How I Cut My Utility Bill In Half (In The Middle of Winter)

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Not all of us want to live off grid, but I am sure most people would be happy to pay less on their utility bills. I am going to list the steps my household took to cut our bill nearly in half. I will also add other helpful suggestions to bring down the charges on the other bills. Some are not noticeable (meaning completely painless changes), some require being mindful, some will be a bit of a sacrifice and some will take money to save money. Conserving energy is about more than just lowering your costs, it is about saving valuable resources which should make you feel warm and fuzzy (even if you did just turn down your thermostat a couple of degrees!)*

  1. Turn off lights when leaving a room
  2. Turn off electronics such as computers and televisions when not in use
  3. Unplug the beer fridge
  4. Keep the main fridge and freezer set to the appropriate temperatures as per the manufacturer and filled to capacity
  5. Unplug the microwave when not in use
  6. Place the electronics in the home theatres on a surge protector and turn it off when not using the equipment

 

Yup, that is it. Just six changes brought down the Hydro bill by HALF! So I was thinking, what else could we do to lower our committed expenses? Here are more ideas to spend less! These ideas focus on lowering the gas bill, the water bill and the electric bill only.

  • Turn down the hot water tank a few degrees
  • Use an insulated hot water tank blanket (you can get them at the hardware store)
  • Turn down the furnace (we are in the middle of December and have yet to turn the heat up past 14 degrees)
    • Use hot water bottles to keep beds warm
    • wear socks and slippers in the house
    • put on extra layers
    • use blankets
    • drink warm beverages
    • wear wool (natural fibres work better to keep you comfortable than synthetics)
    • get cleaning! Physical exertion will make you feel warmer
  • Use carpets or throw rugs to insulate floors
  • Stop drafts by sealing leaks around doors, windows, electrical sockets, vents and attics
  • If you have numerous ways to heat your home, choose the least costly option
  • Use heavy drapes to keep cold out at night and open them during the day to take advantage of passive solar energy
  • Cover windows or doors with blankets to block drafts and insulate
  • Switch light bulbs to LED as they use the least amount of power
  • Do you really need that light on? Limit the amount of electricity you use, including watching less TV
  • Charge laptops and cellphones only as necessary and if you can, do it in the car. Do not overcharge and unplug after use
  •  Dry loads of clothes back to back to keep dryer drum warm, or better yet hang clothes to dry. Another option is a junction box installed on the exhaust pipe that directs warm dryer air into the house in winter and outside during summer. This can be bought at the hardware store and installed with limited tools
  • Wash and dry only full loads of clothes. Do not over fill. Use only cold water for washing
  • Wash dishes in dishwasher only when load is full
  • Air dry dishes rather than using the dishwasher heat setting
  • Close heat vents to rooms you are not using (just make sure they are dry and get enough air circulation to not get moldy)
  • Heat only the rooms you are in at that moment with space heaters
  • Have candlelight dinners more often or watch TV in the dark
  • Use electric tea kettles to boil water rather than the stove top and boil only the water you need
  • Make use of crock pots or toaster ovens that use less power
  • If you do use the oven cook multiple items at the same time and make sure to leave the oven door open after you are done cooking to make use of the heat to warm the kitchen
  • Use tools that do not require electricity. Example: Instead of an electric blender use a manual egg beater. There are many non-electric tools. Read books instead of using E-readers. Every time you unplug you save
  • Flush your toilet less. “If it’s yellow, let it mellow, if it’s brown, flush it down”. Use something to displace water in your toilet tank to waste less with every flush. Use grey water from your tub or bathroom sink to flush
  • Play board games rather than computer games
  • Go outside to play. You will use less utilities if you are not at home
  • Don’t keep the fridge door open while deciding what you want to eat
  • Don’t leave the water running when you lather your hands of brush your teeth
  • Catch rainwater to water plants outdoors
  • Get rid of your lawn so you don’t need to water at all
  • If you have to water your plants outside, water when it is not as hot and use watering systems that reduce evaporation. Also mulch or make rainwater gardens
  • Sweep hard floors rather than vacuuming
  • If you have a fireplace, learn to build a more efficient fire that burns better
  • Take shorter showers and turn off water when lathering
  • If you take a bath, don’t fill the bathtub right up
  • Buy appliances that are more energy-efficient
  • If you wash dishes by hand, figure out ways to reduce your water usage
  • Don’t wash clothes that are not dirty. Things like pants and even shirts can be worn more than once without washing. See if they are dirty before tossing them in the machine. Use bath towels more than once and hang them up to dry
  • Rinse dishes right away so you use less water to clean them. Caked on residue takes more water to come clean
  • Use cast iron for cooking. Often you do not need to wash your pan with every use
  • Don’t toss water used to boil veggies, save it for soups or toss in garden
  • Rearrange furniture in rooms to take advantage of natural light
  • Have a “power outage” night in and use candles and do things that require no energy
  • Use solar power to dry clothes on a line, cook food in a solar oven, dehydrate in a solar dehydrator. Not all solar power needs fancy equipment to reap the benefits. Things such as sun tea are an easy way to use free energy
  • Vacuum  your fridge coils, furnace vents and dryer vent hose regularly, make sure you change your furnace filter too
  • Have no cook meals like salad, sandwiches or wraps, veggies and dip or cold soup

There are lots of ways to make small changes that benefit everyone. We assume electricity is just there for the using, but it had to be created. Even with more natural methods like hydroelectric, fossil fuels play a role. When we turn on the water there seems to be an infinite amount, so much so that we flush our toilets with potable water, but many place around the globe are parched. As a global community it is our responsibility to reduce our consumption of resources.

Every little change can make a cumulative and positive impact.

What do you do to save?

 

*Some of the suggestions listed here will affect the gas or other bills rather than the electric bill depending on how your home uses incoming utilities

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