5 Things That Are Wrecking Your Utility Bill (and How to Fix Them)

Family Finances, Planning & Saving, Real Estate
on January 7, 2015
Fireplace Utilities
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Baby, it’s cold outside. So you crank up the heat and bundle under the blankets. But those cold weather habits, along with the structure your house, might be driving up energy consumption, which in turn drives up those utility bills. Are you falling victim to any of these energy killers?

Windows/ Poor insulation

Old windows and poor insulation let cold air creep into your house. Installing energy-efficient windows, filling in wall and doorframe cracks, and insulating thin walls help keep the warm air in and the cold out. These changes may cost a pretty penny upfront, but save energy and major cash in the long run. These fixes are a long-term investment in personal comfort, help to lower energy bills and add to resale value of your home.

Water Heaters

Outdated water heaters use more energy and tend to break more often than newer models. If replacing an old bulky heater, consider switching to an instant or tankless system, as they only heat water when needed and add to the resale value of the house.

The Thermostat

The U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting the thermostat to 68 degrees Fahrenheit when awake and lower when sleeping or away from the home. If your thermostat tends to get testy, a smart or programmable thermostat might be worth considering.

Fireplaces

Who doesn’t love to curl up by the fire on a cold winter evening? We get it. And hey, it’s an inexpensive alternative to turning up the thermostat way up. But if you keep the fireplace damper open when the fire isn’t running, warm air can escape rapidly through the chimney. And always remember, when using the fireplace, to lower the thermostat and keep heat confined to the room by closing doors.

Electrical Appliances

Saving energy and money can start with a simple switch—literally. Remembering to turn off lights when leaving a room for long periods of time, using timers or motion detection, and unplugging appliances that draw energy even when turned off are easy ways to conserve electricity.

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