How to Save on Utility Bills

10 Ways to Keep Your Hard-Earned Cash from Being Sucked Out the Door

Expensive utility bills can put a strain on your family's finances. Make a few simple changes to save on your utility bills.

  • 01 of 10

    Cut the Cost of Air Conditioning

    Young woman setting air conditioning
    Tetra Images/Getty Images

     As the temperature outdoors starts to rise, you automatically want to lower the temperature indoors. That air conditioner chugging away could be making your energy meter spin like a slot machine. It's the electric company that will hit the jackpot. There are some simple fixes to cut the cost of air conditioning, such as an annual A/C tune up and changing the air filters regularly. 

  • 02 of 10

    Rotate Your Ceiling Fan to Save on Utility Bills

    A picture of a ceiling fan
    Rotate your ceiling fan blades to save money. Photo © yenhoon / stock.xchng

     Your ceiling fan is a money-saving friend. It uses 5% less energy than an air conditioner. That may not sound like much but it adds up in your favor because a ceiling fan can save you between 10 and 40% on your utility bills. The ceiling fan has to be rotating in the right direction to be effective. During the winter, the fan's blades moving clockwise recirculate the warm weather down so it's not rising directly out of your home. In the summer, you rotate the fan's blades the...MORE opposite direction to force the air down into a cool breeze.

  • 03 of 10

    Save on Utility Bills with a Home Energy Audit

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    A home energy audit can save you up to 30% a year on your utility bills. Photo © Run Inc. / Getty Images

    How much of your energy bill is literally going right out the door? The U.S. Department of Energy says a home energy audit can help you save anywhere from 5 to 30% a year by identifying the weak spots in your home's energy efficiency. A home energy audit will check every source where airflow may be effected. You can manage a do-it-yourself home audit, hire a pro or take advantage of a free home energy audit from your utility company.

  • 04 of 10

    Stop Heating the Neighborhood

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    Shut the door on high utility bills when you stop heating the neighborhood. Photo © Thomas Kokta / Getty Images

    Keeping your home warm seems simple enough. Turn on the heat and the warm air should stay inside. Warm air behaves like a prisoner. It's always looking for a way to get out. Windows, doors and the roof are just a few of its escape routes. Stop heating the neighborhood and keep your heat shackled indoors where it belongs.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Install a Programmable Thermostat

    A picture of a programmable thermostat
    A programmable thermostat can help lower the costs of your energy bills. Photo © mightyohm / Flickr

    A programmable thermostat can save you hundreds of dollars on your utility bills each year. Many allow you to set a program for each day of the week. If everyone's out of the house on certain days, you can set your programmable thermostat at a higher temperature during the summer months or lower during the winter months. And, of course, you can program it to come on right before you arrive home so you'll step into a house that's comfortable without spending money all day to reach...MORE that optimum temperature.

  • 06 of 10

    Save Money on Washing Clothes

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    Baby laundry can pile on the utility bill costs. Photo © Domino / Getty Images

    Every parent knows there's no such thing as laundry day when you have kids. Every day feels like laundry day. But you could be spending a huge chunk of your utility bills on washing and drying your family's clothes. From wasted energy heating up the washer's water to watching your electricity bill climb upwards as the dryer tumbles your clothes around in a circle, the expense of throwing a load of laundry in can be cut to save money on utility bills and save you time too.

     

  • 07 of 10

    Switch to Energy-Saving Light Bulbs

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    Turning on the lights just got less expensive with an energy-saving bulb. Photo © juliaf / stock.xchng

     The government's Energy Star website says an energy-saving light bulbs can save you $40 or more per light bulb. It's also 75% cooler than a standard light bulb, which can help lower your air conditioning costs in the summer months. It can be expensive to change out your lights to energy-saving light bulbs all at once. Start slow. The next time a light bulb blows, change it to an energy-saving bulb. It won't be long until all of your bulbs are saving you money, which could be...MORE hundreds of dollars in your pocket.

  • 08 of 10

    Buy Energy Efficient Appliances

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    Energy Star appliances can save you big bucks on your utility bills. Photo © Getty Images

    Not everyone can afford to run out and spend hundreds of dollars on energy-efficient appliances just to save money on their utility bills. As your appliances do wear out or you upgrade them, though, be sure you replace them with appliances bearing the Energy Star label. To earn the label, appliances must meet government requirements that verify they save a significant amount of energy and consumers will benefit financially, over time, by purchasing them.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Adjust Your Water Heater

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    Adjust your hot water heater to lower your utility bills. Photo © Skakerman / Flickr

     Everyone likes to start their day with a hot shower and kids love to play in a warm bath. However, one of the most expensive ways to drive up your utility bills is by heating water. Adjust your water heater to a lower temperature and your water heater won't work so hard to heat water to a temperature that's so high you couldn't even bear to put your fingers under it. Not only will you save money by lowering the water heater's temperature, you'll reduce the risk of the water...MORE scalding you and your family members. 

  • 10 of 10

    Unplug When Not in Use

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    Unplug when not in use to lower your utility bills. Photo © cogdogblog / Flickr

    We love the convenience of being able to push a power button and having the TV, computer or even the toaster coming on right underneath our fingertips. Everything that's plugged into the wall sucks up energy, regardless of it's being used or if it's in the off position. Unplug power strips, your TV, computer and anything else that's plugged in when not in use. All of those hungry energy wasters won't eat up your energy bill if they're not plugged into the outlets.