8 tips for saving money on your utility bills

Canada Life - Mar 15, 2022
There are many ways to reduce utility costs -- these are just a few
Woman fixing up home.

Making small changes, can add up to big savings on your bills. These practices not only help you spend less on your utilities but can reduce your environmental footprint. As well, understanding the breakdown of your utility expenses can help you save money. For example, did you know heating and air conditioning make up around 50% of your energy bill?

1) Clean air filters and air ducts help save you money on energy

Air ducts supply warm or cold air throughout your house to heat, ventilate and cool each room. Cleaning your air ducts and air vent filters of debris can improve the entire system’s efficiency. When the air vent filters get clogged with dust, pet hair and dirt the airflow is weakened. As a result, your furnace or air conditioning must work harder to circulate air ultimately spiking your electric bill.

  • Tip: avoid covering air vents with furniture, leave space to increase airflow.
  • Change your air vent filters roughly every 30 days for less expensive fiberglass filters or opt for higher end filters which can last up to 6 months.
  • Clean your air ducts every two to three years to avoid maintenance and health issues before they arise, experts advise. Pet owners or people with allergies, on the other hand, should have their air ducts cleaned more often.

2) Adjust your thermostat throughout the day

A simple and cost-effective way to reduce your energy expenses is to adjust your thermostat. The lower the heating temperature you select, the more money you'll save. When you lower the temperature from 21 to 16° C at night or when you’re not at home, you may save up to 10% on electricity. If adjusting the temperature yourself seems like a hassle, try a programmable thermostat. The new temperature control could save $180 per year if used correctly, according to Energy Star. For tech geeks, check out a smart thermostat. It learns from your behaviors and the temperature adjustments you make to heat and cool your home on its own.

3) Use blackout window coverings strategically

Blackout blinds and curtains help prevent heat loss and gain. In winter, they can trap heat in to help rooms stay warmer. In summer, blackout blinds can help lower your energy bill by blocking sunlight and keeping heat out. This is a useful way to cut costs during the hottest days when you’re using air conditioning. Blackout drapery also helps protect hardwood floors from sun damage, improve quality of sleep and reduce noise pollution. 

4) Run your appliances at night or off-peak hours

Consider doing your chores at night or during off-peak hours and days. Off-peak is when electricity and water prices are lowest, usually between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. on weekdays, and during weekends and holidays. Running your washing machine, dryer, and dishwasher during off-peak times are easy ways to reduce your utility bills. Consult your utility providers for exact rates.

5) Take shorter showers

Shorter showers save not only water but also on energy that’s required to heat the water. On average each minute spent in the shower amounts to 2 gallons of water. You could save up to 4,000 gallons of water each year by cutting your shower time by four minutes. This could save you roughly $100 each year on your utility cost.

6) Don’t let your water run and flick off your light switches

Turn off your water when shaving, soaping up, washing hands, and brushing teeth to reduce water waste. Remembering to turn off lights when they aren’t needed can add up to savings.

7) Wash your laundry in cold water

The washing machine uses about 75 to 90% of its energy to heat water during laundry. If you switch to warm or cold water for washing, you cut a load’s energy use in half and can lower your gas or electric bill. To ensure your laundry gets clean, opt for cold water detergent or look for high-efficiency laundry detergents which are designed to wash items with less water.

8) Hang dry instead

Air drying your laundry outside or on a drying rack is a great way to avoid using a dryer altogether. Not to mention, air drying clothing helps preserve the elasticity and the colour of your garments as well.

There are many ways to reduce utility costs -- these are just a few. Try implementing a few to spend less on utilities, so you can save more on things that matter, contact me to discuss other small changes you can make to manage your finances.