There are a lot of ways that you can save money on utilities in your home or apartment.  Some have been around forever and others involve using new and affordable technology.

The most common advice – change your thermostat.  In the winter, turn it down and put on some warm and comfortable clothes.  This can save you hundreds per month. 

A modern twist on this advice is to use a laser thermometer to check for issues with your insulation or find air gaps where air may be coming in from the outside.  A common place for air gaps is around doors – this can be easily solved by installing weather strip around the door itself.

You can also purchase and install a digital thermostat, which is a small initial investment of typically a couple hundred dollars but pays for itself quickly in hotter or colder areas. 

Finally, conduct a basic review of all the items in your house using electricity.  Are they necessary? And if so, are they energy efficient?  Unplug items that you are not using.  You can also use an electricity meter on items to determine which appliances and other electrical devices in your house are using the most energy.  The answers will likely surprise you!

A common feature in a lot of modern houses and apartments is large windows.  These provide amazing views and natural light in your house or apartment but they have a big downside as well – reduced insulation.  One way to combat this is through the installation of blackout curtains.  Blackout curtains save energy – trapping heat in the winter and keeping it out during the summer.  By some estimates nearly 25% of heat loss goes out windows.  This number will be higher for larger windows.  Blackout curtains can seriously reduce this loss.

Another hint for winter?  Use a water heater blanket.  For a seriously small initial investment – usually around $20 – you can buy a water heater blanket at most home improvement stores.  They take only minutes to install and can reduce water heating bills by 10%.  While doing this you should also check if your hot water pipes are insulated. 

Heating water is usually around 20% of a home’s energy usage.  This small investment in a water heater blanket can save hundreds a year on utility bills.  Water heater blankets should only be used on electric water heaters, not gas.  They are a fire hazard if used on gas water heaters.

Finally, the ultimate way to save money on utilities requires a more significant investment but also offers greater payoffs.  If you own your home, you should seriously consider installing solar power equipment.  There are tax benefits to the purchase, an ability to finance with very low rates, and also the inevitable dramatic reductions in your utility bills.  In some areas, the local power company will even buy the excess energy you produce.  Which means checks coming from the power company to you, not the other way around!