There are several ways to reduce your year-round electric expenses. Most are low or no cost, while some may require an investment.
Even with the investment, the monthly savings quickly add up to larger savings that more than cover the initial investment. There are also seasonal changes we can make to reduce our monthly bills, typically based on the weather.
• One of the most important things you can do to save on your utility bill is to monitor your consumption. The City of Thomasville provides prior readings for each utility service on your monthly statement so that you can be mindful of any spikes in your consumption. You can also monitor your usage using our mobile app and the Utilities Online portal, available at Thomasville.org.
• Close air/heat supply registers for rooms that aren’t in use so that your unit isn’t working overtime to cool or heat a room that isn’t used by your household.
• Clean/change filters often, typically every one to three months, as recommended by the manufacturer. A clogged or dirty filter will cause a unit to run longer than it needs to.
• Check for leaks or cracks around windows and doors. Caulking, sealing, or weather stripping doors and windows can help seal air leaks and prevent cold or hot air from coming inside.
• Clear any obstructions. This means keeping furniture, drapes, toys, and any other items away from air registers. When a register is covered, it can’t distribute hot or cold air throughout a room efficiently.
• Replace incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs. The average home with 20 60-watt incandescent bulbs can save around $17 a month by switching to LED bulbs. That’s not taking into consideration the heat generated by incandescent bulbs, which can cause your home to feel even hotter in the summer months.
• Install an electronic programmable thermostat. Electronic thermostats are more accurate than traditional mechanical thermostats, and programmable thermostats allow users to program their settings based on the needs of their home. This allows you to control when your heat or air will automatically turn on and off without users having to manually adjust them.
• Install automatic HVAC controls. While there are higher costs associated with doing so, it is the best way to cut down on heating and cooling costs because it minimizes the heating and cooling of your home while it’s unoccupied. Automatic HVAC controls allow users to automate HVAC functions with programmable electronic thermostats. Where Wi-Fi is available, users can use internet-based thermostats that allow customers to adjust their setting from anywhere using an app on their cell phone.
• Set your thermostat between 66-68 degrees (or even lower) or consider turning your unit completely off when you’re away.
• Check your heating ducts to ensure there are no leaks.
• Take advantage of heat from the sun by opening shades and drapes for sun-facing windows to let the sun help heat your home. Close these at night or during overcast days to help insulate your home from the cold.
• Dress in warmer clothes and use additional layers to help insulate and keep in your body heat. Adding extra blankets to your bed at night can also help keep you warm.
• Cover drafts where you can. An easy and inexpensive way to cover your windows is with heavy-duty clear plastic sheets on the frame. Just make sure the plastic is tightly sealed to the frame.
• Reduce heat loss from your fireplace. Make sure the damper is closed unless you’ve got a fire burning. Otherwise, you’re letting all your warm air go right up the chimney.
• If you don’t use your fireplace at all, plug and seal the chimney flue.
• Set your thermostat between 76-78 degrees Fahrenheit when you’re home.
• When you’re away from home, turn your thermostat 5-10 degrees higher, or even better, turn it off completely.
• Use fans when possible. Keeping the air moving is key to greater comfort in hot weather, and an electric fan is much less expensive to run than an air conditioner.
• Keep blinds closed and curtains drawn when it’s sunny out. The rays from the sun can bring extra heat to your home.
It’s important to remember that a water leak can affect more than just your water charges. The City of Thomasville’s wastewater charges are based off a user’s water consumption, meaning a leak increases both the water and wastewater portions of your bill.
• Check for wet areas around your lawn. An unusually wet area where the remainder of the yard is dry is often a good indicator of a leak. These leaks often go undetected for a period of time, severely impacting your budget.
• Make sure your toilet isn’t running more than normal. A leaking toilet can use as much as 21,600 gallons of water per month, costing over $43 additional dollars on just one utility bill.
• Look for dripping faucets in sinks and showers. A simple drip over time can add up to 10,800 gallons of water per month, costing over $21 in water and wastewater charges per month.
• Inspect household appliances. Leaks can be located around garbage disposals, water heaters, and washing machines, just to name a few.
• Look for wet or soft areas on floors or in counters. These types of leaks can cause substantial damage in your home, along with increased utility bills!
• Monitor your consumption. Pay attention to the water and wastewater consumption that is shown on your monthly utility statement and, if you notice a spike, investigate for leaks. Consumption can also be monitored online using the Utilities Online link at Thomasville.org.