If your most recent utilities bills have left your wallet empty, there are many practical ways that you can save on electricity and water. It’s easy to unknowingly waste water and electricity.
A report by People Water reveals that the average American’s lifestyle uses up 2,000 gallons of water a day, which is twice the global average.
To reduce your footprint and save yourself some money in the process, here are the ways that you can decrease your use and shrink your utility bills right now.
Some of the causes of high electricity bills may surprise you. One of the leading causes of power drain comes in the form of appliances left plugged in when they aren’t in use.
According to Spark Energy, 10 percent of the average American’s yearly power bill is spent on appliances such as computers, laptops, televisions and stereos that are left plugged in when not in use. Chargers for tablets and other mobile devices draw power even when they aren’t charging anything, and many household electronics draw power to remain in standby mode even when they are “off.”
One trick to dealing with these power leeches is to plug them all into surge protectors that you can switch off when you aren’t using the devices. This way, you can turn off your stereo, television, and DVD player all at once and be sure they aren’t drawing power and increasing your electric bill passively.
Energy Thirsty Appliances
Some appliances use a tremendous amount of power, even when they aren’t doing much. Washing machines, dryers, and dishwashers all use the same amount of power whether they are loaded to the brim or not, so be sure to utilize them to their fullest potential every time you turn them on.
Home Water Works reports that anywhere from 15 percent to 40 percent of the average households water consumption comes in the form of washing laundry, so be especially mindful with your washing machine.
If you have a hot tub, it can end up costing you a lot in electric bills if it isn’t properly insulated. When you use a quality insulation, the heat loss through the sides and bottom of the hot tub are minimal, so check to see if yours is up to snuff by hiring a professional. It can save you more than you might expect.
Additionally, turn off your spa during the seasons you never use it, and consider purchasing a timing system if you don’t already have one for your hot tub. For more cost effective advice about maintaining spa covers, pumps, heaters and blowers, try these money-saving tips from the pro’s at Hot Tub Works.
Oftentimes, a surprisingly high water bill is due to a leak somewhere. Inspect your toilet to see if it is running by putting a few drops of food coloring in the tank—even if you don’t hear anything, if you see the food coloring in the bowl after a few minutes it means that you may need to replace the valve on the flapper.
Charleston Water Systems estimates that a toilet left running for just one day can consume 200 extra gallons of water, so it’s worth the time to run this simple check. A leaky faucet is another subtle water waster, so get out the wrench and tighten it up or replace it if it continues to leak.
Have you noticed that a jump in your water bill coincided with a sudden explosion of weeds or greenery in your yard? You may have an underground leak, either in the service line or your sprinkler system. These leaks can become more expensive to repair if left for a long time, so consider hiring a professional right away to repair the damage before it drains your bank account dry.
Lights and Fans
Everyone is guilty of it. Walking out of the room and forgetting to turn off the lights or ceiling fan behind you is a common mistake. Simply turning off the lights behind you can save a lot on your power bill, but if you want to go the distance you should consider replacing incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs.
While the LED bulbs may be more expensive, MSN Real Estate estimates that LED bulbs are 90 percent more power efficient than their incandescent cousins that waste 98 percent of their power in the form of expelled heat. It might be an expensive shift to make, but LED bulbs can reduce your electric bill to a fraction of what it currently is.
Ceiling fans are designed to cool the air in the room they are in, so it doesn’t make much sense to leave them running when no one is in the room.
Additionally, you may not be using your ceiling fan to the best of its abilities – many ceiling fans have a switch on them that allows you to change the direction they spin. When a fan is spinning counterclockwise it pushes cool air downwards and creates the effect of a cool breeze, but when it is spinning clockwise it is creating an updraft that causes hot air to move from where it becomes trapped, high up in the room, downwards to where you want it in the winter.
By simply making sure you are using the right fan setting, you will get more effect from your ceiling fan and save yourself on your power bill.
The worst culprits of energy waste are old appliances. Many old appliances were made with less energy-efficient designs than modern appliances, so it is time to say goodbye to that 30 year old refrigerator and say hello to a more modern, eco-friendly model.
Additionally, your freezer works best when it is full and freezing food instead of air, so pack those frozen goods in there or consider buying a pound of ice to fill the empty space in your freezer. You don’t want to pay to cool the air in there.
When shopping for new appliances always look for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star certification, and consider learning more about participating manufacturers at the Energy Star site. If you choose efficient products over wasteful ones, you can watch your energy bills shrink after just one month.