It’s no secret inflation has skyrocketed, and chances are, you’re looking for ways to lower your monthly expenses. Maybe you’re trying to eat out less or save gas by biking to work. Regardless, you probably need more than a few hacks. What about your utility bills?
Often, people assume their utility bills are somewhat set in stone. After all, you’d have to live like a survivalist to significantly cut back on your energy and water use, right? Wrong. There are many easy changes you can make to dramatically lower your utility bills. From washing your clothes in cold water to shutting down electronics, here are a few tips you should consider adopting:
1. Choose Renewable Energy
If you haven’t already heard, going solar can save you a lot of money on your monthly power bill. With solar installation, you can produce enough energy to drastically reduce your electricity costs. MarketWatch reports that homeowners can expect to save roughly $1,350 on energy bills annually. Given that solar panels are increasingly warrantied for 25-30 years, that’s up to $40,000 savings over the life of your system. Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not.
It’s important to note that going solar won’t completely eliminate your electric bill. That’s due to various factors like your daily energy usage and utility service charges. Not to mention, solar panels need sunlight to work. Unless you install battery storage, you’ll need to rely on grid power on stormy days or during the evening. Even with these caveats, though, there’s no denying solar panels can meaningfully lower your monthly costs.
2. Shut Things Down
Do you sleep with the television on? Do you forget to turn off the lights when you head out of the house? You may not realize how much leaving things on impacts your utility bill. In addition to switching off your lights and TV, make sure to power down your electronics when you’re done using them. Whether that’s your computer or a game console, unplug devices to keep from using even small amounts of energy.
As a hack, plug your most-used chargers (like your phone and laptop chargers) into a power strip. That way, you only have to flip a switch for everything to be turned off. If you haven’t already, consider putting your electronics in hibernate mode. This way, they’ll turn themselves off when they sense inactivity so you won’t have to remember.
3. Wash Clothes With Cold Water
Do you wash your clothes with hot or cold water? If you answered “hot,” that may explain your high utility bills. There’s a common misconception that hot water cleans clothes better than cold water. While some heavily soiled items may require hot or warm water, your average load doesn’t. Contrary to popular belief, cold water can leave your clothes as clean and fresh-smelling as hot water does.
As for getting rid of stains, cold water is as effective on most food and beverage stains as hot water is. And if you skinned an elbow and bled on your favorite shirt, cold water is even better than hot for removing it. Why, then, would you continue to wash clothes in hot water? Using cold water reduces water heating costs, lowering your utility bill. Additionally, since cold water is gentler on fibers, you can extend the life of your favorite clothes: win-win.
4. Use Your Appliances at Full Capacity
Chances are, you’re guilty of running your dishwasher before it’s completely full. When you really want your favorite coffee mug, running a third-full dishwasher overnight may not seem like a big deal. But the dishwasher uses the same amount of energy regardless of how many dishes, cups, and spoons it contains. That means your frequent, semi-full loads could be costing you serious money.
So rather than running the appliance whenever you want, wait until your dishwasher is full. The same goes for other appliances like your washer and dryer. A good hack is to pretend that you’re paying for each load as if you were at a laundromat. You wouldn’t spend $2 to wash and dry a couple of socks, would you? Exactly.
5. Shorten Your Showers
One of the easiest ways to lower your utility bills is by taking shorter showers. Sure, that may be difficult, especially if you consider your morning shower the equivalent of a mini spa day. But cutting off even a few minutes could make a big impact on your utilities. A 10-minute shower uses about 150 liters of water, which translates to about 40 gallons. Every extra minute shows itself on your water bill, and that’s not even accounting for the energy used to heat it.
So put on a peppy morning playlist and challenge yourself to turn off the tap after three songs or less. To further cut costs, install a water-efficient showerhead. These work by restricting the water flow and increasing the water pressure. While you’re not getting as much water with these showerheads, you shouldn’t notice a difference thanks to the higher water pressure. These changes may seem small, but they can yield a noticeable difference in your utility bills.
It’s not just you — everyone is feeling the impact of high inflation. And while you don’t have much say in how much things cost, you can control how you spend your money. That’s especially true when it comes to your utility bills, so embrace these tips to start bringing them under control.