Utility bills aren’t cheap. On average, Americans spend more than $4,400 per year on gas, electric, water, and other home-related services. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help reduce that cost. We’ve compiled a list of some small changes that can really add up over time. Read on to find out how you can save money on utilities this year.

#1. Heating and Cooling

Heating and cooling your home accounts for more than half of the energy that you use. Reducing this cost can make a big impact.

    • Use a programmable thermostat. Set the temperature lower while you’re away from home and at night while you’re sleeping. Just make sure it is still comfortable for any pets you may have and that it’s warm enough to protect against frozen pipes.
    • Use fans. They cost less than your furnace or air conditioner and can help with both heating and cooling. For heat, adjust your ceiling fan so it turns clockwise. That will push warm air down. For cooling, switch it to turn counterclockwise to bring cool air down. In warmer months, try plugging in floor or pedestal fans rather than turning on your air.
    • Change the filters for forced air furnaces, heat pumps, and air conditioners. A clogged filter makes your system work harder, which is more expensive. 
    • Keep your room’s air vents clear and open. Your system also works harder when vents are closed or blocked by furniture. Use your vacuum’s brush attachment to clean any dust around the vent. The more your system can “breathe,” the more efficiently it will work.
    • Trim back bushes from your outside air conditioning unit. Remove debris touching the system. It needs at least a foot of space.
    • Seal air leaks around doors and windows. This helps keep warm air in during the winter and cool air in during the summer.
    • Check your attic’s duct work. It may be allowing warm or cool air out. Make sure you have proper insulation and that there are no air leaks at seals and joints.
    • Turn the heat or air off completely in the shoulder seasons. Run it only when it starts to get uncomfortably warm or cold. 


#2. Electricity and Lighting

The average electricity bill in the U.S. is $115 monthly. That’s nearly $1,400 a year. Fortunately, there are simple ways to reduce this cost.

    • Turn off lights when you are not using them. 
    • Change light bulbs to energy efficient varieties. Compact fluorescent light bulbs and LED bulbs are the most energy efficient. They cost more upfront but last longer and save energy. Pro Tip: If you don’t have the cash to replace them all at once just replace bulbs as they burn out.
    • The electric company charges more for peak use times, so try to use electricity at off peak hours. Run your dishwasher or do your laundry late at night or early in the morning to save some money.
    • Seal your electrical sockets so warm or cool air doesn’t escape.


#3. Appliances

We depend on our appliances to make life easier. However, by changing just a few of our habits, we can continue to use them and save money at the same time.

    • Turn off electronics that are plugged in but not being used. This includes TVs, computers, coffee makers, and toaster ovens. When these electronics are plugged in, they still draw electricity and you’re charged for it. 
    • Use appliances wisely. Wait until the dishwasher is full to run it, and do the same for your washing machine. Reduce stove or oven cooking time by thawing foods and cutting vegetables into small pieces.
    • Avoid opening the fridge to browse. Each time you do, you’re releasing cold air and forcing your refrigerator to work harder to get back to temperature. If you have a second refrigerator, in the garage for example, you’re paying twice. Get rid of it if you can.
    • Lower your water heater temperature. The default temperature is 140 degrees, but if you drop it down to 120, you’ll still have hot water and save money.
    • Do laundry in cold water.  It will save on hot water heating costs.
    • Clean the lint trap in your clothes dryer to help improve efficiency and prevent fires. Pro Tip: Use dryer balls, which can reduce drying time by up to 25%.
    • Replace old appliances. New appliances are more energy efficient and will save you money over time.


#4. Water

Your water bill depends upon where you live and how much water your family uses. Make sure to use your water wisely.

    • Replace old, inefficient toilets with more efficient brands. This will save you gallons of water and money on your bill.
    • Take shorter showers to cut down on your water use. Invest in a more efficient showerhead that uses less water.
    • Fix leaky faucets. A dripping faucet can add a lot to your bill for water you’re not even using.
    • Turn off hot water when you are not using it. This will help reduce water use and heat.
    • Set the water level on your washer to match the size of the load, so you’re not overfilling it.


#5. Phone, Internet, and Cable

If you’re like most Americans, you spend a lot for your phone, internet, cable, and other viewing services. You want to make sure that you get value for your money.

    • Ask your current provider for discounts. If they don’t provide them, shop around for cheaper providers. Call on a weekday. You’ll have a shorter hold time and probably reach a higher-level rep to help you. Pro Tip: Don’t say yes to the first offer. Most likely, you’ll then be offered a better deal.
    • Determine which services you really need and cut those that you don’t use.
    • Buy your own equipment rather than renting it. You’ll save money in the long term.

You also can lower your home insurance costs. At California Casualty, we offer discounts for nurses, educators, and first responders and through bundling your coverages. Contact your insurer to find out more.



This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.

California Casualty

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