What Your Utility Bills May Be Telling You About Your Home’s Efficiency
When your utility bills come in, and you see the varying numbers, you might try to keep yourself from reading them. However, it might be best to make an exception at least once to determine why those services are priced the way they are.
Utility Bills and Efficiency
Energy, water, gas and the internet are everyday necessities Americans spend an average of $429.33 on monthly. This amount can increase or decrease depending on how often you use these resources. However, one variable independent of your behavior at home is inflation. With an increasing demand for all these commodities worldwide, and only a limited supply to go around, prices are steep.
Right now, the inflation level for December 2024 is estimated to be 2.3%–4.8% due to various other factors. Most homeowners can do very little with how goods and services are priced in this economy. However, it is possible to adapt and save on your utility bills by making a few changes in how you run the house.
High Energy Bills
Electricity bills can be one of the steepest utilities, but the price can communicate a lot about different appliances in your home. Here’s an outline of what you should look out for to prevent high energy bills.
1. Old Appliances
Most people like to keep their appliances and devices for as long as possible, out of love for vintage items or frugality stemming from wanting to save. However, it might be counterintuitive, as most old appliances actually need more energy to run. If you want to avoid scaling up your electricity, it might be time for replacements.
Try to be on the lookout for Energy Star certification when looking for more energy-efficient alternatives. This government program verifies and scores bill-reducing appliances. For instance, Energy Star-certified TVs can consume 50% less watts than the average TV when turned off. Each product will have its own category and efficiency standard.
2. Inefficient HVAC
Another reason behind high energy consumption is an inefficient HVAC system. Most heaters and coolers use a lot of electricity. While it is essential to keep your home comfortable, it’s advisable to seek out some insulation solutions that can benefit your wallet.
For instance, invest in energy-efficient roofing like metal roofs. These fixtures can save almost 30% on cooling costs in the long run. You can also look for insulation-efficient materials for your windows, walls and pipes, so you won’t need to rely heavily on your HVAC system.
3. Plugged-in Devices
Having many appliances and devices can make life more convenient, but powering or charging them all the time can certainly increase your electricity consumption. There’s also the matter of keeping them plugged in, which is worse since doing so makes them susceptible to damage.
The best way to handle this problem is to keep your devices off and unplug them when they aren’t in use. You can also look at alternative energy sources to provide the electricity necessary for your gadgets.
High Water Bills
Water is necessary for drinking, staying clean and fresh, washing dishes and more throughout the week. However, the bill for this commodity can go absurdly high at times. Here are a few possible culprits responsible for the price hike.
1. Hard Water
Hard water refers to fluids with minerals like calcium, magnesium, aluminum, iron and more. It can contribute to your bill quite a bit, since it takes much more energy to process. When your water heater has to work overtime, due to hard water, it reflects in your bill’s total price.
Some people might not be aware of the hard water running in their system, but 85% of American households use it. A water softener can be a valuable tool to lessen the minerals in your supply.
2. Overuse of Water
Using too much water can also significantly contribute to high water bills. Think about it — you use the resource to shower, do laundry and clean dishes. You also have to wash your hands after all the chores, which utilizes more water.
Having a few water conservation practices is vital to lower your utility bill. For instance, you can wash all dirty clothes at once instead of splitting the load throughout different sessions. You can turn the water off when soaping up in the shower or shampooing your hair, then turn it back on to rinse off. You can use gray water to water your indoor plants. Practices such as these allow you make the most out of your water cycle.
3. Water Leaks
Sometimes leaks just happen. You might not have even caused it, but that doesn’t mean you should leave it as is. Faucet leaks with a steady drip can cost $841.72 in water and sewer charges per year.
It’s crucial to locate the cause of the leaks and get them repaired. After the fix, remember to run an inspection every now and then, but especially when your water bill seems suspiciously high, so you can take care of the opening and crack down on any potential increases.
High Gas Bills
Inflation heavily influences gas, so there might be very little to do to save up on fuel. The best you can do is review providers and find the most affordable one. You can also assess the home equipment you own which requires the use of gas.
Boilers older than 10 years can lose up to 50% of their energy, which racks up your gas bill in the long run. It’s recommended to replace it when you’ve surpassed its life span.
High Internet and Cable Bills
Internet and cable are often left out of the conversation when it comes to your main utilities, but they’re almost an essential in this day and age. Before committing to a plan, try to negotiate a deal with your provider.
You can also invest in fiber optic cables for your home. One study found switching from copper cables to this variant can reduce energy consumption by almost 80%. While it may have a more costly price upfront, it can make your home efficient for the future.
Listen to Your Utility Bills
It’s important to switch strategies if your utility bills are getting out of hand. By listening and adapting, you can save money and live in a more efficient home.