How To

6 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Utility Bills

Utility Bills

With seemingly everything getting more expensive, it’s a good time to take another look at what you’re paying for utilities. Shaving even a relatively small amount from your monthly utility bills can add up to a big advantage for your bank account over time. If you’re wondering how to reduce utility bills, check out these tips that can help you maximize your utility savings without sacrificing the lifestyle you love.

Many households overpay for internet, either because they’re paying for unnecessary speeds or because their ISP charges premium prices for middling performance. Start by running an internet speed test to determine if you’re actually getting the speeds you’re paying for. Comparing your current speeds with what your package promises can reveal if you’re due for an upgrade or if you could save money by downgrading to a lower-tier plan that still meets your needs.

Shopping around and comparing offers from different ISPs can also uncover better deals or packages that fit your internet usage needs more closely. Cost is just one factor to consider — speed, data caps, customer service, and reliability are also crucial aspects to think about. If you need any aspect of home internet explained, don’t be afraid to ask your ISP questions, even basic ones like what a home network is. These subjects can be complex, and their employees are trained to help. 

  • Improve your home’s energy efficiency with new appliances and/or windows.

Appliances and windows can be two of the biggest energy-wasters in older homes, so don’t hesitate to replace them if it’s been a while. New appliances, in particular, can be both an instant lifestyle upgrade and an energy-saving hack. Make sure to look for the Energy Star certification logo to verify that you’re getting a model designed for efficiency. 

Energy-efficient windows can also be a key strategy when you’re deciding how to lower your electric bill. Windows are the main point where your home exchanges heat energy with the air outside, so you might be losing a lot of heat in winter or A/C in summer if your windows don’t keep your home well-sealed. Upgrading to double-glazed, insulated windows can drastically improve your home’s insulation, potentially leading to substantial savings on heating and cooling costs. 

Improve your home’s energy efficiency with new appliances and/or windows

  • Conserve water as much as possible.

Every bit of water you can save helps trim your monthly water bill. These are some ways you can conserve more water at home:

  • Take shorter showers. A shower can use up to 2.5 gallons per minute, which adds up quickly.
  • Wash dishes in the dishwasher instead of by hand. Hand-washing dishes requires substantially more water. 
  • Only run full loads in your dishwasher and washing machine to avoid wasting water on smaller loads. 
  • Water gardens and house plants more efficiently. Water them late at night or early in the morning to minimize evaporation, and consider water-saving technologies like drip irrigation systems and soaker hoses. 
  • Install low-flow toilets and showerheads. These fixtures significantly reduce the amount of water used per flush or during a shower without sacrificing functionality.

Adopting even a few of these practices can lead to significant savings on your water bill and help make your lifestyle more sustainable. 

  • Make sure you’re using internet bandwidth efficiently.

You may be able to get more speed from your existing home network by making a few efficient tweaks. First, use a wired Ethernet connection for non-mobile devices like game consoles and desktop PCs. Wired Ethernet is faster, more reliable, and uses bandwidth more effectively than Wi-Fi..

It’s also worth taking a look at your router. Make sure it’s in a central location where your wireless devices can access it easily. If you have an older router, think about upgrading to one that supports the latest Wi-Fi standards, which will allow you to take maximum advantage of a high-speed internet connection. After setting up a new router, take the time to configure your network settings properly. Create a strong, unique password and enable any features that prioritize traffic for high-demand activities like gaming or video streaming.

  • Use smart home technology to automate energy savings.

Even if you’re not a gadget lover, a few select pieces of smart home tech can create significant energy savings with minimal work. Smart thermostats are a great place to start, since you can program them to automatically reduce heat levels when you’re not home or asleep. Many models even offer the option to learn your schedule and automatically adjust for comfort and efficiency.

Smart lighting solutions can also be helpful, with high-efficiency LED bulbs that you can program to automatically dim themselves after dark. Nearly all smart lighting systems offer remote control options via smartphone apps, allowing you to adjust lighting settings even when you’re not home. This ensures that no energy is wasted on lighting unoccupied spaces and helps further trim your home’s electricity usage. 

  • Install power strips and smart plugs to reduce wasted electricity. 

Many electronic devices and appliances keep drawing power even when they’re turned off, a phenomenon known as “vampire power” or “standby power.” This includes items like TVs, chargers, computers, and kitchen appliances, which can silently add to your energy consumption (and thus your electricity bill). 

Connecting these devices to power strips and/or smart plugs allows you to easily cut off their power supply with a single switch or through an app. The convenience of controlling these devices through an app can also add a layer of flexibility that makes it easy to manage your home’s energy use from wherever you are. 

Reducing your utilities is all about long-term thinking and making sustainable choices. With each small change, from your home internet to your electricity usage, you’re building towards a more efficient and cost-effective home environment.

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