Cool Tips to Save Money on Utility Bills
Bruce Lubin is the co-author of the best-selling Who Knew? series of household hints books, with his wife Jeanne. They’ve written more than a dozen books that have sold more than 5 million copies.
You may have seen Bruce sharing his clever and money-saving tips on national TV, like the Today Show and the Hallmark Channel. Now, Bruce and Jeanne are also hosting a brand new podcast on the Quick and Dirty Tips network, which goes by the same name—Who Knew?.
[Listen to the interview using the audio player in the upper right sidebar of this page or on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify; for Spotify, just search the app for "Money Girl."]
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Some of the cool tips Bruce and I talk about in this interview include:
- Knowing which appliances cost you the most and how to use less energy
- A clever tip to cut the time it takes to dry your clothes by 25%
- How to hack your water bills
- Tips to cut back your air conditioning usage but still stay cool
- How to keep your kitchen from overheating during the summer
- Ways to get your entire family on board to save energy—especially teenagers
See also: How to Save Money on Your Electricity Bill
Cool Tips to Save Money on Utility Bills
No matter if you own a large house or rent a cozy apartment, this interview will help you cut the cost of energy and water and save money on your utility bills. Here are a few great tips from our interview:
With today’s high efficiency dishwashers and washing machines, the expense is really heating the water. So wash everything as cold as you can.
Q: What are the appliances that suck the most energy? What are some tips to use less energy with them?
Bruce: Dishwashers, but it’s really the dry cycle, which uses steam. De-select the Dry Cycle, or, if you have an older dishwasher, just open the door at the beginning of the dry cycle.
Dryers too—use a large towel to reduce drying time. Check your dryer’s screen: the lint from the screen in your dryer may not be enough to make sure it is running as efficiently as possible. The fabric softener used in dryer sheets can get caught in the mesh, even if you can’t see it. To be sure you’re completely cleaning the screen, remove it and clean it with warm, soapy water and a brush. Leave it out to dry completely before placing back in your dryer.
Q: What about saving water?
Bruce: Back to dishwashers—you should actually wash pots and pans by hand (usually)—you save up so much room and you don’t have to do Pots ‘n’ Pans mode.
With today’s high efficiency dishwashers and washing machines, the expense is really heating the water. So wash everything as cold as you can. You also may want to lower the temp you keep your hot water heater at. We recommend 120º F, which is plenty hot, even though many water heaters come set at 140º.
Other than that, low-flow showerheads and other faucets are a must! Definitely worth the price. Just ask at the hardware store.
Q: What about teenagers taking long showers?
Bruce: Give teens an incentive to take shorter showers—5 minutes added to their curfew for every 1 minute they shave of their shower time. (Or 5 minutes more of time with their phone at the end of the night, etc.)
Q: What about tips for saving money on air conditioning?
Bruce: Keep blinds closed during the day – people probably know that! But also, close all closet doors, and seal off rooms you aren’t using. Use duct tape if your vents don’t close. And, make sure your windows and doors seal properly—that can save you big.
Q: Any other tips for saving energy?
Bruce: Believe it or not, MOST electric companies charge you more for electricity during peak times, which are usually between 4 and 8pm. Google the name of your electric company and “peak pricing” to see if yours does. If possible, keep your AC off during these times, and do more laundry and other electricity-intensive tasks during non-peak times.
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