Tips for Saving Money on Your Utility Bills
With the impending doom of colder weather quite literally right around the corner, this is the perfect time to refresh on how you can save money this year on your heating bills. Nothing is worse than having your money budgeted for the holidays and then you get the electric bill, and it is double or even triple your normal bill! There are many ways to prevent your money from seeping out of your pockets that we will discuss today.
Find the Best Rate
The step you should take is to shop around for the best rate for your electric and gas services. Most of the time, it will tell you right on your bill what your total price per kWh (electric) or ccf (natural gas) is. When you have found what you are currently paying for your supplier, you then have a starting point when you go to shop around. Many states will have a direct website where you can shop around with different suppliers to see what the best rate is for your services. The website for Ohio is: https://energychoice.ohio.gov/applestoapples.aspx
It’s important to keep in mind when researching these special rates, that many have different contract obligations. Some require you to lock into their special rate for a year or more. Some require a monthly fee and even an early termination fee if you do decide to break the contract. It’s important to get all the information prior to signing any contracts. In fact, on the website I linked below, the supplier’s contact information is readily available, so that you may give them a call with any questions or concerns you may have.
Ask About the Budget Plans
Many utility companies offer a budget plan that will allow you to know exactly what you will have due each month. This is great because you won’t get any surprise bills that are 2 or 3 times your normal bill. Each company is different, but most budgets are calculated by the previous usage for the year and spread out evenly throughout the summer months for a steadier payment.
Weatherproof Your Home
After you have locked in the best rate for your supplier and/or established a budget plan, you will need to get handy and start weatherproofing! You don’t want your hard-earned money just leaking out of your window seals or through drafty door jams! A good way to see what areas are drafty is on a windy day, take a lit candle and walk near each of your windows, door, vents, or anywhere drafty and see if your candlelight flickers. This indicated that there is cold air that could be coming through the seals and should be either caulked off or blocked off with a weatherproofing strip.
Areas near the bottom of doors are big heat escapers. You can DIY or purchase door draft blockers online to ensure none of your heat flows out the door.
Ways to Improve the Efficiency of Appliances
There are also many ways that you can improve the efficiency of your indoor appliances that could help with your electric or gas bill. Items such as a hot water heater blanket can be used to hold in heat to the tank so that it doesn’t have to work as hard to maintain heat. Keep your oven door closed when baking, to ensure the heat does not escape. When you are done baking officially, if it is safe to do so (i.e., no children or pets running around) leave your oven open to release heat into the air, to warm up your home. Frequently cleaning the filters of HVAC, dishwasher, dryer, air purifiers or anything that has a filter will increase the functionality and the cost of the appliances, as well.
Whether you are looking to save a couple extra bucks on your bill or stick to a monthly budget, there are many ways to lower the heating cost this winter. You may have to do some searching and research and even get your hands dirty cleaning the filters, but you will find that in the long run, not only will you save money, but your appliances will run more smoothly!