Chances are, you’re spending more on your utility bill than you should. The good news is that it’s easy to whittle down your bill and put more money in your own pocket.

These five tips can help you save hundreds of dollars over the course of a year. They’re simple to implement, and they won’t cost you a lot of cash up front. You can even complete some of these do-it-yourself projects in just a few minutes.

Swap Out Your Bulbs for Electricity Savings

Those old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs provide a lovely warm glow. But that cozy atmosphere could be costing you big time. Incandescent bulbs aren’t particularly energy efficient. In fact, according to SDG&E, lighting accounts for as much as 20 percent of the typical home energy bill.

Luckily, saving money is as simple as swapping out your light bulbs. Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) or light-emitting diodes (LEDs) can last far longer than traditional bulbs and use a lot less energy. While these light bulbs cost more upfront than incandescents, you’ll see substantial cost savings on your bill.

A CFL bulb can last for 10,000 hours, and an LED bulb can last for a whopping 50,000 hours! Compare that with a mere 1,000 to 2,000 hours for a traditional incandescent bulb.

Both LEDs and CFLs come in a wide range of color “temperatures,” so you can now buy bulbs that mimic the warm light of an incandescent—no need to worry about these alternative bulbs casting a cold or clinical light.

Oh, and this should go without saying, but we’ll say it anyway, just in case you need a reminder—turn out the lights when you leave the room!

Plug In to a Power Strip 

Computers. Printers. Cable boxes. Sound systems. Flat-screen TVs. Even the microwave and coffee maker.

All the electronics we rely on each day are drawing power—even when they’re not in use. Cable boxes especially can be real energy hogs. By some estimates, each box can add up to $120 per year to your utility bill, and many homes have more than one box.

But let’s face it—it’s just not practical to go around unplugging all your appliances when they’re not in use. Besides, who wants to reset the clock on the coffeemaker every day?

There is simple, cost-effective solution. All you have to do is invest $30 to $40 in a smart power strip. Since standby power costs the average home $100 a year, it’s a wise move.

These power strips monitor the amount of juice your electronics are pulling. When they drop down into standby mode, the strip automatically kills the power to those outlets. So, when your printer isn’t in use, it won’t draw any power—not even the amount needed to keep it in standby mode.

Set Up a Motion Sensor

Outdoor lights are great for safety and security, but they don’t need to burn bright all night long. Choose a motion-sensing light so that illumination turns on just when it’s needed. Doing so can cut your costs by 50 percent.

If you need to add light to a dark pathway, consider lamps powered by solar panels. Since they don’t need to be plugged in, they won’t add to your electricity bill. You can find some versions for less than $5 apiece.

Check for Drafts

As your house settles, small gaps can open around doors. If you feel outside air seeping in even when the door is shut tight, it’s a clear sign of inefficiency. For less than $10, you can buy a roll of weather stripping from your local hardware store and seal up the gaps.

Weather stripping helps keep the air you’ve paid to heat or cool inside your home. Plus, keeping drafts out will make you more comfortable in your home. Weather stripping can also make it easier to follow through on our final DIY tip.

Select the Right Setting

Adjust your thermostat by just a couple of degrees and you could save as much as $200 per year on your power bill. Set it to 68 in the winter—take your mom’s advice and put on a sweater if you still feel chilly.

Need some air conditioning tips to save energy this summer? We’ve got two good ones.

Tip #1: Aim for a thermostat setting of 78 degrees. If that feels too warm, just remember that every degree you raise the A/C over a period of eight hours in the summer can equal a 1 percent savings on your yearly cooling bill.

Tip #2: Change or clean your air filter. Whether you have a disposable filter or a reusable filter, be sure to give it some attention at least once a month. A clean filter can help your air-conditioning system work up to 15 percent more effectively.

One more important thing to remember: If no one is home during the day, turn the thermostat way down in the winter, and way up in the summer. We’re talking as much as 10 degrees here. Changing the thermostat settings dramatically for eight hours a day can knock up to 10 percent off your usual yearly costs.

And there’s an added benefit to turning the heat down at night in the winter. The National Sleep Foundation says that a cooler room is more conducive to sleep, so go ahead and set the thermostat to about 65 degrees. Just be sure to have some extra blankets on hand.

Want More Energy-Saving Tips?

While these simple DIY tips should help you notice some savings on your utility bill, you can save even more with bigger projects, like installing solar panels or a solar attic fan.

At RC Energy Solutions, we offer a free, no-hassle consultation designed to provide you with information about how a total home energy solution can reduce your use and increase the comfort and beauty of your home.

To get started, contact us today.

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