10 Easy Ways to Cut Back Your Utility Bill in Pittsburgh, PA
The extreme weather conditions this year have caused Pennsylvania residents to question their sky-high utility bills. People are truly worried about their bills as many cannot pay these outrageous amounts. There must be some cost-cutting measures that people can take to reduce their costs. If you want to take the strain off your budget, there are some simple things that you can do. Here are the ten best ways to reduce your electric costs.
1. Turn Off Your Lights
It’s one of the simplest things you can do, yet this “no-brainer” task is often overlooked. Turn off the lights you are not using inside your home. There is no reason to sit in the dark, but there is also no need to use the energy you don’t need. It’s hard to make such a drastic change, especially with kids in the house who love to turn lights on. However, make it a game or do something fun to challenge them to keep the lights off.
Another thing you can do is change the types of lightbulbs you use. The old-fashioned styles incandescent bulbs are energy hogs. Choose new LED bulbs and other styles that last way longer and cost less. Also, task lighting is an excellent option to avoid using large lights. Dimmers can decrease the wattage usage as well as give you just enough light to do the things you need. With some retraining and budget shopping, you can make a big cut with lighting alone.
2. Use a Programmable Thermostat on Your HVAC Unit
Your HVAC system uses a tremendous amount of energy. Kenneth McDonald Plumbing & HVAC recommends that customers switch from a traditional thermostat to a programmable one. The difference is that there is no reason to heat or cool your home when you are not there. Did you know that turning your thermostat up to 78 degrees or higher in the summer can mean significant savings for your wallet? On the other hand, turning the thermostat down in the winter can save you about three percent of total utility consumption.
While it may seem feasible to turn the manual thermostat up and down according to your needs, the fact is that you will likely forget. The cost of a programmable thermostat is inexpensive, but it’s so worth the price. Increase your energy-saving levels with just a little money out of pocket.
3. Lower Your Hot Water Heater Temperature
Your water heater can consume a tremendous amount of energy, especially if you have an electric unit. You could switch to a gas heater, but the best option is to get a tankless water heater. Never allow your water temperature to be above 120 degrees. You must maintain at least 120 degrees to keep bacteria from forming. Hot water on demand is more energy efficient, and there will be no more cold showers when the person ahead of you takes too long.
4. Let The Sunshine In
As the sunshine of summer floods the Pittsburgh area, open your blinds and curtains, and let the sun in. Did you know that Mother Nature can help you save money on your bills? You want to let the light in without getting a glare. Natural light should come in and bounce off the ceiling. Blinds can help you angle the light in the needed direction. The sun can increase the warmth of a space, and it provides natural light that is free to use. Though this will only give you trivial savings, every little bit helps. In the winter, the sun can help heat a space too.
5. Replace Your HVAC Unit
Okay, so replacing your HVAC unit is something you probably never considered when you think of saving money. Most people think their system will run forever and leave it to time and chance. However, a unit that is 20 years old may still be running, but it could be driving your utility bills up higher than average.
The new systems have a SEER rating and are energy efficient. The higher the score, the more efficient the system. Did you know that a new HVAC unit can usually pay for itself in savings over a period? Most people notice a difference immediately when switching out their old unit. Kenneth McDonald Plumbing & HVAC can service or install a new heating and cooling system for you. Plus, if you need ductless air conditioning in an older home, our licensed technicians can help.
6. Change Your HVAC Filters Often
Who would think that the little air filter in your HVAC system could impact your utility bills? A filter should be checked and cleaned or changed every month or every couple of months. Each unit has different requirements based on the filter and system. However, if you are not regularly maintaining this filter, then you may be costing yourself a great deal of money down the road. A clogged filter impedes the airflow and causes the system to work harder. This can cause your unit to decrease its life expectancy and costs you even more money in operational costs. Such a simple thing can make a significant difference in your bills.
7. Use Your Dryer Less
Even though new dryers use less energy, consider that the cost of air drying is free. While some things need a tumble on the drying cycle, other things can be hung up. Challenge yourself to hang up more items or use a clothesline outside. Nothing smells fresher than sheets or blankets that have blown in the wind all day. Another thing you can do is use the highest-spin cycle possible on your washer to ensure that your clothes won’t need to dry as long too.
8. Maintain Your Refrigerator
Have you checked the settings on your refrigerator or freezer lately? Outside of your HVAC unit, your refrigerator consumes a lot of your home’s energy. Adjust the thermostat per the manufacturer’s settings. There’s no need to have soda icy or water bottles freezing inside your refrigerator. If your unit is set on the lowest setting, then you are just wasting money in energy costs.
9. Use Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans are an excellent item to help keep the air circulating in your home. They can work with the air conditioning system to help keep the house comfortable. They can be used in the winter or summer to keep a constant temperature. Circulating the air can keep the AC unit from kicking on as much, which is an excellent way to save money.
10. Turn Off Appliances Not in Use
Rather than turning on the stove, use the microwave to do more cooking. Microwaves are energy efficient and run on a 110-volt versus a 120-volt current. Also turning off things like an iron, coffee pot, and the television when you are done can also help you save money. Anything that is not in use should not be on.
By using some of these costs cutting methods, you can join other Pittsburgh, PA families that are saving money. As you can see from this article, your air conditioning system is a significant component of energy consumption. Whether you need help with a tankless water heater or a ductless air conditioning system, Kenneth McDonald Plumbing & HVAC is here to help!