Winter may be the time to get cozy by the fire and snuggle up with the kids. But it’s also the time when your monthly utilities can skyrocket and grind into your budget.
Now that we’re in the thick of the coldest season, chances are you’ve been watching your thermostat like a hawk and paying closer attention to which lights are on around the house. The good news is that there are many effective ways to trim your utility bills down during the winter season.
Adjust the settings on your water heater
Natural gas prices climb during the winter because of increased demand. That means your usual long, hot showers can end up costing more just when you need them most. Fortunately, you can fight back against increased natural gas prices in two ways.
First, adjust the setting of your water heater down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This will help to reduce the expense of heating your water.
Second, insulate your water pipes or any pipe designed to transport treated drinking water. Your water heater needs to work harder to heat up cold water. Insulating your pipes helps to keep them from freezing and also helps to keep the water in the pipes from losing heat on their way to your shower or faucet.
Store cold water in the fridge
When you keep a pitcher of water in the fridge, you can save time and reduce water waste because you don’t need to wait for your tap water to go from lukewarm to icy cold. You don’t need a specialized water pitcher, either. While some homeowners use water filters, some filtered water pitchers can actually contain 10,000 times the bacteria count as tap water.
Wastewater treatment plants help to keep tap water clean and clear. Up to 60% of the energy used in wastewater treatment plants is dedicated just to the aeration process, which degrades organic matter. That said, you don’t need to sweat your tap water and you can keep it refrigerated so you don’t have to sweat your water bill, either.
Turn off your faucet between uses
You’d be surprised by how much water you use when you’re not actually using it. In fact, the average family can waste up to 180 gallons of water in one week.
Water waste often happens when you’re not paying attention. For instance, many people leave the water running when they brush their teeth twice a day or when they’re scrubbing dishes. To reduce both water waste and your water bill, consider turning off the faucet whenever there’s a lull in rinsing something. Only turn on the water when you actually need it.
Be wary of your vacuum
When you have kids and a messy house, your vacuum cleaner might feel like your best friend. But some vacuum cleaners can actually be power-suckers that kick your energy bill up higher than it ought to be.
According to Apartment Therapy, certain Dyson vacuum cleaners can use up to 1,400 watts when they’re operating. That can get pricy if you’re vacuuming more than twice a week. If you can’t afford a more energy-efficient vacuum cleaner right now, consider spot cleaning in-between vacuum sessions with dry foam carpet cleaning, which absorbs dirt and has zero drying time.
Invest in energy-efficient appliances
It’s no secret that maintenance is crucial. Machinery maintenance and heavy equipment repair services brought in $29 billion in the last 10 years. Regular maintenance and repair ensure that appliances stay energy-efficient and working effectively.
But if your appliances are on the older side and they’re not up to today’s energy standards, you could be paying a lot out of pocket even with a regular maintenance schedule. When you’re replacing an appliance, make sure to keep the new appliance’s size, energy-saving settings, design, power source, and Energy Star label in mind.
Your utility bills can pack a punch at any time of the year when you’re not expecting major costs. These strategies can help you reduce your utility bills and save money throughout the year without making too big an effort.