Guest post by Sara Aisenberg.
As homeowners, we’re innocent bystanders as we watch the cost of living skyrocket and the economy continue to plummet — or not get any better, at least. As a result, many of us are making changes to the way we live. Whether the changes you make include clipping coupons, eating at home more or driving instead of flying on family vacations, there are both small and big ways to cut down on how much money you spend on a regular basis. The same can be said of utility bills. As such, the following five ways will help you save money on your utilities each month — beyond simply turning off lights and unplugging appliances.
1. Paint your roof white.
A study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Heat Island Group concluded that in sunny, warm climates, buildings with white roofs require up to 40 percent less energy to remain cool than those with dark-colored roofs. By “painting” your roof white with an elastomeric coating, which can be found in most hardware stores, you could save roughly $200 each year in cooling costs.
2. Install an irrigation meter.
Most people aren’t aware that we’re charged twice for the water we use each month: once to pump it into the house and again to pump it out as sewage. Water used to water the lawn, however, never makes it into the sewer system. To make sure that you only pay for the sewer capacity you use, check with your utility provider to see if you can get a separate meter to measure water usage for irrigation (lawn and garden care, swimming pools, etc.). If your utility company offers this service, the irrigation meter will be read each month by a utility worker, and its reading will be subtracted from your sewage bill.
On the same note, make sure that you’re only being charged for the utilities you use. How? By comparing the reading on your meter to the meter reading on your utility bill.
3. Upgrade your appliances.
Although it will cost you a chunk of change upfront, upgrading your appliances to more energy-efficient models will pay off in the long run. In fact, many governments agencies and utility companies offer tax incentives and rebate programs to those who upgrade — just be sure to file a proof of purchase.
4. Use a programmable thermostat.
To conserve dollars spent on cooling and heating your home, invest in a programmable thermostat that heats and cools your house based on your family’s schedule. The EPA estimates that the average homeowner can save approximately $180 per year with a properly programmed unit.
5. Wash clothes in cold water.
Although hot water should be used to deep clean and sterilize clothing and other items, cold water will more-than-adequately clean the average load of laundry. Because the average American family does approximately 400 laundry loads each year, and because 90 percent of the energy the washing machine uses goes to heating the water, switching to cold water can really add up. On the same note, turn off the heated drying option your dishwasher. Instead, let your dishes air dry.
Shop around for the best price on utilities in your local area, and implement these tactics in your home. Over the next few months, watch your utility bill fall little by little. At the end of the year, calculate your savings. It’s likely that you will have saved at least a few hundred dollars.
Sara Aisenberg is the executive writer for SuretyBonds.com, an online insurance agency. Sara has experience writing about a variety of topics, including business, entrepreneurship, utility company bonding, Internet marketing and more.
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