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    19 Little Things That'll Actually Lower Your Utility Bills

    Easy, affordable changes. Real results.

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    1. Flip the switch on your ceiling fan so it's blowing the right direction, and your heat and AC systems won't work so much.

    mom4real.com

    In the winter, you want the fan to turn clockwise, so it blows air upward to push the heat that's risen to the ceiling back down, so you feel it where you're sitting on the sofa. And in the summer, you want it to go counter-clockwise, so it blows a ~cooling breeze~ on your skin.

    But, and this is important! — in the summer, turn. the fan. off. when you leave the room. Fans only make you feel cooler, they don't actually cool the room.

    From Mom 4 Real.

    2. Adjust your thermostat by just one or two degrees — keeping it a little cooler in the winter, and a tad warmer in the summer.

    amazon.com

    Each degree you lower in the winter (until you hit 68 degrees) could lower your bills by 3%. And keep your AC at 78 degrees in the summer, at least when you're home. It'll be cool, but not *too* cold. Then raise it up by seven to ten degrees whenever you're gone for a couple of hours.

    Better yet, use a programmable smart thermostat that can automatically adjust the temperature (and save on energy) so you don't have to think about it — get it on Amazon for $215.

    3. Maximize your dishwasher's efficiency: always wait to run it until it's completely full.

    cleanmama.net

    Your dishwasher uses the same amount of water and electricity no matter how many dishes are inside — so it's most efficient to wait until it can wash as many dishes as possible.

    From Clean Mama.

    4. Swap in a luxe low-flow shower head so you still get plenty of pressure and spray, but end up using less water.

    amazon.com

    According to the EPA's database of water-efficient products, this one has a max flow rate of 1.75 gallons/minute — even better than the EPA standard of 2 gallons/minute.

    Get one from Amazon for $26.

    5. And put aerators on all of your faucets, if they're not aerated already. Or replace your aerators with ones that'll use even less water.

    youtube.com, amazon.com

    They're pretty easy to add or switch out yourself — they screw on and off with the help of some pliers, kind of like a bottle cap. For the most water bill savings, look for ones that are between .5 and 1 gallons per minute (gpm) for your bathroom faucets. Just do your research before you buy: they're *not* one-size-fits-all, and you'll want ones that work for your faucets.

    Get a 6-pack of Niagara .5 gpm aerators on Amazon for $9.07.

    6. Swap out your CFL or incandescents (if you happen to still use 'em!) for LED lightbulbs — they're the most efficient, last the longest, and these days don't even cost more up front.

    blog.constellation.com

    Get a pack of four warm, dimmable LED bulbs on Amazon for $8.66 — or about $2.17 per bulb. Or go for a bulk pack of 24 bulbs for $22.91 to pay about $0.95 per bulb. (A pack of eight CFL bulbs on Amazon is actually slightly *more* expensive — $23.37, or about $2.91 per bulb.)

    Graphic from Constellation.

    7. If your windows are at all ~drafty~, seal them up with window film so you don't lose good heat to winter's chill.

    amazon.com

    No more losing the heat you pay good $$ for to Jack Frost! Get a 5-window kit on Amazon for $7.34.

    8. Same with your doors: if you feel a cool air coming from a gap underneath, seal it up with a draft guard.

    amazon.com

    You can keep it on through the summertime, too! It'll help keep the bugs out, and somewhat reduce the amount of AC you use. Get it on Amazon for $16.99 (available in black, brown, green, and navy).

    9. And in the summer, hang blackout curtains that you can pull shut when the sun turns your space into a sauna.

    amazon.com

    They can also help you sleep better, if the sun comes up before you do. Two panels of these curtains are on Amazon for $29.99+ (three lengths and 18 colors available.)

    10. Add a clean, dry bath towel when you put wet clothes in the dryer — then remove it after about 15 minutes — to make everything dry faster.

    Getty Images

    After about 15 minutes tumbling together, the towel will have soaked up a bunch of water from your clothes. Just take it out and hang it up to dry, and let the clothes finish drying faster than they would have otherwise. From here.

    11. Regularly clean out dryer lint from the screen *and* from the spot where the screen sits, too.

    todayshomeowner.com

    Clean the screen before *every* load, and the spot where the screen sits every few months. You can either vacuum it with your crevice tool, or use a brush designed for the job (get one on Amazon for $11.21).

    12. And clean out your dryer vent (or get it cleaned) about once a year — your clothes will dry faster and your dryer will use less electricity.

    amazon.com, amazon.com

    You can always hire a pro for this, but it's a pretty simple DIY: if you happen to own a plumbing snake already, you can use that with this tutorial. Or get a duct cleaning brush on Amazon for $22.49.

    13. While you're doing all this dirty work, cleaning your refrigerator coils could help it use less power to keep your food cold.

    Via frugallyblonde.com

    Now, *some* modern refrigerator coils don't need cleaning, but most fridges do! Check your user manual to see. And all you need is your vacuum, a long brush (like this one, $11.21 on Amazon), and someone to help you move your fridge. From Frugally Blonde.

    14. And if your air intake + floor/ceiling vents are clogged with dust, quickly clean those, too.

    designdazzle.com, ithappensinablink.com

    This job's relatively simple: floor/ceiling vents can go in the dishwasher, and you can vacuum your intake (but if the intake still looks dusty, unscrew it and wipe down both sides with a soft cloth + all-purpose cleaner).

    From Design Dazzle and It Happens In A Blink.

    15. Turn off your power strips when you're not using the chargers or devices plugged into them to thwart ~energy vampires~.

    Amazon

    TVs, computers, external hard drives, laptop chargers, phone chargers, any chargers, anything with a continuous LED clock display — all of these things constantly draw a *small* amount of power, even when they're turned off. So use power strips, but turn them off when you don't need 'em.

    This surge protector has a remote switch that you can hang on your wall next to your light switches, so it's *easy* to remember to switch off. Get it on Amazon for $35.39.

    16. Avoid using the oven in the summer, and limit your time cooking over the stove.

    amazon.com

    The more you heat up your home = the more the AC has to work to keep it cool = the higher your bills.

    If you can't give up hot meals, consider getting a toaster oven that can do almost everything a regular oven can, but that won't have to heat up so much square footage: get one for $58.99 on Amazon. Or just eat more hearty salads and rotisserie chicken.

    17. If you live in a house, get a rain barrel to collect water to use in the yard, the garden, the fountain, the birdbath...the list goes on.

    Target

    Save ~gallons~ on your water bill, especially if you water frequently.

    Get this one from Target for $74.99 (three colors available), or from Amazon for $88.99 (one color available).

    18. Wrap your hot water heater in an ~insulation blanket~, especially if it sits somewhere kind of chilly, like your basement.

    amazon.com, amazon.com

    Get the one pictured on the right from Amazon for $23.89 (+$4.99 shipping).

    (Unfortunately the one pictured above left doesn't seem to be available anywhere online anymore!)

    19. And lower your water heater's temperature from 140 degrees to 120 degrees, if you haven't already.

    Getty Images

    Most water heater manuals recommend the max temp be 140 degrees, but unless you or someone in your household has a suppressed immune system or chronic respiratory disease, you can freely dial it down to 120. Just make sure to check your manual to figure out how!

    Me comparing my February utility bills to last February's:

    H&R Block / Via giphy.com

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