It’s been reported that the average American family spends $1,600 a year on their utilities. This money may be spent on essential services such as gas and electricity, but that is still a lot of money that not everyone can afford to spend. Fortunately, there are some simple things that you can do to lower your utility bills and cut that sum down to something more manageable.
Unplug Your Electronics
Computers, televisions, tablets and many other modern electronics continue to use electricity even after you’ve hit the power button and turned them off. More often than not, they’re in standby mode when they’re not in use. They may not use as much electricity in this mode, but if you have several electronic devices in your home that are all plugged in the amount of energy they use quickly adds up. Whenever you’re not using your electronics, make sure to unplug them after you turn them off. If you have too many devices and can’t remember to keep them all unplug, invest in a Smart Strip. This is a power strip that automatically cuts the power to any device not currently in use.
Seal Off Gaps on the Outside of Your Home
Gaps and leaks that let in drafts are common in homes, especially if you haven’t replaced your windows recently. Homes lose heat quickly through these gaps, necessitating turning on your furnace and running it at a higher temperature more often. This can put a strain in your heating bill in the winter, so make sure you seal off any gaps with weather stripping and caulk. These materials are relatively inexpensive, and they will save you money in the long run.
Use Fans in the Summer
Ceiling fans don’t technically lower the temperature in the room, but it does circulate the air to make it feel cooler. Turning on a ceiling fan or two can help keep you from turning on your air conditioner on a hot day, especially if you open a few windows first.
Switch to Compact-Fluorescent Bulbs
Compact-fluorescent bulbs give off light that is brighter than traditional light bulbs, yet they last ten times as long and use 75 percent less energy. These bulbs do cost more when they are purchased, but once again they will save you money on the long run when they lower your utility bill.
Repair or Upgrade Your Appliances
Older or damaged appliances are inefficient and use much more energy than newer models. You can have your appliances repaired, but that is often a temporary fix. If you want to lower your energy bill, it’s best to buy newer models, especially those with the Energy Star label.
Invest in a Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat can allow you to program your furnace or air conditioner based on your family’s schedule. These thermostats cost as little as $25, yet they improve the efficiency of your furnace and can save you as much as $180 a year on your energy bill.
Turn off The Lights
You should already be in the habit of turning off the lights when you leave a room, but you’d be surprised at how little you need to use your lights on a sunny day. Open the curtains and rely on natural sunlight whenever you can.
This article was contributed by Billy Dunham, a home improvement expert who hopes to help you have an even better home. He writes this on behalf of Tara Energy, a preferred provider of electricity in Houston. Check out their website today and see how they can help you!