TUCSON, Ariz. - Our homes have been working overtime for us these past several months. All those extra meals at home, dishwashing, heating preferences, it all adds up. Consumer Reports says a few small steps can keep your utility bills in check.
“Adjusting your thermostat settings is actually one of the simplest and most significant things you can do to keep your energy bills under control," says Consumer Reports Home Editor, Dan Wroclawski. "Lower your thermostat by a few degrees when you have the heat running and raise it a few degrees when it gets warmer and you have the AC running.”
CR says programmable or smart thermostats can make this lifestyle change easy, breezy. The Honeywell Home is a CR Best buy at $90 and testers said installation is fairly straightforward. CR also likes the smart Nest Thermostat E for about $140.
“Some smart thermostats also offer wireless temperature sensors that detect motion in a room. That allows you to heat or cool a room when it’s only being used," says Wroclawski.
You can curtail costs in the kitchen, too. When cooking smaller meals, use a toaster oven or microwave which costs less than heating up your big oven. To save water, instead of prolonged pre-rinsing and handwashing dishes, simply scrape off food and load it right into your dishwasher.
“Use the quick rinse or rinse and hold cycle on your dishwasher," says Wroclawski. "That’ll rinse all the dishes and use a lot less water than the faucet and then you can save them up for when you have a full load to run.”
And finally institute shorter showers. Five minutes or less.
CR says the best way to save in the laundry room is to use the highest spin setting available on your washer. It removes more moisture and helps shorten drying times.