Ways to save on your next utility bill

MISSOULA - According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the typical U.S. family spends at least $2,200 each year on energy bills with nearly half of that going toward heating and cooling costs.

With fall and winter upon us, it can be pretty costly to heat your homes but there are several tricks you can try to save money.

The first cheapest and easiest way to save money on your utility bill is to wear warm socks and sweaters while inside and use extra blankets while sleeping or lounging to avoid having to turn up your heat. If you feel like your floors are cold, using a rug can help insulate your home.

Installing blackout curtains can also help keep your electricity bill low. Swapping regular curtains for blackout curtains can save up to 25% off home heating and cooling.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, homeowners can save money by turning down the thermostat when they are sleeping or away from their homes. Turning the thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours can save around 10% of your heating and cooling bills.

Make sure your furnace is cleaned and maintained. This helps the vents to work properly and can reduce energy consumption.

Taking shorter showers can reduce the expense of heating up water. Try not to waste time in the shower and focus on getting in and out.

Turn the water off while doing the dishes or brushing your teeth to cut back water costs.

Turning down your water heater while you're out of the house or when it is not in use can help to significantly cut back on costs. About 14% to 25% of the energy consumed in your home is due to a running water heating.

Lowering the temperature 10 to 20 degrees or turning the knob to "vacation mode" can help to save energy.

LED bulbs offer the brightest light for the least amount of money. Swapping regular bulbs for LED bulbs is another way to be energy efficient.

Unplugging unused electrical devices may not seem like a big saver, but the small pulls of energy throughout the month can add up increasing your bill. Eliminate the unnecessary usage by unplugging devices or power strips you're not using.

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