How To Hack Money Off Your Utility Bills

Dated: 05/23/2017

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You don’t need to call a contractor to make your home more energy efficient. It takes less than two hours to perform a few home hacks that can save you about $137 a year.

These strategies can be implemented by anyone, from dorm-dwellers to apartment renters to homeowners, says Danielle Marquis, director of strategy for AM Conservation Group, which manufactures energy, and water and weatherization products.

“Because these are not permanent changes and not expensive changes, they make a lot of sense for a renter,” Marquis says. “A lot of people don’t understand all the free money that is out there.”

With Earth Day just around the corner, these tips are not only good for your wallet, but for the environment 

It takes less than two hours to perform a few home hacks that can save you about $137 a year.

LED Light Bulbs

Savings: $21.60 per year

Time to complete: 30 minutes or less

This is arguably the easiest change you can make. Swap out your incandescent or CLS light bulbs in favor of more efficient LED bulbs and get the “biggest bang for your buck,” says Marc Treitler, partner and general counsel for utility billing and management company Conservice.

“[LEDs are] starting to take over the lighting displays,” he says. “If you are in a home and you have old, incandescent light bulbs, just putting in LEDs can save up to 75% of your electric usage.”

Many electric companies or municipalities will offer rebates or credits for switching to LED lights. For example, Con Edison offers cash for the installation of certain LED fixtures and other energy efficient equipment. Other utility companies, like Duke Energy or FirstEnergy, offer free energy conservation kits to customers that include LED lights and other energy saving tools.

Water-Saving Showerheads

Savings: $66.96 per year

Time to complete: 30 minutes or less

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Switching to an efficient showerhead can save at least half of the energy required to heat the water used for the shower, Marquis says. This change may even make your water pressure feel better, as the showerheads push water through smaller holes, she says.

Regular showerheads use 2.5 gallons of water a minute, but these efficient ones use only 1.5 gallons, Treitler says.

Water Heater Pipe Insulation

Savings: $7.32 per year

Time to complete: 15 minutes or less

The cheapest and fastest way to save money is by insulating your pipes. At a cost of $1, this hack will save you about $7 a year. About 40% of heating and cooling air can be lost from poorly-insulated duct-work, Marquis says.

Homeowners can save more by installing smart thermostats and light systems that can be controlled through their smartphones. Treitler recommended programs like Dwelo or Nest, which boasts an average savings of 10 to 12% on heating bills and 15% on cooling bills.

“In 10 years, every Millennial …. and student is going to have this capability,” he says. “It’s spreading.”

Smart Power strip

Savings: $9 per year

Time to complete: 15 minutes or less

These devices look similar to standard power strips, but come with yearly savings. Smart power strips prevent vampire draw, or block accessory electronics from sucking electricity while they’re plugged into the strip and and idle.

Sink Aerators

Savings: $32.28 per year

Time to complete: 30 minutes or less

Cut your water usage without compromising flow by installing three aerators - one in the kitchen and two in your bathrooms - for a cost of $18. With rising water and sewer costs, aerators will help you keep your bills affordable.

An added bonus: Some communities offer free aerators or aerator rebates as part of their water conservation efforts. For example, the Austin Water Department in Texas offers free kitchen and bathroom faucet aerators and efficient showerheads. Check with your local utility company, or municipality, to see what hand-outs, rebates or tax credits you can utilize.

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Shirley Henderson

Being transplanted into the little town of Easley in 1969,from Ohio was a great shocker. So,I guess you could say I'm a Half Breed Southern. I’ve really enjoyed the people and the quietness of the a....

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