During this time of financial turmoil, most of us are feeling a major pinch in the budget.
One area where we can cut our monthly expenses is in the utilities. Electricity
and water are the two that hit the hardest.
Let’s first discuss electricity. First replace all regular bulbs with the compact
fluorescent bulbs. They cost a little more initially, but they use less
electricity to operate. If you have someone in the house that requires a light
on at night; instead of a regular light, replace it with a 4 watt night light.
You can purchase night lights with motion sensors to save even more.
In the summer, turn the air conditioning up 1 or 2 degrees and in the winter, turn the heat
down 1or 2 degrees. This in itself will save a bundle.
Install ceiling fans in as many rooms as you can. They are inexpensive and will make a major difference in
the heating and cooling bills
Another way to save on lighting is with a motion sensor for your outside porch area, garage
and yard lights. Most people don’t realize that you can also put motion sensors
on your interior lights as well. The light comes on when you enter a room and
turns off a few seconds after you leave. Lighting costs around 20% of the total
electric bill so cutting down there will help a great deal.
An electric stove uses a lot of electricity but you can cut down on it quite a bit by using
a few tips. Use the appropriate size pan for the burner you place it on. Don’t
use a really small pan on the biggest burner. Always use a lid. This keeps the
heat in with the food and not out in the kitchen, so it will take less time to
cook. Don’t turn the burner up higher than you need to—medium heat cooks just
as fast as high and the food will taste better. Turn the burner off 2 or 3
minutes before the food is finished cooking. Leave the lid on the pan and let
it finish cooking while the burner is still hot. The same is true of your
oven-turn it off 2 or 3 minutes before the dish is finished cooking.
Don’t use the stove when the microwave will do just as well. Vegetables can be prepared in
the microwave in less time than on the stovetop and taste the same. Get yourself
a microwave cookbook and you will be amazed at the number of things you can
cook without ever turning on the stove. It will take a little time to break the
old habits but it is well worth it in the money you will save.
Turn off the TV and computer when you are not using them. People tend to leave the computer
on so they don’t need to wait for it to boot up in the morning. Turn it on then
go get your coffee-it will be on and ready when you are.
Turn the hot water heater down a couple of degrees. It keeps your water hot all day and uses
a lot of energy to do it. If you need to replace the water heater, consider
getting an on demand heater. They heat the water as you use it and save a lot
on the electric bill.
Water is getting more and more expensive so we need to save it in every way we can and
cut down on our water bill as much as possible. Go through your home and do an
inspection. Look at all the faucets to see if any of them are dripping. If they
are, replace the washers in them. Don’t forget the outside faucets as well. You
can lose a lot of water through a drippy faucet.
Now take a look at the toilets. Look in the bowl and see if there are rust or water stains
running down the bowl to the water line. If there are, chances are good that
you have a slight leak around the float. You can purchase a new one at the
hardware store or at Wal-Mart and they come with instructions for installation.
It is amazing how much a little leak can cost in a months time.
Next, take the lid off the tank. If there is room in the tank, fill a 2 liter bottle with
water and place it in the tank in an area that will not interfere with the
flushing mechanism. This will cut down the amount of water used to flush the
toilet. It will still flush just as well but will use a lot less water.
Check the hot and cold water faucets that run to the washer. See if there is a drip there and
replace the washers if needed. Use cold water to wash your clothes instead of
hot or warm. They will come just as clean.
Clothes dryers can be a real electricity waster. Check the vent and make sure it is clean and
not plugged with lint. Make sure your lint trap in the dryer is clean. It is
good to empty it after each load. When drying clothes, use only the drying time
you need. Try cutting back on the time to see what the optimum drying time
really is. Sometimes the clothes are dry up to 15 minutes before the dryer stops
running. That is a lot of energy in a month’s time.
Now take a look at yourself and the other members of your household. Remind them to turn
off the lights when they leave a room and turn off the water when they are not
using it. Take showers instead of baths and don’t leave the water running while
you brush your teeth. Also, don’t leave the water running to rinse the dishes.
Wash them and put them in the other basin till you have a stack, then spray
rinse them all at once.
With a little routine maintenance and paying attention to the little things you should be
able to cut your utility bill by quite a lot each month.