Utilities are something you can’t go without, but they likely account for a major share of your monthly budget. According to the Department of Energy (DOE), the average family in the U.S. spends more than $2,000 per year on utility bills, but many households pay even more. The good news is there are many ways to reduce your energy costs and save hundreds per month on your utility bills. The staff at American Tri-Star San Diego, homeowners insurance providers you can trust, offers a few suggestions.
Stay on Top of HVAC Maintenance
Your heating and cooling costs likely represent a major expense every month. If your air conditioner and heating system aren’t maintained, you may be throwing away hundreds of dollars every season. Preventative maintenance of your HVAC system is an effective way to reduce your energy costs and extend the life of one of your home’s major systems. Depending on the system, maintenance can reduce your HVAC energy costs between 5 and 40 percent.
Wash Clothes in Cold Water
Cold water gets clothes just as clean as hot water, but it uses a substantially lower amount of energy. According to Energy Star, nearly 90 percent of the power a washing machine uses goes toward heating water. When you consider that the average family does 400 loads of laundry every year, making the switch to cold water can add up. Use a detergent designed for cold water and remember to always wash full loads.
Lower Your Thermostat
You can save up to 10 percent per year on heating and cooling costs by lowering your thermostat 7 to 10 degrees F for 8 hours a day from your normal setting. In milder climates, the savings will be even more significant. In the summer, the DOE recommends a thermostat setting of 78 degrees F while you’re home. If you won’t be home during the day, set your thermostat a bit higher.
Replace Lightbulbs with LED
While LED bulbs are more expensive compared to CFL and incandescent light bulbs, they offer long-term energy savings and last much longer. The Consumer Federation of America has found that the average home can save $1,000 over 10 years by switching to LED, which works out to more than $8 per month. Halogen bulbs have a 10-year cost of almost $77 per bulb, just slightly lower than incandescent. The 10-year electricity cost for an LED bulb is just $17. LED bulbs also last 10 to 25 years compared to just one year with halogen and incandescent.
Turn Things Off When You Aren’t Using Them
Develop the habit of turning off ceiling fans and lights that aren’t being used. Even a single ceiling fan left running constantly can add $7 to your monthly electric bill. Lamps, overhead lights, electronics, and appliances should be turned off when not in use. Computers in standby mode can still draw electricity, so make sure they are completely turned off. You can use power strips or unplug appliances and TVs that aren’t in use to reduce standby loss.
You can also save money on your homeowners insurance if you have the right policy. Get in touch with American Tri-Star today to review your coverage. We also offer affordable auto insurance in San Diego. Call 619-272-2100 today to speak with one of our friendly agents and receive a free quote.