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7 tips to keep utility bills in check as you spend more time at home

Many of these may be common sense, but hopefully they can knock a few dollars off your bills

ROANOKE, Va. – Cooking, cleaning, and clothes are the three c-words commanding everyone's time at home; but what we don't realize, are the hidden costs associated with their increased use.

Dan Wroclawski, Consumer Reports’ home and appliances reporter, explained different ways you can cut down on your utility bills.

He said the best place to start is in the kitchen.

  1. Use your stove to match the size of your pans to your burners. "For example a 6-inch pan on an 8-inch burner actually wastes about 40% of the heat generated,” explained Wroclawski.
  2. Let leftovers chill before putting them in the fridge and make sure everything, including liquids, are covered. “It will actually evaporate in the fridge,” Wroclawski said, “And let all this extra water, moisture into the fridge and that actually makes it work harder to cool down the fridge.”
  3. Pre-rinsing dishes isn’t necessary. "Doing so is just a waste of water,” Wroclawski said.

The laundry room is another place where you can save money.

  1. Use the highest spin-speed possible to get as much moisture out of your clothes. “So your dryer doesn’t have to work as hard drying,” Wroclawski said.
  2. Changing your dryer’s filter, and any other filters is key to keeping everything running as efficiently as possible.

Here are some other tips.

  1. Faucet leaks are more visible, but toilets can continuously run without leaving a trace. To check your toilet, you can actually put some food coloring in the tank and wait about 15 minutes. If you see food coloring in the bowl, you’ll know you have a problem and can get it replaced.
  2. Refrain from watering your lawn as often as you are used to. Wroclawski said an established lawn only needs about an inch of water per week and that includes rain.

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