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency:
29% - Home Heating
17% - Air Conditioning
14% - Water Heater
13% - Kitchen and Laundry Appliances
12% - Lighting
4% - Electronics
11% - Other
Even adjusting for extreme climates, on average, if you add together the home heating and air conditioning costs, you will see that is almost half of your entire yearly electric bill. So here are a couple of things you can do to cut back on your heating and cooling costs:
Choose Your Electric Company and Service Plan Wisely. If you live in a deregulated state, you have the added advantage of shopping for your electric service provider. You can shop online to compare electric rates, plans, and terms and might save as much as 20% on your total electric bill by changing companies. Whether you have lived in Texas all your life or are planning to move to Texas sometime soon, deregulation has given residents a great opportunity to save money on electric bills through the Power To Choose TX.
Annual Tune-ups. Keep your heating and cooling system maintained with annual inspections. Repair any issues as quickly as possible to keep your equipment functioning at maximum efficiency. Many companies offer special pricing for this important task about 1 month before peak demand and this gives you a heads up on any problems that might arise later in the season.
Change the air filter regularly. The absolute minimum for changing the air filter is every 3 months, but most heating and cooling professionals recommend changing the filter monthly. Air filters are inexpensive when you buy them in bulk at the hardware store. A clean filter helps keep dust and dirt from clogging up your system, which makes it work harder and waste electricity. You might want to check into a permanent air filter which only needs to be hosed off regularly and then re-inserted rather than going into the trash.
Use a Programmable Thermostat. If you are handy with DIY projects, you can buy a programmable thermostat for as little as $25 and install it yourself. But if you need a pro, have the heating and cooling technician install if for you when they come for the tune up. Properly programmed, you can save about $180 per year – so you get your money back from that expense the very first year!
These tips are just a start for conserving energy and saving money on electricity in your home. What are some of your ideas for saving on your utilities?
Disclosure: Consideration was received for the editing and publishing of this guest post