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How to Keep Your Utility Bill Low While in Quarantine

With the majority of states putting a “stay-at-home” order in place, many of us are probably worried about the potential impact this will have on our monthly bills. Doing your part around your home, like remembering to turn off the lights when you leave a room is difficult enough, let alone when your family and/or roommates are home 24/7. Thankfully, there are some ways to save on your electric bills during the quarantine.

Change to Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs

Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs) are not only more efficient than traditional bulbs, but they also last longer. Since energy-efficient light bulbs use almost 80% less energy than incandescent bulbs, they can save you about $45 each year. Regular light bulbs have an average lifespan of 750 to 1,000 hours, while CFLs average 10,000 to 15,000 hours of use. Switching to energy-efficient light bulbs is one of the fastest and most cost-effective changes you can make to lower your utility bill costs.

Install Smarter Switches

Motion sensors only turn lights on when someone is present in the room, meaning you will only be paying for light when you are actually using it. You could also invest in timer fan switches, which would allow you to preset the amount of time you want your fans to run and they will automatically turn off after they’re done.

Invest in Energy Star-Approved Appliances

Appliances that function according to the Energy Star certified appliance guidelines can save you up to 30% on your electricity bill. Newer appliances tend to be more energy-efficient and more than likely meet the Energy Star guidelines. This is a big investment, but it pays off in the long run considering your electricity bill will decrease. It is best to consult a professional on what upgrades would best fit your kitchen and electricity bill.

Start Doing Some Chores at Night

In order to encourage lower electricity usage rates, some power companies charge extra for electricity use during the day. Doing some of your daily chores at night, such running the washing machine or dishwasher, may result in decreased power bills.

Clean Out Filters, Vents, and Furnaces

If replacing your old appliances is not an option for you, there are ways to make your existing ones work better. One way is to empty out the lint from your dryer’s filter after every few cycles, which will get you more bang for your buck. This saves your dryer from having to use extra or harsher, energy-inefficient cycles, and can save up to $25 annually.

Another way to help reduce energy consumption is properly maintaining your furnace vents. You should run maintenance checks on your heating and cooling systems. For example, to allow for better airflow at lower electricity levels, clean out your AC vents and filters – in turn, this will show on your bill and air quality. Again, you should consult a professional for the best cleaning advice.

Give Your Fridge Some TLC

The most energy-consuming item in your kitchen is your refrigerator. If you can upgrade to a newer, energy-efficient model, great! If not, there are other things you can do, such as cleaning its coils twice a year. Being consistent with this practice can improve your fridge’s efficiency by about 40%.

Stocking up your fridge and freezer is not only beneficial to your stomach; refrigerators actually run better when they’re full. If you have empty space, fill it up by placing containers of water in your fridge and bags of ice in your freezer.

Unplug Your Electronics

Saving money on your electric bill is all about consistency on your end. Unplug your small appliances, such as curling irons, toasters, or fans, even when they’re turned off.

Consider Programmable Thermostats

Once your thermostat is programmed, you don’t need to remember to turn it off, which saves you both time and money. Many smart thermostats can track your temperature preference patterns and adjust accordingly as well. You can save up to 1% for each degree you lower your thermostat for every 8-hour period.

Help Your Water Heater Out

The last thing you want to do is make your water heater work harder than it already is. One way to decrease hot water use is by washing your clothes on cold in full loads. By doing this, your heater won’t have to heat as many additional gallons.

Only Use Heat or A/C in the Rooms You’re In

Why waste heat or A/C in rooms you don’t use very often? If your storage and guest bedrooms aren’t places you typically spend time in, they shouldn’t be taking away warmth or cool air from your bedroom. Close off vents in rooms you don’t visit often to avoid heating or cooling every room in your home.

Benefit from Insulation

Think about turning the heater down and preserving heat inside your home in other ways, such as insulating. Look for leaky spots along your window and door frames. To patch up small openings, try using inexpensive foam weather stripping. For larger areas you can use double bubble insulation wrap. Your house will not only feel warmer, but your electric bill should decrease as well!

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