Utilities and Telephone Saving Tips

  • Install compact fluorescent bulbs in lights you leave on for long periods. They provide four times as much light, use about one-fourth the amount of electricity, and last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
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  • Lower the temperature on your hot water heater to between 110 and 120 degrees. It's not necessary to have it any hotter and wastes energy. You can cut your water heating bills without sacrificing comfort.

  • Find out if your utility company offers free energy audits. Some
    companies will inspect your home for energy effectiveness and recommend inexpensive ways to cut energy costs, such as insulating hot water heaters, weather-stripping, etc. Some untility companies will even perform these energy-saving steps free-of-charge. Just insulating your hot water heater could save you $20 a year. Other utiltiy companies offer cash incentives to customers who make energy efficiency improvements throughout their home.

  • Set thermostats no higher than 68 degrees in winter and no lower than 78 degrees in summer. Turn your heat down even further at night or when you're not home (unless you have a heat pump, which operates more efficiently at one consistent setting). Each extra degree in winter can increase heating costs by 3%. Have your furnace tuned-up and change or clean your funace filters regulary for best furnace performance. In summer, each degree can raise cooling costs by 6%. Also, have your furnace tuned-up each winter and regularly change or clean the furnace filters.

  • Cut back on the use of your clothes dryer. Not only is it a big energy drain, it can also suck heated air out of your house very quickly in winter. Hang clothes on a clothes rack to dry and use the dryer for towels and other heavy items.

  • Use your microwave instead of your oven whenever possible and save up to 50% in energy costs for cooking.

  • Always do full loads of laundry. A typical full load uses about 21
    gallons of water. A small load uses 14 gallons. Several small loads use considerably more water than one or two large loads. Over the course of a year, this adds up.

  • Run your dishwasher only when you have a full load. Let the dishes air-dry instead of using the heat cycle. An average dishwasher costs $54 to $90 per year to run.

  • Fix running toilets or leaking faucets promptly. A continuously running toilet can use more than 8,000 gallons of water a year.

  • Install flow restricting shower heads. A family of four can save 8,000 to 12,000 gallons of water a year. You not only save on the cost of the water, but also the cost of heating it.

  • Add fabric softener to your laundry at the appropriate point in the cycle instead of adding it at the end and running another rinse cycle, which can use up to 10 extra gallons of water. Figure out how much time it takes your washer to reach the rinse cycle, and set a timer so you can add softener at the right time.

  • Use warm or cold water for washing clothes, and always rinse in cold water.

  • Stick to basic phone service. Extra services like call waiting and call forwarding can almost double your costs for phone services.

  • Don't lease phones from the phone company. You can buy brand name phones like AT&T for less than $25. The phone will pay for itself in just a few months.

  • If you can live without cable television, you can save between $300 and $600 per year. If you can't live without it, get basic service only. You can rent a lot of movies for the extra $144 to $240 per year you pay for movie channels like HBO, Showtime, etc.

  • Plant perennial flowers instead of annuals. You incur a one time cost and enjoy the flowers for years, with no additional effort or money. Annuals, on the other hand, require an outlay of cash and effort every year.

  • If you live in a cold region of the country, heating costs are a major expense. Make sure your home has enough insulation in the ceiling and crawlspace under your home. The higher the R-value of your insulation, the more heat it will keep from escaping.


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