Free Ways to Reduce Your Utility Bills

Today’s post is a little bit outside of the realm of typical Two Girls Blog fodder. But, I’m super excited about it. You see, most of what I share here falls under the heading of “what I learned from trying {fill in the blank}”. But today is different. Today’s post is about something that I actually KNOW. This is what I’ve studied for years and what I get paid to do {well sort of anyway if you squint your eyes}. What i really do is participate in conference calls. But on a basic level, I know how to lower utility bills.

And that, dear readers, is how this post connects to the blog as a whole. One of our emphases is ‘Living on Less’, less money, less stuff, less waste. I want my time, money, and energy to be intentionally spent in areas that align with my beliefs and life goals, and not wasted on pointless ‘more’. So here are some ways to reduce what you send to the ole utility company every month. And they’re all free.

  • Turn hot water heater down.
  • This one is so simple. Try turning your water heater down to the lowest possible setting and leaving it there. The lowest setting may be labelled “vacation” or even a temperature like 120*F.

    20130708-150249.jpg
    If you start running out of hot water in the shower, then bump it up a bit until you don’t. But I’ve yet to live in a home where we needed it set higher than the minimum.

  • Turn your thermostat up.

  • This one is a little harder but will certainly save you more money especially in warm climates. When it’s hot outside, bump that thermostat up as high as you can and still be comfortable. Just wear a tank top and shorts in the house during the summer and that will help immensely. I catch myself thinking “it’s hot in here” and then realize I’m wearing jeans. And it’s waaaay cheaper to change clothes than to cool your whole house down.

  • Actually program your programmable thermostat.

  • This is related to the previous one obviously. If you do have a programmable thermostat, figure out how to program it and do it. Something like 50-60% of programmable thermostats aren’t programmed. And the program feature can really save you some bucks, especially if you are out of the house on a regular schedule.

    In the summer, set the temp to rise several degrees while you’re at work. If you don’t have a programmable model, you can do it manually but it’s much harder to remember day in and day out.

  • Use a clothesline to dry your laundry.

  • Bethany’s cracking up right now because we did this last time we lived together. But, that dryer costs about $1 per load. So from time to time, flex your pioneer woman muscles and line dry some of your laundry. Sheets and towels are particularly easy.

  • Wash your clothes in cold water.

  • Give this one a try for sure. If you’re still washing whites in hot water, my personal experience has been that it doesn’t actually matter. Cold water works just the same, and I don’t use that special cold water detergent either.

  • Use your microwave instead of the stove.

  • Generally the stove is cheaper than the oven, but the microwave is the cheapest. Whatever heats up the house the least is the cheapest because you have to pay twice for that heat – once to get it in the house and again to get it out via your air conditioning.

    That’s 5 or 6 tips to get you started. Oh, also, don’t forget to cut the lights off…

    I’ll post some other energy-centric posts in the coming months. As we get adjusted to our new house, we have a lot of energy efficiency tweaks to make and there will be a lot to share.

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    About Mary-Hall

    loyal southerner, exceedingly frugal, compulsive DIYer

    6 responses to “Free Ways to Reduce Your Utility Bills”

    1. Anonymous says :

      Momma Daniel thanks you for those tips – especially the picture of the hot water heater. I wanted to turn one down, but wasn’t sure how (duh!) 🙂
      Thanks!

      • Mary-Hall says :

        No prob Mrs D. Almost all tank hot water heaters have a similar dial.
        Now for tankless models, I’m not so sure…

        • bethanybordeaux says :

          I just checked out our tankless after seeing your comment, and it’s even more fool-proof. We have a little digital touch-pad that looks similar to our thermostat. Just press up or down to adjust and the temperature is displayed on the screen.

    2. Mary-Hall says :

      Bethany – just curious about that slick tankless model of yours, what do you have the temp set on? I have no experience with those but hope to in the near future!!

      • bethanybordeaux says :

        We have ours set to 120 degrees Farenheight…..we have the R94LS model by Rinnai and we love it. When we gutted our house, we simply didn’t have room in the new floor plan for the giant-tank variety plus we were doing this energy-efficiency grant program (more on that in another post) and putting in a tankless instead of the traditional style was one of the things we could do to get our rebate, so it seemed like a win/win…and we love it.

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