5+ Simple Ways to Save on Electricity
Posted By Macey Farnsworth on October 22nd, 2019
Opening your electric bill after a record-breaking hot or cold month can send you into a panic, right?
To prevent this from happening again, know that there are many simple ways to save on electricity that anyone can do. Here are five of our top recommendations.
Heating and Cooling
First, we’ll start with the most significant electrical expense, your heating and cooling (or HVAC) systems. Your furnace and air conditioner require a lot of power to run, so it makes the most sense that they make up the biggest portion of your electric bill.
Turn Down (or Up) Your Thermostat
Depending on the season, try setting your thermostat up or down 10 to 15 degrees during the day and at night (about eight hours). Doing this can save you about 10 percent per year on your heating and cooling costs.
You can also invest in a smart thermostat that you can control from your phone or through Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home devices. By being able to program your thermostat while you’re away from home, you can also save money.
Check the Seals Around Your Doors and Windows
If you have any drafts, even small ones, that’s like throwing money away. A few drafty windows are the equivalent of leaving a window open for an entire year.
You can replace seals on doors and windows or replace windows entirely if they are past their prime. Today’s windows are energy efficient and can significantly reduce your heating and cooling bills.
For big window or door leaks that you can’t fix or replace right away, try a temporary fix like plastic window film kits or door draft guards.
Related Story: How to Cut Your Cell Phone Bill in Half
Lighting and Power
While your lights, appliances and gadgets don’t seem like they would cost a lot in terms of electricity costs, when added all together, they take up a big portion of your bill.
Try LED or CFL Bulbs
Did you know that LED and fluorescent bulbs are about 25 to 80 percent more efficient than incandescent bulbs? They also last much longer.
It’s important to note that LED bulbs and CFL bulbs are more expensive. You can replace your incandescent bulbs as they burn out if you can’t afford to replace them all at once.
Use Power Strips
There are gadgets and other appliances that are always in standby mode, otherwise known as energy vampires. They never shut off and are always drawing power. Plug them into a power strip that you can turn off to control energy usage.
If you love the idea of a “smart” home, there are now smart power strips. So, if you forget to turn off your coffee maker you can switch it off while you’re away from home.
Upgrade Your Appliances
If you can afford to, replace any old or outdated appliance with a new one. Most modern appliances are more energy-efficient than ones that are decades old. Be sure to check the Energy Star ratings to find the most efficient appliance in your price range.
Don’t worry if you can’t afford to replace outdated appliances. You can always wait until an appliance dies.
Did you know that some power companies charge more for energy depending on the time of day? Try doing chores such as running the dishwasher or clothes dryer during off-peak hours.
And speaking of clothes dryers, try air-drying your clothes, either indoors or outside in the summer. The dryer is very expensive to run, so anything you can do to shorten the time it runs helps save a bunch of money.
Say what? Hot water usage can affect your electric bill? Yes, it can and in a big way. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, it is the second biggest expense when it comes to powering homes.
Turn Down Your Water Heater
There’s no need to keep your water heater at 140 degrees. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that it can cost $36 to $61 annually in standby mode and over $400 a year to bring a whole tank of water up to that temperature.
Try turning it down to 120 degrees and save a little money in the process. Turning down the temperature will also prevent scalding.
Cut your hot water bill down a bit by taking showers that are only 2 minutes shorter than your average shower.
It’s also a good idea to replace your shower head with a more efficient one that lowers the gallons-per-minute rate to save on hot water.
Most newer washers and laundry detergents do a great job of cleaning clothes with cold water. The more you do this, the less your hot water heater will need to provide hot water.
Only wash and dry full loads. By only doing a few large loads rather than a lot of small loads, you will save money by not running your machines as much.
A lot of power companies offer budget or balance billing, which can at least make it easier to budget for your electrical expenses. Your bill is split up over 12 months, with quarterly adjustments so you can avoid sticker shock.
Ask your power company for a free energy audit. They will visit your home and inspect it, then give you some suggestions to help make your home more efficient.