There are only so many factors of your monthly cost of living that you can control. Luckily, learning how to reduce utility costs in your Washington, DC home can help. There are also several effective, cost-friendly options to do so.
As Washington, DC’s leading HVAC, plumbing, and electrical service provider, John C. Flood has plenty of helpful insight to share on this topic. We’ve gathered 5 quick, practical, and affordable options for any homeowner or home-renter trying to figure out how to reduce utility costs.
How to Reduce Your Electricity Bill in 5 Steps
1. Reduce Your Shower Time
The typical American shower lasts just over eight minutes, which can waste over 17 gallons of water. When you cut down to a five-minute shower, you can significantly reduce the amount of water you use while still having enough time to enjoy the steam.
It’s normal to use two gallons of water per minute, so by cutting off three minutes, you can save six gallons.
2. Regularly Replace Your Air Filter
Even if you’re renting a home, replacing the air filter is a great way to save money on your electric bill. If you own a home (and therefore own the HVAC unit) then replacing the air filters will save on your electric bill and help you prevent costly HVAC repairs and maintenance visits.
Forgetting to replace your HVAC air filter regularly is the quickest way to have inefficient heating and cooling — which means your utility bill is going to be higher than it has to be.
The air filter in your HVAC system needs to be changed around every 30 to 90 days. Investing in a premium pleated filter can be worthwhile if you don’t want to change it that often since these can last up to six months.
It helps to set a reminder on your phone or calendar so you can remember to change out your filters on time and avoid causing unnecessary damage to your HVAC unit.
3. Use a Smart Thermostat
Just like choosing LED light bulbs is a more efficient choice than many other bulb options, the type of thermostat you have makes a big difference in the efficiency of your home.
Upgrading your thermostat to a programmable thermostat can make a big difference in lowering your utility costs since you can turn the system down (or up) when you’re going to sleep or leaving the house.
Think about it. There’s no reason you need your home to be blasting full of heat when you’re curled under blankets at night or gone at the office all day, and you don’t need the AC on full throttle when temperatures dip slightly during the summer nights.
You won’t notice the temperature when you’re gone or sleeping.
Set your thermostat to reduce your HVAC’s need to run during times you don’t need it. This can lead to big savings and requires little to no work on your part, so if you’re looking for how to save on utility costs in a low-effort way, this is one of your best options.
4. Use Cold Water to Wash Clothes
To save money and eventually lower utility bills, simply wash all of your clothing and linens in cold water (unless a fabric specifically calls for warm or hot water to be cleaned). Not every homeowner or renter realizes that it takes energy to heat water, so if you’re constantly washing your clothes in hot water, that costs a little bit extra than cold water.
This isn’t an efficient decision, especially since most items you throw in the washing machine are ideal for cold water washing. Cold water is highly effective for removing stains.
Keep in mind that it may even be preferable in some circumstances to use cold water since some stains are set into materials when they are subjected to hot water.
Switching to cold water is a modest modification that can have a large impact, especially when your washer uses a lot of energy to heat water.
5. Weatherstrip Your Windows and Doors
While it’s true that replacing windows and doors that aren’t energy-efficient is a great way to lower your home’s utility costs, there are ways to accomplish some energy efficiency without such a massive home upgrade.
Consider weatherstripping your windows and doors to help keep the indoor air in and the outdoor air out.
This advice typically appears for homeowners who are researching how to winterize their homes, but it’s a helpful tip for more than just the winter season. Air leaks — even little ones — around your doors and windows cause your home's heating or cooling system to overwork itself attempting to catch up.
Fixing these leaks with weatherstripping can help reduce your annual utility bill by as much as 30 percent.
Accomplishing this task isn’t complicated. Simply visit your local home improvement store and choose from their selection of door and window weatherstripping products. Weatherstripping comes in a variety of materials, including plastic, foam, felt, and vinyl.