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All The Energy Saving Tips to Reduce Utility Bills - 80/20 Your Finances Skip to main content

All The Energy Saving Tips to Reduce Utility Bills

We are heading into summer, when utility bills will skyrocket with air conditioners running non-stop. This is an expensive time of year for many and now is the time to look into how you can save on your utility bills. We’ve got all the tips to reduce utility bills!

How much do you spend every month on utilities? Can you reduce your bills with some easy steps? Of course, some options have more upfront cost that you may want to save for later consideration.

Skip to: Shop Utility Companies | Heating and Air Conditioner Tips | Insulation Tips | Other Energy Saving Tips | Solar Systems | Hot Water Heaters | Water Saving Tips | Outdoor Water Saving Tips

All the Energy Saving Tips to Reduce Your Utility Bills

Shop Your Providers

With deregulation, consumers often have more choices for their utility providers. I recently switched my natural gas provider to get a better rate. As an added bonus, they also give me frequent flier miles. These days, I treat my utility providers very similar to my internet (cable) and insurance providers – you’ll need to shop around about once a year to keep the best deals.

When shopping for a new provider, look at both the promotional and regular rates. Just like with cable providers, they may have introductory deals that last only a few months. I like to switch providers about this time of year – just before the biggest usage periods in the summer to take advantage of the promotional rates.

Energy Audits

Some utility companies will provide professional energy audits. During a professional energy audit, the auditor will go through your behaviors, your home, and your past utility bills to recommend specific upgrades and changes to maximize the energy efficiency of your home. Professional energy auditors may use special equipment to detect problems, such as broken duct work behind walls or in the ceiling that are often harder to identify. You can typically save 5-30% of your utility bill after implementing their recommendations.

Tips to Reduce Heating and Air Conditioning

Heating and air conditioning are often the biggest energy hogs in your home. Since we like to apply the 80/20 Rule around here, we start with these energy hogs and work our way down to other power consumers to get the biggest returns on our investment.

Regularly Clean and Service Your Furnace and Air Conditioner Systems

The easiest service is a do-it-yourself action: change the filters! Don’t make your systems work harder than necessary to push air through the system. You’ll find you may be able to run the system less with proper airflow! Some filters need to be replaced monthly while others are annually. Check your system and the filters to find out how often yours need to be replaced. Also, take into account whether you have pets or smokers in the house, as you’ll need more frequent changes with either of these filter cloggers around.

Make sure that the area around your air conditioner unit outside is clean and free of debris. Clear out any debris from your condenser coil that you can reach. You’ll probably want to call in a professional though to clean the coils.

Fix Duct Leaks

Energy Star estimates that typical central air systems lose 20 to 30 percent of the air that moves through the system due to leaks, holes and poorly connected ducts. You’ll want to get up in that attic or under the crawl space to check out the duct work regularly. At least check out the ones that are easily accessible in these areas to make sure the ducts are all properly working. You can reattach ducts and seal them with metal tape, available at Amazon and home improvement stores.

While you’ll be able to clean the registers and perhaps the next foot or so of duct work, it pays to have a service come in and clean all of your duct work every couple of years. They may also be able to identify and repair duct work that is less accessible that you don’t want to mess with.

What is Your Ideal Temperature?

What temperature do you want your house? Do you normally keep it a cool 68 degrees all year round? Try bumping it up a degree in the summer. You probably won’t notice much difference between 68 and 69 degrees. Keep adjusting it upwards a degree at a time until it isn’t comfortable anymore. The goal is to get as close to the outside temperature as is comfortable.

For each degree you raise the temperature in the summer, it can save somewhere around six to eight percent of your energy bill!

Now in the winter, do the opposite. Bump it down a degree at a time. You may find that you don’t need it as warm as you have been setting the thermostat. Lots of savings available here!

Wear Seasonally Appropriate Clothing

As you move the temperature warmer during the summer, you might want to offset that action with some others to stay comfortable.

One of the biggest recommendations is to wear appropriate clothing for the season. Get home from work? Take off that suit and put on a pair of shorts and flip flops! I really recommend taking off the socks and shoes! All that body heat trapped in there (eewww smelly!) Get rid of the shoes and you’ll feel remarkably cooler.

In the winter, throw on a sweatshirt. And put those socks back on!

Programmable Thermostat

You don’t need to keep your home a constant 68 degrees all year long. Think of all the energy you are wasting to keep it that cool in the summer while you are away at work.

Instead, get a programmable thermostat that will make cool the house just before you get home from work. It’ll be comfortable when you come in but you won’t be cooling the house all day.

Bonus: if you like find it hard to get out of bed on a cold winter morning, set the thermostat to warm up the house just before you normally get up. It’ll be a lot easier to get out of bed and not hit the snooze button to stay under warm covers.

Vacation Settings

Before you head out on vacation, you can set the program to vacation mode, to keep it at higher temperatures (summer) or lower temperatures (winter). No reason to heat and cool your home while you will be gone for days!

Leave the House

So instead of using up your air conditioner, why not use someone else’s instead? Take a page out of many a senior citizen’s playbook: A lot of times, you’ll see senior citizens walking the mall (not there to shop). While they are away from home, they can turn their A/C warmer and go to the wall to enjoy their A/C. To spend their time, they will often walk the mall with friends – social, exercise, and saving money on their energy bills.

While you don’t have to go to the mall, what about the local swimming pool? It’s always a good day when you go to the pool, right? Or take in a matinee at the movie theater (cheaper than prime time movies). The local library is also a great frugal choice for summer escapes. (Got more ideas? Comment below!)

Of course, there’s always work too. But that’s not as much fun as the neighborhood pool or park.

Cook Outside in Summer Time

Grill outside to reduce the heat inside and reduce your utility billIf you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen!

You’ve probably noticed how hot it gets when you cook inside. In the summertime, your air conditioning has to work to cool all this off.

Instead, why not cook outside on the grill? Summer is the perfect time for grilling – with all those fresh veggies and fish. It’s usually pretty healthy too! And now, your air conditioning doesn’t have to cool all the kitchen heat.

Bonus: grilling fish outside also means you don’t have that fish smell inside!

Add Ceiling Fans to Your House

Have you ever wondered why southern homes always have ceiling fans? And if they don’t, they are the first thing to get installed once southerners move in.

Nothing feels better on a hot day that a breeze! Ceiling fans are the indoor version of a great breeze. You’ll find that you can tolerate higher summer temperatures if you have a breeze. You’ll probably be able to raise the temperature by about four degrees without any reduction in comfort.

In the winter, you can reverse their direction to blow the hot air down, reducing your heating costs.

If you don’t want to or can’t add ceiling fans (like in rental units), use free standing or box fans to help circulate the air. Added benefit to these fans is that you can situate them behind or near registers to blow the cold or hot air out into the room, maximizing the air flow for better comfort.

Bonus: turn the fans off when you leave the room. Since they don’t actually cool the room and only provide a wind chill, you are wasting energy if they continue to run the entire time if no one (or pets) are in the room!

Use Your Fireplace

Most people use only a few rooms in their house on a regular basis – the kitchen, the bedrooms, and a TV room. My TV room/den has a gas fireplace that I can use to heat just that one room. I don’t need to heat the whole house to be comfortable in the den.

And since I like sleeping with it cooler, I don’t have to worry about cooling the bedrooms off before bedtime.

Bonus: If the power goes out due to an ice storm, I’ve still got heat from the gas fireplace!

Chimney balloon helps stop heat loss when your fireplace is not in useChimney balloon helps stop heat loss when your fireplace is not in useWhen not in use though, your chimney is a great place for air to escape, even with the flue closed! Try an inflatable chimney balloon that will block warm air from rising out through the chimney. Most chimney balloons will automatically deflate if you forget to take them out before starting a fire. These are absolutely awesome for those that rarely use their chimney – the balloons become sooty and hard to manage after repeated use.

Warm Your Bed

Another great winter tip: do you like to get into a warm bed? Use an electric mattress pad or blanket to warm your bed before you get in it. No need to heat the whole house or bedroom up so that you don’t have to get into a cold bed.

Today’s electric blankets are much safer than the ones of days gone by. They are also remarkably energy efficient. Definitely try them out.

Bonus tip: in the summer, ditch the electric blankets and heavy comforters. Go with quilts and sheets for sleeping. They are much cooler and thus, you’ll need less air conditioning at night to remain comfortable.

Add Insulation to Your Home for Energy Savings

That draft you feel coming from under the door? That’s just money flowing away!

Tips to Save Energy with Windows and Doors

Seven to 12 percent of heat loss comes around windows and doors. The easiest thing here is to replace worn weatherstripping and caulk around windows and doors for areas that don’t move.

If you are replacing your windows, look for energy efficient double paned windows with good framing materials. While usually not cost-efficient to go out and replace if it is not necessary, these are generally great benefits to look for in new construction or when replacing your existing windows.

More tips for your windows and doors:

  • Lock your windows and doors. The locking mechanism will often pull the windows and doors more tightly closed against the weatherstripping, reducing air from escaping.
  • Use door draft stoppers in apartments where you can’t make modifications to the doors.
  • For quick, easy, and relatively inexpensive hits, add black out drapes to your windows. They typically reduce hot air coming in and have added benefits of reducing light and sound for a better night’s rest.
  • Reflective film on windows is also a great way to reduce hot air coming in during the summer. Gila, one of the major manufacturers in residential window films, says that you can reduce cooling costs by up to 50% with their films. Some film is even removable, so it works great in apartments and rentals. Another great DIY project!
  • Open and close windows and drapes strategically. During the cooler nights, open the windows to keep a breeze flowing and cooler air circulating. Then close the windows and drapes in the morning to prevent the summer heat from coming in. In the winter, keep the sun shining in during the day to heat the rooms and then close everything to keep heat in at night.

Don’t Forget About Attic Access Points

Your attic is one area that is often poorly insulated. The good news is that it is typically quite easy to add insulation to unfinished attic spaces! These can be awesome DIY weekend projects to add immediate savings to your utility bill.

Make sure that you insulate around the attic opening – whether a doorway or pull-down stairs. These are often left un-insulated with only the door providing a barrier to the heat and cold in the non-climate controlled attic. One easy way to improve these openings is to add weather stripping like you would to an outside door to prevent drafts/leaks from around the door.

Attic Ventilation

Have you ever gone into your attic on a Saturday afternoon in the summer and barely been able to breathe it is so hot? Add an attic fan that will pull the hot air out. It’ll help cool the whole house and keep your utility bill down.

Also, consider a whole house attic fan. These are great to turn on for a few minutes after the sun goes down. Pull in some cooler air from outside and expel all the hot air from the inside and attic. Attic fans are particularly useful after you’ve been gone for a few days and left the air conditioner off or really high.

Insulate around Electrical Boxes

Have you ever noticed that electrical outlets are often poorly insulated? On exterior walls, this is an easy access point for leaks. Fill the gaps behind the cover plate with acyic latex caulk or foam sealant.

While you have the caulk out, insulate around pipes, gas lines, and electrical cables that come in from the outside. Look for expanding foam to make the job easier. Bonus: one less place for rodents and insects to come in!

Consider Dual Air Conditioning Systems

Larger homes may benefit from dual air conditioning and furnace systems. Rooms and various areas of your home need to be heated and cooled only when people are using them. In larger homes, where there are definite zones, you may find that having separate systems is a great energy saving feature. For example, you can have all the upstairs bedrooms on one system and the downstairs living areas on another. Using the programmable thermostats, you set it so that the bedrooms are cooled only for night sleeping periods while the downstairs is cooled only for the early evening periods for after work and before bedtime.

Typically, dual systems mean you have two smaller units rather than one really big unit. So you may also get some energy savings here too. Another added bonus – usually the systems don’t go out at the exact same time. So if one goes down, you can still survive even the worst of summer heat waves by going to the other still working zone.

Yes, there is quite a bit of up-front cost for this option, especially if you are retrofitting your house and duct work for zones. It is another awesome idea for new construction though.

Space Heaters and Room Air Conditioners

All the Energy Saving Tips to Reduce your Utility BillsWhile dual central air systems are not always feasible, space heaters or room air conditioners are an option. These are definitely worth considering when one room is at the end of the duct work and rarely gets enough central air push to be comfortable (bonus rooms over the garage are often poorly insulated, lots of exterior walls, and at the end of the line leading to poor air circumstances).

With today’s energy efficient appliances, these can often be more efficient than heating the whole house, particularly if your central unit is older and not as efficient. It is important to monitor usage though because it is easy to offset savings from not running central air with the energy consumption of a single room unit.

Single room units are also great for people that aren’t comfortable at the same temperatures as everyone else. For example, my parents like to sleep in what feels like a freezer. Growing up, I would have loved to give them a separate A/C just for their room so that I didn’t have to freeze in my bedroom down the hall. And while most families become accustomed to and acclimate to the others’ preferred temperatures, space heaters may be necessary for guests to be comfortable at night.


Ever hear that the dry heat in Arizona being easier than the muggy heat in Georgia? There is some basis to the old joke. In drier climates, it is easier for sweat to evaporate off your skin, leaving you cooler. Dehumidifiers can help you stand warmer temperatures.

Bonus: dehumidifiers will also help reduce mold and other bacteria from growing by reducing their breeding grounds. So while you’ll be using energy to run the dehumidifier, you may save by reducing your air conditioner and also getting added health benefits.

Closing Off Rooms

Some people recommend that you close off vents to rooms that you don’t use, like guest bedrooms or basement areas. Other people say that this creates extra strain on your systems that were designed for all of them to be open. This probably works best for bonus rooms at the end of the line and for basements on a different zone. I’ll close the door on the bonus room to keep the heat in there from spreading to the other rooms that are properly cooled/heated.

One room that I really like to close the vents to even though it is used every day is the bathroom. In the summer, who wants to step out of the shower to a blast of air conditioning? In the winter, between a shower and the heater running, the bathroom can get way too hot. Instead of using the air conditioning and heat in these rooms, I often run just the fan to ventilate the steam and keep the doors open when not in use. It’s a lot more comfortable for me.

Skip to: Shop Utility Companies | Heating and Air Conditioner Tips | Insulation Tips | Other Energy Saving Tips | Solar Systems | Hot Water Heaters | Water Saving Tips | Outdoor Water Saving Tips

Other Energy Saving Tips to Help Reduce Utility Bills

Energy Saving Lighting Tips

First and foremost, follow your dad’s advice to turn off the lights as you leave the room. No reason to light up a room with no one in it right?

LED Lights

Have you switched over to LED lights yet? If you know that you will be in a house for years, they are a great investment. While the up-front cost is higher, your utility bills will go down.

Since many of the LED light bulbs today will last seven to ten years, you won’t have to change out the light bulbs every couple of months! Winning!

Bonus: Some states will have an energy savings sales tax day where you can buy LED lights without paying sales tax! Look for these in your state (if you have to pay sales tax).


Want a romantic night at home? Dim the lights! And save energy. Adding dimmers to lights is typically a simple DIY weekend or even week night project. Don’t be afraid to change them out.

Timers for Front Porch Lights

Do you like to leave your front porch lights on at night? It’s a great security measure – lights usually mean someone is home. And make any burglars visible to neighbors and other passerbys.

And how often have you left the lights on when you’ve gone to work? Or slept in and the lights are still late into a Saturday? Put the front porch lights on timers. Many are programmable to adjust automatically for daylight savings time and seasonal sunset changes, saving you more money.

Bonus: If criminals are watching your home, they won’t be able to tell when you are home and when you are not. (Think vacation when you leave the lights on all the time) More security!

Energy Efficient Appliances

Look for the Energy Star logo on appliances to make sure they are energy efficient to save on your utility bills!Whether it is the air conditioner or the refrigerator, you should look to buy and use the most energy efficient appliances on the market. Some states offer sales tax holidays or rebates if you upgrade your less efficient appliances to newer more efficient appliances. You may also be able to get free haul away on your old appliances or special disposal days from your utility companies.

Your fridge and freezer are going to be most efficient when they are full. One thing that I’ll do if my freezer is getting low on frozen food is to take ice out of the automatic ice maker and put in bags for later use. That way I’ll have extra ice for a cooler on the way to the pool or for a party. And in the meantime, my freezer is more efficient. Pitchers of filtered water are also useful for this purpose in the fridge.

Also consider whether you really need that garage refrigerator. It was probably your last kitchen refrigerator that you wanted to keep as an overflow or beer fridge. It’s not going to be as efficient as newer models. And how often do you really use it? Can you just ditch it already?

Peak Usage Times

Some energy companies charge you two different rates during the day: one for peak usage time and a lower rate for non-peak time. If your company does this, then you need to minimize your peak usage time.

It’s kind of like the old days when long distance rates were different based on when you called. Same thing here. A few changes can lead to drastic savings.

The easiest changes: Run your dishwasher and clothes dryer during non-peak times. Also consider not running the air conditioner as much during peak times (remember the whole programmable thermostat discussion above?).

Even if your company does not charge extra for peak times, consider changing your behaviors anyways. That dishwasher puts a lot of heat out into your kitchen. Why not run it during the middle of the night or even during the day when you don’t care if it is warmer? Many dishwashers come with a four hour delay button. Use them!

More Tips on Dish and Clothes Washers

  • Always run full loads! Don’t waste the water or the energy by running anything less. Or the detergent.
  • Use cold water instead of hot water. It’s better for your clothes anyways.
  • Skip the dryer! Hang your clothes to dry.
  • If you do use the dryer, use dryer balls. These are great – no need for dryer sheets (I haven’t used any in years) and they help keep your clothes from bunching up in the dryer and not actually drying.
  • In the dishwasher, skip the dry cycle. That’s a lot of energy to produce hot air to dry the dishes. They’ll dry just find on their own without it.

Flooring Options

Considering what flooring to put in your home? Consider hardwood, tile, or similar materials instead of carpet. They are easier to clean – often just needing a broom. And think of the power savings you’ll have by not using the vacuum cleaner! Many people also find that hard floors help to improve their allergies since carpets are often hard to clean and contain lots of pollen, dirt and pet dander.

Smart Power Strips

Use Smart Power Strips to Reduce Your Utility billsHave you ever tested how much zombie power things like your coffee maker and toaster are using? How about your TV and cable box? Use a smart power strip to stop zombie power loss!

A smart power strip will turn everything off-off. Not just to standby. Thus, saving you money.

Many smart power strips will even have some outlets that stay on. These are great for TV entertainment systems where you’ll want to DVR to stay on to record your favorite shows but don’t need the sound, TV, and game consoles on.

Much easier than plugging and un-plugging your electronics every time. Because you’ll always forget sometimes.

Turn Off the Home Computer

Do you still have a home computer that stays on all the time? Try turning it off when not in use. Computers now have awesome power saving features to turn off the monitors and eventually go into sleep mode when they are not in use. Activate and use these features instead of that ugly screensaver.

Install Solar Power Systems

If you produce your own power, you won’t need to buy power from the energy company! And in some circumstances, you may even be able to sell power back to the power company when you overproduce! These systems work best in the more Southern locales with lots of sunshine throughout the year. And some solar systems will not be able to produce enough energy to run air conditioners, meaning you’ll still have to buy some peak energy from the grid.

Of course, the con here is the up-front cost of buying and installing a new solar power system. Some of these costs may be offset with tax credits from federal, state, and local governments.

Smaller off-grid systems may be ideal for garden sheds and similar buildings which have small power needs and where it would be expensive to run power cables to. Solar is also ideal for landscaping lights and water features requiring small power usage.

Solar Roof

Scientific American estimates that a solar roof can reduce your utility bill by 50%! The Dow Powerhouse Line of solar roofing tiles are “grid-tied” which means they can send excess power back into the municipal electric grid.

Elon Musk, CEO at Tesla, claims that their new solar roof will cost less than a traditional regular roof. As an added benefit, the solar tiles look like regular shingles, thus avoiding the unsightly eyesore of large black solar panels. Consumer Reports did the math and determined that the Tesla Solar Roof would be competitive at $73,500 for the average 3,000 square foot house.

Keep an eye out for more developments in solar roofing, especially if you might be in the market for a new roof soon. I won’t recommend you go out and replace a good roof but definitely something to consider if you have to replace your roof anyways (or you are looking at new construction).

Skip to: Shop Utility Companies | Heating and Air Conditioner Tips | Insulation Tips | Other Energy Saving Tips | Solar Systems | Hot Water Heaters | Water Saving Tips | Outdoor Water Saving Tips

Your Hot Water Heater

It’s expensive to turn cold water into hot water! For many U.S. households, heating water can account for 18% of the average energy bills.

First, make sure that your water heater is set to the appropriate temperature! You don’t need to be heating it past about 120 degrees. Many manufacturers will set the temperature to 140 degrees by default. By reducing the temperature by 20 degrees, you can save 6-10% on your energy bill!

However, the higher temperatures take more energy to heat and also pose a safety problem – at 140 degrees, third degree burns will occur in as little as six seconds! The CPSC recommends turning the hot water down to 120, where adults would get third-degree burns in five minutes – much safer than seconds! This is extremely important if you have young children or elderly individuals in your home as these are the most likely to be burned by hot water.

Manufacturers and others set the water temperature at 140 degrees to prevent the buildup of bacteria in cooler parts of the tank. OSHA recommends 140 to prevent Legionnaires Disease in storage tanks. Unless you have a compromised immune system, most people will not need to keep it at the higher temperature.

To reduce the possibility of Legionnaires and other bacteria in your tank at the lower temperature, make sure that you minimize the amount of scale and other buildup. This buildup provides the food that the bacteria need to live off and reproduce. Certain metal ions, like copper and silver, have a biocidal effect to kill the bacteria. Tankless hot water heaters are also effective, since they do not have the cooler spots that storage tanks do.

Tankless Hot Water Heater

While tankless hot water heaters are more expensive, they have some definite advantages. It takes less energy to heat the water since they are not trying to maintain a large tank of hot water all the time. They only heat what is needed when it is needed. According to the US Department of Energy, a household that uses less than 41 gallons of hot water a day will see energy savings of 24-34%. A household that uses 41-86 gallons a day can expect to see a smaller savings of around 8-14%.

Tankless hot water heaters also typically last longer (20+ years) than the traditional tank versions (10-15 years). So when it comes to maintenance and repairs, tankless hot water heaters should be considered. If you are replacing a storage water heater, know that housing codes may prevent an easy installation. Typically, tankless heaters need to be vented. In my rental property, this made it too expensive to replace with a tankless when the hot water heater needed to be replaced earlier this year.

Other Hot Water Heater Tips

  • If tankless isn’t an option or an option for right now, consider a storage tank blanket to insulate the tank from heat loss. These blankets, often for less than $30, fit snuggly around the water heater and are easily installed. Many blankets also come with a roll of tape to secure the blanket to the heater.
  • Consider insulating the first few feet of water pipe out of your water tank, especially if your tank is in a crawl space or other non-climate controlled area. In fact, all pipes that you can reach in the crawl space or basement are easy targets. Self-sealing tubes are easy to add over pipes.
  • Drain sediment out of your hot water heater to keep it running more efficiently.

Skip to: Shop Utility Companies | Heating and Air Conditioner Tips | Insulation Tips | Other Energy Saving Tips | Solar Systems | Hot Water Heaters | Water Saving Tips | Outdoor Water Saving Tips

Save on Your Water Bill

Catch all the water leaks to save money!

Fix Leaks

Drip, drip, drip. Money down the drain. While small drips don’t seem like much, think about how much water a constantly running toilet wastes. You’ll want to get these fixed right away and often you can do them yourself. Some might just mean tightening a clamp. Others may be more involved. But with each drip you fix, you’ll be saving money.

Also, consider what happens if you don’t fix the leak. Will that upstairs toilet drip into the ceiling of the room below? Perhaps mold will grow, creating a health hazard. Or the water damage will weaken the wood and supports below it causing a giant crash? Don’t use up your home maintenance budget on something that could have been prevented!

Install Low Flow Appliances

Look for the WaterSense logo on low flow faucetsU.S. water-related energy use represents about 13 percent of the nation’s electricity consumption and generates approximately 290 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. So for every million gallons of water saved, approximately 1.95 metric tons of CO2 emissions are avoided. You can do your part by saving water in the home with low flow appliances. And save money on your utility bills too!

Low Flow Showers

Installing a low flow shower can save a family of four about $135 a year. Amazon has low flow showerheads for less than $5.00, so you really have no excuse not to upgrade the showerhead. Seriously, installation is not all that difficult and is an easy DIY project.

Low Flow Faucets

Don’t forget to look at the faucets in your kitchen and bathrooms! Many bathroom and kitchen faucets can be retrofitted with a simple aerator for less than $10 and no special tools. Seriously, even the less DIY-inclined among you out there can do this simple upgrade and save money on your water bill!

Low Flow Toilets

Toilets account for almost 30 percent of the indoor water usage in the average home. Older toilets use up to 6 gallons per flush. Newer toilets can use as little as 1.28 gallons per flush. The current federal standard is 1.6 gallons per flush. Obviously, you can reduce your water usage by upgrading to new low flow toilets.

In many cities, you’ll have to certify that you have low flow toilets before you can get water service at your new house – so it’s a common upgrade to look for when purchasing a new (to you) home. You can even negotiate this into the contract as a purchase price adjustment or something that the sellers need to fix during the inspection process.

If you don’t want to pay to upgrade the toilets, look to the old trick of taking up space in the toilet tank. Remember how they used to tell us to fill a plastic bottle with rocks and put them in the tanks? The trick still works on older toilets.

Second Water Meter for Pools and Irrigation Systems

If you have a large yard or a pool, you might want to consider a second water meter for your house.

For your main water meter, you are paying for the water plus the sewer. But your pool and landscaping water don’t need the sewer! If you use large amounts of water outdoor, the second water meter can save you some money!

Of course, the trade-off is that you have to pay for the second water meter installation. So it is only going to save you money over the long-term.

Also consider what the difference between the rates. In my hometown, they have raised the rates per thousand gallons on accounts that don’t have sewer. While it is still cheaper than full water/sewer, it would take a long time now to recover the cost of installing the second meter.

Reduce Pool Evaporation

Use solar covers to reduce pool water evaporation and save on your utility bills

Tired of always putting more water in the pool? Try a liquid solar blanket like Cover Free from Natural Chemistry. It reduces water evaporation by up to 85%. Bonus: it also reduces heat loss by up to 70% which means less energy wasted on heating the pool water! Double utility bill savings!

Looking for a chemical free way to reduce pool water evaporation? Try a solar cover which help heat the pool and reduce water evaporation both! This Sun2Solar cover claims to reduce evaporation by up to 95% and result in the water temperature going up 5-10 degrees on a sunny day.

Landscape For Your Climate

Stop trying to have a lush green lawn in the middle of the dessert. You are spending way too much on water to keep the grass green.

Instead, try xeriscaping, which is a method of landscaping to promote water conservation. Limit the amount of turf areas and other water greedy plants. Look for drought resistant plants if drought is common in your area. Improving soil conditions and irrigating efficiently also help reduce water consumption.

Also, add shut-off nozzeles to handheld hoses.

Irrigation System Settings

Make sure you are taking advantage of the programmable features on your irrigation system. Generally, it is better to water deeply but less frequently to encourage roots to go deeper. Schedule waterings in the early morning hours to reduce evaporation.

You’ll also want to periodically check to make sure you are not watering the road. Sprinkler heads can be knocked around by lawnmowers, kids and animals, pointing the water spray into the street, driveway, or other unintended place.

Also, during droughts, the city or state may come under water restrictions that limit how much and when you can water. Make sure that your system is setup for the appropriate days and times for permissible watering. Last thing you want to do is get a fine to offset all your savings!

Take Advantage of the Rain

First, turn off your irrigation system on days that it rains. I mean really, how many times have you laughed at people running the sprinklers when it is raining outside? Don’t be that person!

Second, take advantage of rain barrels in your garden. Collect rainwater for sunny days when you need to water your lawn or garden.

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Do You Have More Tips on Saving Money on Your Utility Bills?

I’d love to hear from you if you have more ways to reduce utility bills. Comment below!

And no, stealing power from your neighbor isn’t a good (or legal) option either!

4 thoughts on “All The Energy Saving Tips to Reduce Utility Bills

  1. I spent a few hours last week looking at alternate energy suppliers. Sadly it appears my state only allows you to shop electric supply, not gas. Unfortuanately other then two sketchy companies none of the providers would save me money. These two sketchy ones would save me three dollars or so a month. The question I have is are there times of year or situations in the energy market where the gap would widen?

    1. My state has quite a bit of competition in the natural gas market. I don’t see a whole lot of variance between companies on a month to month basis. The best rates are like with the cable companies for new customers only. Some also give bonuses waiving the monthly base fee, frequent flier miles, and even pro sports team tickets. Existing customers get very few deals. They definitely do not reward loyalty around here.

      I try to time the switch to take advantage of the short promo periods to be at the height of summer or winter to maximize the savings.

  2. I live in the mountains in the north east, so heating is a much bigger cost than cooling. We only use ac at night in July and Aug. Our heating bill can cost $2k per year in a small house. Every fall I have the furnace serviced, added extra insulation, keep the thermostat set at 62, and dress for the season. Thanks for all the useful tips.

    1. I’m in the southeast, so it is definitely keeping cool in the dead of summer that drives up my utility bills. My average power bill (natural gas is separate for hot water heater, gas fireplace, stovetop, and furnace) is $226.51 but that ranges from a low of $107 to a high of $481. And way more house than I need. It’s mostly the air conditioner though. I’m like the stereotypical dad in all the stories — fighting to raise the temperatures as the kids come behind me to turn them down lower. Except I’m a girl and have no kids. Just some part-time roommates. Sigh.

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