Just because you’re home most of the time now doesn’t mean your utility bills must skyrocket.
9 Ways to Save on Utilities During the COVID-19 Crisis
If you had parents who hounded you to turn off the lights when leaving a room to save electricity or shut off the faucet while brushing your teeth to conserve water, you probably grew up to either practice what they preached or go the opposite route just because you could.
And if you had parents who paid little attention to energy and other utilities usage, the same could be said for you. Either way, however, now that we’re all in this health and economic crisis together, saving energy and money in difficult financial times is probably a smart move.
Click or swipe here to learn 9 ways to save on monthly utility bills while flattening the curve.
1. Pay attention
This may seem obvious, but many people don’t give a thought to leaving every light in the house burning, the TV running while they’re gone and the porch light on all day long.
However, once you start turning off lights in empty rooms, stop wasting water and adjust your thermostat by even a few degrees, you should see a decrease in utility bills.
2. Check on non-peak energy discounts
Your electricity provider may offer time-of-use discounts if you wait until after 8 p.m. to run the dishwasher, washing machine, dryer or other large appliances. 
That’s because it costs the utility company less to provide electricity during non-peak times, so the savings get passed along to you if you sign up for a time-of-use program. 
3. Air ducts
The air duct system, which carries air from the furnace and air conditioner to rooms in your house, could be responsible for high heating and cooling bills. In fact, an air duct system that leaks heated air into unheated spaces can add “hundreds of dollars a year” to your heating and cooling bills, according to Energy Saver, a consumer website for the U.S. Department of Energy. 
Energy Saver recommends insulating ducts in unconditioned spaces and checking whether existing ducts may be blocked or need upgrades. 
4. Waste less hot water
Did you know that water heating can comprise around 12% of your total utility bill, coming in second after heating and cooling costs? 
The U.S. The Department of Energy recommends fixing leaks in faucets, showerheads and pipes and installing low-flow fixtures.  You can save even more by purchasing an energy-efficient washing machine or dishwasher.
5. Take short showers instead of baths
As relaxing as a hot bath can be, taking short showers can use a lot less water. While it’s tempting to stay in a hot, steamy shower as long as possible, keeping your shower time short will save money on both water usage and water heating costs.
6. Don’t leave water running
There’s no reason to leave water running while brushing your teeth, grabbing something from a kitchen cabinet or setting out work clothes in the bedroom while shower water heats to the perfect temperature.
Turn off the water when you’re not using it to prevent wasting this valuable resource and lower your water bill.
7. Be strategic with dishwasher loads
Unless you have a family, you probably don’t need to run a half-empty dishwasher every day. Even if your dishwasher fills up fast, load it as full as you can before washing a load.
To save even more, check with your electric company to find out if you can get a discount for using the dishwasher and other appliances during weekend and nighttime off-peak hours. 
8. Unplug unused electronics
Energy.gov recommends unplugging electronic devices you aren’t using or the extra TV in the guest room when you don’t have guests to avoid wasting money on “energy vampires” that continue to use electricity when plugged in, even when not in use. 
9. Clean your dryer vent
You know that long aluminum, plastic or vinyl tube sticking out the back of your dryer and blowing hot air outside? If that vent gets clogged, you have two big problems. For one thing, your house could burn down, since dryer vents clogged with lint can ignite fires.
The second issue is less extreme but still crucial when trying to cut your gas or electric bill. That’s because a clogged dryer vent causes clothing and heavy items such as towels to take forever to dry. So what typically dries in one cycle may take three or four times instead.
Clean your dryer vent at least once a year for safety and lower utility bills. 
This article by Deb Hipp was originally published on Debt.com.
Published by Debt.com, LLC