What can I do to lower my utility bill?

Whether you are trying to reduce your carbon footprint or just need to keep your bills manageable, many people are looking for ways to keep the utility bill down.

Light bulb!

Lighting your home can be up to 15 percent of the electricity consumed, so it's worth looking at what kind of bulbs are in your home. Those inexpensive incandescent light bulbs that we grew up with are unfortunately not energy efficient. The compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) are four times more efficient than incandescent light bulbs and the new LED light bulbs consume the least amount of power. The drawback however, is paying for the more energy efficient light bulbs up front. Both the CFLs and LEDs make up for their cost in the long run with the energy savings, the CFLs have a life span of eight to ten years and the LEDs forty to fifty years. But replacing all the incandescent light bulbs in your home today probably isn't in the budget, so start small by replacing the most frequently used lights and move on from there. According to the Everything Green Living Book, “By replacing just five incandescent lights with compact fluorescent lights, a standard household could save up to $60 per year.”

One final note on light bulbs is to remember to turn the lights off when you leave the room. It's one of the easiest ways to save money.

Adjust the thermostat

Heating and cooling your home are a huge part of your utility bill, in fact almost 45 percent of your electricity consumed is from keeping your home at a comfortable temperature. In the winter, set the thermostat to 68 degrees while you're awake and lower while your asleep or out of the house. In the summer, set the thermostat to 78 degrees when you're at home and higher when you're not. You may like it cooler, but keeping the thermostat set to 78, instead of 72 can save between 6 and 18 percent of your cooling bill. If you have a programmable thermostat, you can make sure you save energy while you're gone and return it to normal settings before you get home.

In the summer, use blinds and drapes to block out the sun's rays from heating up your home and working against your air conditioner. Conversely, in the winter, let the sun in to help keep it warm.

Turn off when not in use

Leaving the computer on all day can cost about a quarter a day, that may not seem like a lot but it adds up. When you leave the house or are not using the computer, turn it off or put it on sleep mode.

Unplug chargers when equipment is charged. Many chargers continuously draw a small amount of energy even when not charging. The same goes for practically anything that gets plugged in, this is called phantom energy loss. The main source of phantom energy loss is electronics with standby capabilities. The only way to stop it is to unplug it. You don't have to constantly walk around your house unplugging everything, do what you're comfortable with.

Remember, it's the little things that you do every day that add up to big energy savings.

These are the opinions of writers and not the opinions of RentTally.com or any of our advertising partners.