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Ways to Save on Utilities

Updated on November 6, 2015
Efficient Admin profile image

Efficient Admin (aka Michelle) is always looking for ways to save money and not waste it on things that will not matter two months from now.

You can reduce your housing expense by following a few practical tips with the utilities.
You can reduce your housing expense by following a few practical tips with the utilities. | Source

Foam Inserts which fit behind the electric socket plates. Use on a wall which faces the outdoors.

The top two items are the actual electrical socket plates.  The three items below are the foam inserts. You can see they come in different styles to match your cover plate.
The top two items are the actual electrical socket plates. The three items below are the foam inserts. You can see they come in different styles to match your cover plate. | Source

Establishing small habits: every small step helps in the long-run

  • Don't watch TV much? Cut the cord to cable and research the right TV antenna for you. I just bought a new indoor HD Antenna and hooked it up to my HDTV and now I get channels I didn't even knew existed -- last night movies such as St. Elmo's Fire and Ghosts of Mississippi were playing and I didn't have to pay a dime. The picture on some of the channels come in clearer than what cable offered. A few websites to start with are Antennas Direct and TV Antenna Sales.
  • Buy a steam mop. You will never need chemicals to clean your floors again and this machine will clean any type of floor. All you need is water and won't have to pay for expensive floor cleaners again.
  • Never leave unneeded appliances running, such as curling irons, space heaters, iron, lights, oven, or the clothes dryer. Not only will this waste money on your utility bills, it is also a safety hazard.
  • Don’t overdry clothes and remove promptly. You may not need to set the Dryer timer for the full cycle. I like to set it about halfway and my clothes dry just fine. Experiment with your dryer and keep in mind like items dry better. For more delicate or business attire clothes, let them air dry on a hanger. They will be just fine.
  • Fix leaky faucets. You will save money on your water bill, and it is also a way you can do your part to conserve water which we all take for granted at times.
  • If at all possible, run appliances in the evening at lower peak times.
  • Take a look at your electrical socket covers. Get a screwdriver and take the plate off the wall. There are foam inserts you can buy at Lowe's or Home Depot which will stop cold or hot air from leaking into your home from your electrical sockets. This applies to those sockets which are on a wall facing the outside, and they are very easy to install and very cheap to buy.

Use the Air Dry Feature on your dishwasher and always run with a full load.

If the dishes are not heavily soiled, the pre-wash container does not need to be filled, saving you money on dishwasher soap since it will not have to be replaced as often.
If the dishes are not heavily soiled, the pre-wash container does not need to be filled, saving you money on dishwasher soap since it will not have to be replaced as often. | Source

Which of the following was the biggest waste of money you ever accomplished?

See results
  • If practical wash clothes in cold water, and hang clothes on a line to dry. Some items I believe may need hot water such as underclothes, towels, and sheets. I wash business clothes in cold water and my electric bill stays about the same when using the hot water. Again, you may have to experiment with your appliances to see what works best for you.
  • Choose the Air Dry feature on your dishwasher. The dishes should dry just fine and will not use as much electricity. When the dishwasher stops running, try not to open the door until the next morning. I have tried this with mine and notice if I do not open the door until the next morning, the coffee cups have less streaks on them. Weird but true.
  • If your dishes are not heavily soiled, skip filling the prewash section in your dishwasher. The dishes will come out clean without prewash. You can save a lot of dishwasher detergent, which will save money in the long run because you won't have to restock it as often.
  • Cover liquids and wrap foods in the refrigerator. Leaving room for cold air to circulate around the wrapped foods helps be more efficient. Uncovered food makes the compressor work harder.
  • Never run the dishwasher for just a few dishes. Load up a full load of dishes, but hand wash large pots and pans to save room in the dishwasher.

Maintenance goes a long way

Change your furnace filter every month. Even if you have those three-month allergy HEPA filters that claim they last three months before changing - change your filter every month. That is the advise I received from two different HVAC technicians.

  • Set the water heater to the lowest possible economical level. Some cities have code where 120°F is code.
  • If your home can accommodate a tankless water heater, try installing one for savings. The electrical outlets must be able to handle this appliance and you may want to check with local county codes (your plumber should know this information).
  • In the winter keep the thermometer between 68-70°F and in the summer between 78-80°F. Every degree you raise in summer results in 3% in cost.
  • Caulk around your doors and windows to stop drafts coming into your home in the summer and winter.
  • Inspect the door gasket on your refrigerator. Close it on a $1.00 bill. If you can pull out the $1.00 bill then you need a new gasket.
  • Shred newspaper and use in the flower beds under mulch. The plants will use and need less water.
  • Check if a bundle service will offer savings for all your television, internet, and telephone needs. This can also work for your home and auto insurance needs as well to get a discount.

Have You Ever Done Anything Stupid With Money:

  • Turn off lights as you leave the room.
  • Utilize ceiling fans during both the summer and winter.
  • Turn off the water while you brush your teeth and keep showers as brief as possible.
  • Bathe your children at the same time, permitting they are young enough.
  • Shower with your spouse/partner.
  • Purchase energy-saving fluorescent bulbs. Check with your local electric company to see if they offer and sell them to the public. Compact fluorescent light bulbs use 50-75% less energy.
  • Apply weather stripping to the doors and windows.
  • Reuse old socks, dish towels, and dish rags for cleaning and dusting.
  • Find a good cell phone plan and get rid of the landline phone, or keep landline and use cell for emergencies only. If you are consistently going over your cell phone minutes or find you are consistently never using your minutes, you may be in the wrong plan. This may be costing you. Call Customer Service to get information for a plan that better fits your needs. If you are overpaying $20 a month, that adds up to $240 per year. AAA offers lower cost cell phones plans such as Affinity Cellular for AAA members. AARP offers lower cost cell phone plans such as Consumer Cellular if you are a member of AARP.

© 2014 Efficient Admin

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      All great suggestions. The key was in the first subheading...establishing small habits that will pay off over the long haul.

      Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    • Efficient Admin profile image
      Author

      Efficient Admin 2 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      Hello Billybuc - thank you for stopping by and commenting. I hope you have a safe and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I hope we all have a Blessed 2015!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      These are good tips, especially the one about sockets. I sure wish I could find a practical alternative to replace cable. I really want access to local CBS, NBC, and ABC stations (not delayed a day) and CNN. The rest I can do without and make up on Netflix, etc.

    • Efficient Admin profile image
      Author

      Efficient Admin 2 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      FlourishAnyway - you could try the HD antenna to get all the free channels in your area with no charge which usually includes the networks, but unfortunately that would not include CNN. Technology is always changing so perhaps in the near future we will have more options that will not cost a fortune. Thank you for reading and for your comments.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      i agree your tips helped me out especially leaving the appliances running is a stupid way

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