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Monday, December 14, 2009

New Years Resolution Part 2- Saving on your utilities

Did you know that the average American family spends between 6 and 12% of their income on utilities? Las Vegans in particular spend around 12% on average due to our excessively hot summers. Based on our hypothetical family of 4 with a $40,000 a year income, using the tips mentioned below you could shave 3% or $1200 off your annual utility bills, that would surely pay for a nice family vacation or further improvements to the energy efficiency of your home, which could be a tax write off as well.
Water: If it's yellow let it mellow is not the only way to save on your water bill. By simply installing an aerator ( around $3.00 at Home Depot) you can cut the gallons/minute on your faucets without sacrificing water pressure, from 2-3 to1/2 a gallon. If you have leaky toilets you are wasting upwards of 200 gallons of water and a drippy faucet 2700 gallons. Make sure everything is in good working order . Forget about using the dishwasher or washing machine when it's half full, load them up and run them to save thousands of gallons every year.
Electricity: You don't have to read by candlelight to save on electricity , there are some easy ways to cut down on your electric usage. Unplug everything that's not actively in use. Gadget chargers continue to draw energy even when your gadgets aren't charging. Do you need to keep the TV plugged in when no one is watching it? How about the toaster, coffee pot, or that alarm clock in a spare bedroom ? Do a room by room assessment of your home and unplug anything not being used. Did you know that there is not a clothes drier in the world that can earn an energy star label ? They are the worst energy users in your house, so stop using them ! Hang clothes on a clothes rack in your bathtub and use the drier to fluff clothes if necessary or in emergencies.
Gas: Check your water heater. Set it on 125 ( if it's hotter than that) , and if it's built before 2004 buy it a jacket. Wash clothes on cold and turn the thermostat down 1 degree in winter. Lowering your thermostat by just 1 degree can save you 5% on your bill ! Seal all windows in winter and invest in socket plugs, the kind you buy to keep little fingers away from electrical outlets . This will cut down on drafts. Speaking of drafts, make sure your doors' weather stripping are doing their jobs . Do you have rooms that are not in use? Close the vents and doors to these rooms so you don't have to heat or cool them.
To save money on all these things, and this is the easiest tip to implement of them all, use a cash back credit card to set up auto billing. If your debit card does not have a cash back program try signing up for a PayPal debit card, which is free and will earn you 1% cash back or $400 a year.
Aside from the money you'll save , being frugal with your utilities is one easy way to help with conservation of resources for everyone. Aside from purchasing an aerator ( $3) all these methods are free to implement and could save you and the planet . Once you have saved your money, consider making larger investments in your home's energy efficiency, from solar panels ( getting off the grid) to a tankless water heater, you could save even more money and have your investment pay for it's self in money saved.

1 comment:

Thanks for the input.
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