Your eyes are not deceiving you; your energy bill has gone up. According to the Consumer Index Report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the price of energy services (including electric and other utilities) has gone up by 13.7% compared to this time last year. Luckily, there are a few ways to lower your utility bills this summer that you may not have already implemented. With a little bit of creativity, a little bit of attention, and a little bit of compromise, you can get your bill down to a more reasonable level.
Don’t use too much soap. When doing a load of laundry, make sure you’re not overdoing it with the detergent. Not only will it make your washer work harder, but it may require a second wash to remove excess soap. If you locate your washer’s serial number, you can look up the machine’s specs and see exactly how much detergent the manufacturer recommends using because you’re probably using too much.
Clean your fridge and freezer doors. The idea here is to remove any dirt/grime that could be obstructing your fridge or freezer door from closing all of the way. If there is any sort of space for the cool air to escape, it’s going to force the fridge or freezer to work harder to maintain its temperature, ultimately driving up your bill. Take a paper towel and a soap that doesn’t leave a residue and give those doors a quick wipe down.
Check the air-conditioning filters, especially if you have pets. Your air-conditioner is really the big ticket item when it comes to inflated energy bills in the summertime. That’s why you have to do your due diligence and check the filters frequently, especially if you’re a pet owner. A clogged filter will make the machine work less efficiently, ultimately hurting your comfort and your pocket. A new filter isn’t particularly expensive, and will save you quite a bit in the long run.
Use the microwave oven, stove, grill, or toaster instead of the oven. According to Alabama Power, these small appliances use about a third of the power compared to an oven broiler. Not only that, they don’t fill up the home with heat the same way the oven does, thus forcing the air conditioning to work harder to maintain a set temperature. I’m not saying you shouldn’t use your oven this summer, just know that picking your times (such as in the evening or on cooler days) could save you some energy costs.
Hang laundry outside to dry. Since your dryer needs heat to perform its duty, it ends up being one of the more costly appliances to run. If possible, hang laundry outside while the sun is out to dry your clothes. If you choose to do so, just make sure you’re doing it correctly. But if you do opt for the dryer…
Remove clothes promptly from the dryer and hang them carefully. We’ve all been guilty of throwing clothes in the dryer and forgetting about them after they’re finished. Then you end up opening the dryer door and seeing a wrinkled mess, forcing you to either 1) run the dryer a bit longer or 2) break out the ironing board. Both of these options will contribute to a higher utility bill; you can nip this in the bud by paying a little bit attention to when your clothes are finished.
Reconsider washing and rinsing dishes by hand. Washing dishes by hand is a noble goal, but ultimately foolish. It’s well documented that it’s less economical to wash your dishes by hand as opposed to throwing them in the dishwasher. Congrats, you just got a half an hour of your day back.
Make sure heating outlets and return air vents aren’t blocked by furniture. Your vents are doing an important job of circulating air through the home to regulate temperature. If they’re blocked by furniture or curtains, you’re impacting their ability to function, thus affecting your utility bill in the long run. Consider rearranging your furniture if your vents are blocked; you might even feel like you’ve just redecorated.
Install motion sensor lights. We’re all human; sometimes we forget to turn the lights off when we leave the room. Luckily for us, technology exists to make up for this natural human shortcoming. Installing motion sensor lights saves energy, and therefore money, by turning off once you’ve left the room. Whatever you spend on the cost of purchasing them will be recouped by the money you save on your bill. Pair these with some LED light bulbs, and you’re in business.
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