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About Niche Topics

Niche Topics (Money and Lifestyle) is about helping you manage your finances so that you live comfortably within your means. We share frugal living ideas such as save money around the house, cheap to make recipes, budget-friendly solutions for everyday living, recycling crafts, helpful hints to buy things without getting burned, and many more!

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10 Ways to Lower Utility Bill




By Robert Banks

The average American household spends about $2,150 annually on utility bills. I know of some families that have to deal with $300 or more utility bill every month and that's really a huge expense.

Of course, we all could probably save considerable amount of money on our utilities if only we could afford the newest and most energy efficient appliances such as heaters, air conditioners, refrigerators and dishwashers. However, not many have a large budget to replace all existing electrical appliances in the house. By making a few easy changes to your home, you could reduce utility bill by 10 to 50 percent.

How to Save on Utilities

1. Dark curtains and good covering blinds are important and could reduce your utility bills significantly. In the summer, you could keep the curtains or blinds closed so as to cool the house and in the winter, open them for some natural heating from the sun.


2. Trees can be really be helpful in lowering energy consumption. You might want to consider planting deciduous trees (trees that lose their leaves in the winter) around your home. This will help to keep your home cool in the summer, and also allow through in the cold winter months. On patio, potted plants and trees can also prevent sunlight from reaching your house in the summer.


3. The next time when you need to repaint or replace your siding or roof, be sure to pick white or light colors. Although it may not help a great deal, it's an absolute no-cost way to cut utility bill. For roofing options, a white metal roof gives the best benefit.


4. Sure, CFLs are a little pricier, but you save more in the long run. CFLs use 75% less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer! Did you know that by replacing just 4 well-used 100-watt bulbs with equivalent 23-watt CFLs, you actually save $108 over a period of 3 years?


5. Turn off the lights. Need I say more? However, gentle reminders every once in a while don't hurt. If there's no one in the room or a light isn't being used, turn it off. Kids are the greatest offenders in most families so be sure to remind them. And, if this good habit is hard to get into, it's a good idea to install timers on all of your lights. You also want to shut down every computer in the house when not in use. You save money and also lengthen the life of your computer's fan unit.


6. You may want the electric company come out to your house for a maintenance and evaluation of your meter. Making sure that your meter is reading accurately can save you close to $100 a year. Although this doesn't seem like a big saving, but don't forget every little bit counts.


7. Wash your clothes in cold water, and in the evening or at night since energy costs are lower during those hours. The same applies to washing dishes. That’s a really easy way to cut utilities.


8. You also need to clean or replace air conditioner and furnace filters at least once per month. A dirty filter makes these appliances work much harder, using more energy and costing you more money.


9. An air conditioner uses a lot of electricity when it runs. During the summer, you can save big by raising the set temperature to 78 degrees F or higher so that the air conditioner will run less. During the winter, turn the set temperature down. Every degree you lower a thermostat's set temperature will save you 3% of energy costs over a 24-hour period.


10. Last but not least, you may also want to replace older refrigerators with new models since they're one of the biggest energy-users. When purchasing refrigerators, look out for yellow tags and an “Energy Star" label.

And, the best place for your refrigerator is a cool, shady spot away from heat sources such as furnaces or ovens and don't forget to leave at least a 2-inch gap around the back and each side of the refrigerator since nearby heat makes your refrigerator work harder and use more energy to run. Also, always cool your food before you keep them in the refrigerator and never over stuff. That way, you can reduce utilities by quite a far bit.



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how to lower utility bill