10 Easy Ways to Lower Your Utility Bills

A recent NAHB survey* shows that home owners want to save money on their utility bills.  So Puyallup home builder Soundbuilt Homes compiled these 10 easy ways home owners can reduce their utility expenses, keep more money in their pockets, conserve energy and reduce their carbon footprint. 

Several of our staff recently attended the NAHB IBS in Las Vegas and as you would expect, we found many products that promise to save home buyers money on utility costs.  As technology continues to improve, products that save home owners money on utility costs will become increasingly available in the form of lower priced products and construction materials as well as energy-conserving improved products and materials.

We continually strive to include the best materials and products in all of our new home developments in King County, Pierce County and Thurston County and to incorporate as many “green” and energy star appliances and materials as possible.

This doesn’t just save our home owners money on utility bills, it also helps to reduce the impact on the environment overall.  We look forward to continuing to bring innovations into the Puget Sound new home construction market that improves efficiencies and reduces utility costs for home owners – especially for owners of new homes in King, Pierce and Thurston counties built by Soundbuilt Homes.

10 Ways to Save Money on Your Home Utility Bills

Short of a complete renovation or the purchase of a brand new home filled with energy star appliances and energy-saving insulation, lighting and other products and materials, here are 10 things you can do to lower your utility bills each month:

1.  Go without a landline.

Let’s face it, most of us are part of the mobile society. Sales of mobile devices including smartphones and iPhones now outpace sales of computers.  Consider going without a landline telephone line to save money.

2.  Bundle up.

Several digital satellite TV and cable providers offer options for bundled utilities (such as phone, internet and TV).  There’s no reason for you to pay for these items separately anymore!

3.  Turn stuff off.

Remember when mom scolded you for leaving the light on when you left a room?  Turning your computer off, instead of leaving it on standby could be costing you upwards $50 per year all by itself.  Turn things off and unplug chargers when not in use.  Other energy-users that could be turned completely off (you may have to unplug) include televisions, receivers and other electronic devices.

4.  Consider low flow.

Low flow shower heads and faucet aerators cost just a few dollars each but can save you hundreds – literally – in utility costs. Energy Star (a joint program of the US Dept of Energy and the EPA) estimate this can conserve water and reduce hot water costs by as much as 50%.

5.   Take control.

Leaving the heat set to 70 during night time hours when you’re toasty warm under covers, during the day when you’re gone or when away for an overnight, weekend or vacation is costing you, needlessly.  Get and use a programmable thermostat to create a more energy efficient home, reduce your utility bills and be even more comfortable environment in your home.

6.  Set it but don’t forget it.

Set your water heater to 120 degrees.  The EPA estimates that hot water heaters set at 140 degrees or higher waste from $40-60 per year in standby heat losses.  To save even more on your monthly utility bills, turn your water heater off or down when you go on vacation.

7.  Don’t forget your filters.

Forgo the convenience of disposable HVAC filters for less expensive over time and more environmentally friendly permanent ones and don’t forget to check them per manufacturers recommendations.  Dirty filters may mean higher utility bills or worse – result in broken down appliances.

8.  Got leaks?

Leaky window frames and door frames where hot air (or cold) can seep out means higher heating and cooling bills. The EPA estimates that when the average home owner adds up all of the small leaks in their home, it has the same environmental and utility cost as if they’d left a window open all year long. Leaky faucets inside and out mean higher water bills and could result in costly water damage if left unchecked, as well.

9.  Do a double take.

Get in the habit of checking your own utility meters to watch for signs that your home could be using more energy than it should (and racking up big utility bills in the process).  And double check your utility bills to be sure that meter readers aren’t making mistakes or overcharging you for energy you didn’t use.

10.   Buy ENERGY STAR© certified products.

It’s easy to find energy star certified product choices for just about any type of appliance you’ll use in your home, and it’s not just about the big appliances, it’s little ones, like light bulbs, too.

It all adds up. A few pennies here and there turns into dollars, and a few dollars here and there can quickly turn into hundreds or even thousands of dollars spent on utilities each year when simple measures could have helped home owners reduce their energy bills.

BONUS: Want to save even more money on utility expenses each month?

The state of Washington offers incentives and rebates for many different types of renovations Puget Sound home owners engage in and even for some of the appliances you may already be planning to buy.  Check out DSIRE, the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency for a list of residential incentives provided for Washington State home owners who want to save money on their utility bills.

*NAHB stands for National Association of Home Builders – http://www.nahb.org
*IBS stands for International Builders Show – http://www.buildersshow.com