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Utility bills are one of the largest home-related expenses for many families, aside from a mortgage. If you have been paying more than you think you should for electricity and/or water, your appliances may be operating inefficiently or you may not be using them as intended. Here are some simple ways to save money on your next utility bill.

Cleaning the refrigerator on a regular basis can help it work more efficiently. That includes removing dust from the back and underneath. 

Keep your refrigerator set to a temperature that will keep your food cold enough to be safe. Don’t set the temperature too low because that could waste electricity.

When you open the refrigerator door, room-temperature air enters and then the appliance has to use more energy to maintain a temperature appropriate for food. Before you open the fridge, think about what you want to get so you can minimize the amount of time the door is open.

Stovetop burners come in a variety of sizes, allowing you to use whichever is appropriate for the pot or pan you are using to cook. If you use a burner that is too big, you can waste a significant amount of the heat produced. Using the right burner can help you use energy more efficiently and save money.

A dishwasher uses electricity and water, no matter how many items are inside it. To save on utility bills, only run the dishwasher when it’s full. Don’t overload it, though. The dishes may not get clean and you end up having to use more water to wash them a second time.

When you do laundry, use the coldest temperature setting that is safe for the items you are washing so you don’t waste electricity to heat water unnecessarily. Set the washer to the appropriate load size so you don’t use more water and energy than you need. For laundry that is not heavily soiled, use the shortest cycle you can.

Lint that is left over from one load can make the dryer have to work harder during the next load. You may need to run the dryer more than once to get things completely dry. That can waste a lot of electricity, especially if you do several loads of laundry each week. Cleaning your dryer regularly can help it work more efficiently.

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Many homeowners don’t realize how much energy and water they are wasting and how easy it can be to lower their utility bills. Implementing these simple changes could save you a substantial amount of money over the course of a year.