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Heating and cooling our house is expensive! I’m sure yours is too. However, with a baby in the house, we can only turn down the heat so much, so I have compiled a list of 14 practical ways to save on utilities!
1. Curtains! For what you spend on curtains, generally you will save a TON of money! During the winter, we wrap our windows (see #13) during the day and curtains at night. I always buy thick, heavy blackout curtains that help insulate again the cold air coming in from the windows.
2. We bought an air conditioner – yes, you read this right :-). During the fall, single-room air conditioners go on sale – we got ours for 50% off! When we put ours in our room at night, our electric bill dropped by $30 during the heat of the summer!
3. We Use our whole-house fan. This is one of the great things about having a house built in the 1970’s. Our whole house fan – while it is rather loud – circulates air like nothing else. It pulls cool air from the basement and up in the hotter upstairs of our house. Once we discovered what this amazing fan could do, our electric bill dropped another $10 during the heat of the summer.
4. We close doors. Our house is bigger than what we need, but it was a fantastic deal, so we went with it. However, heating and cooling a bunch of unused space is a waste of money! To combat this, we close doors, and put draft catchers at the base of the doors.
5. We try not to use the oven. We do this both in summer and winter. Why? Because using the slow-cooker heats up the house less in summer, and uses less energy both in summer and winter – see also #8.
6. We use CFL’s – seriously, if you’re not doing this yet, you’re living under a rock! We can buy an 8 pack of these at Sam’s for $1.99 and each one saves anywhere from $22 – $30 per year!
7. We Use a programmable thermostat – Set it and forget it, people! We set the thermostat to 65 at night, and 68 during the day during the winter, and 75 at night and 78 during the day during the summer. This way, we cannot forget to turn the heat or cooling up or down.
8. I cook in bulk – This goes along with #5 when I’m trying not to use the oven a whole lot. Simply google “freezer cooking” and you will find a plethora of recipes that you can make ahead of time and store in the freezer. Or, if you don’t want to spend several hours freezer cooking, you can simply double whatever is for dinner each night, and put half in the freezer for later. See how easy that is?
9. I use cold water. Not in the shower, in the washer! Most of the energy used in washing clothes comes from heating the water, not the actual water cost. We either make our own or purchase cold water detergent, and our clothes are no less clean than if we were to use warm water!
10. We turned our water heater down. You only need to have your water heater set to 120 to kill bacteria and still have it feel warm for showers. Heating it any hotter not only increases the risk of burns, it costs more to heat it to that temperature.
11. We traded in our old refrigerator: When we bought our house in April of 2013, we bought a terrible fridge for $50 off of craigslist. We were given a new one December of 2013, so we had Ameren come pick up our old one, and in 4 weeks they sent us a $50 VISA card.
12. We eliminate vampires: I bought an Energy-Use Monitor (Amazon has the best prices on these) and ran around our house for 2-weeks checking the energy use of everything in our house and generally driving everyone crazy! Turns out our toaster and blender use zero energy when plugged in and not in use, whereas our TV uses tons when its off. Now, I try to go around the house and unplug everything a couple of times per week.
13. We wrap our windows: We bought that ugly plastic that you blow dry to your windows at Lowe’s and wrapped every single one of windows. It super easy to do and in our first month of having all of our windows done we saved an addition $5.00 off of our electric bill!
14. We redid caulking. While our windows are newer and in pretty good shape, the caulking around them was another story. Redo your caulk, people. Its cheap, easy to do, and will help tremendously!
Do you have any other things you do to save on your utilities?
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