Utility costs can fluctuate greatly throughout the year, and monthly bills can climb well into the hundreds of dollars during high-usage seasons. Even when weather extremes aren't taxing your home's heating and cooling systems, various appliances used in your home continue to drive up costs. Depending on the amenities, utility bills could skyrocket due to outdoor consumption of water, electric and gas. There are several things you can do to cut down on backyard usage:
Sprinklers Sprinkler systems are easily misused. According to Hribar.com, most homeowners over-water their lawns, when such treatments are only needed every four to five days. Slowing down the rate of your watering and canceling scheduled watering during rainstorms can cut down on watering costs considerably. Water at night to reduce water lost to heat evaporation. Make adjustments to your sprinkler heads so they only water your lawn and not your sidewalks, the side of your house, or your neighbor's yard. Using a sprinkler timer is another great way to cut your water bill without the hassle of having to manually adjust watering times.
Let your lawn grow An alternative to improving your watering tactics is to reduce your lawn's need for water. While many lawns still need occasional watering, help your grass weather hot, blistering summers by raising the blade on your mower. Allow the lawn to stand at least three inches tall after its cut. The extra length will improve the root system and provide additional shade to the grass and the soil, reducing water loss and improving water conservation. Because longer lawns require less cutting, save on gas.
Hot tubs and pools Pools and hot tubs need to be properly insulated with effective covers to minimize heat loss, which can be substantial. Hot tub owners should make sure they have a properly sized hot tub cover.
Air conditioning condensers The metal box that serves as your air conditioning system's condenser unit is far from the most beautiful feature in your backyard, but covering it can be a costly mistake. Shrubbery, lawn furniture and permanent fixtures such as decks can restrict airflow, increasing the workload on the unit. Improving airflow will let the condenser unit properly dispense of its hot air and keep the unit clean, allowing efficient cooling and lower electricity costs.