As we are all staying home during the current coronavirus pandemic, one potentially unexpected consequence of the virus is rising utility bills. Water, heating and electric bills are almost guaranteed to go up, but there are some ways that you can mitigate the increase. Here are some suggestions on how to keep your utility bills down:
Get a programmable thermostat
Many homes and apartments already have one of these, but be sure to get one if you don’t. Heating and cooling is one of the largest utility expenses for many Americans, and can add up quickly without proper attention. Programmable units allow you to set the appropriate temperature for the time of day and to fit your schedule rather than staying on all the time. Set your thermostat to more energy efficient temperatures when you go to bed and if you have to go outside.
Adjust your clothing appropriately
This point goes along with the one before it. Dressing warmly during the winter and light during the summer are easy ways to reduce your dependency on your thermostat. Give it – and your wallet – a break by simply putting on a hoodie or shorts rather than changing the temperature.
Check seals on windows, doors, appliances and ducts
Leaky or incomplete seals on appliances or windows can cause energy to go to waste very quickly. To ensure that you don’t pay more than you truly need, check the seals and get them fixed if damaged.
Change the temperature on your water heater
Many water heaters are set to 140 degrees by default. Lowering the temperature of your unit to 120 degrees can seriously reduce your energy bill. You can also look into insulating your heater to reduce heat loss if it is safe to do so.
Get an energy efficient shower head
In addition to simply taking shorter showers, buying an efficient shower head can reduce your water usage by thousands of gallons a year. Look for one with a flow rate below 2.5 gallons per minute.
Fix leaky faucets
The same principle applies here as with the shower head. According to the Department of Energy, one drip per second can waste around 1,661 gallons a year. Make sure your faucets aren’t costing you by not letting them drip and fixing ones that do. As with your shower head, look for the EPA’s WaterSense label when buying new units.
Change your light bulbs
According to the Department of Energy, LED light bulbs can use at least 75% less energy than standard incandescents and last 25 times longer. This adds up to huge savings over the long run, as you’ll spend less on energy as well as having to replace them less often. Look for the Energy Star logo when you shop.