Electricity bills take a huge chunk of most household income. According to the US Department of Energy, an average American home spends at least $2200 annually on electricity, even though the cost depends on the state, the house size, and the number of occupants.
While living without electricity is not possible because we need to keep our lights on, use air conditioning and hot water heater, people are looking for ways to keep their home energy-efficient. As the energy cost continues to skyrocket, it’s a good idea to find ways to keep the bills at manageable levels.
Simple Ways to Lower Your Electric Bill
There are plenty of simple tweaks that can help lower your electric bill by as much as 25% or more. Whether it’s by investing in solar energy or by buying energy-efficient appliances, we can take steps towards saving energy and reducing electricity bills. This piece will look at these different ways to lower your electric bills.
Turn off Your Air Conditioner When You Don’t Need It
The heating and cooling system is the biggest culprit behind their huge electric utility bill. To reduce energy usage, turn off the AC when you’re sleeping or away. Then, adjust the temperatures back to 10 or 15 degrees before sleeping or stepping out of your home if you’re leaving nobody at home. Doing so can cut cooling costs by up to 10%.
Also, consider closing off rooms with no occupants. During the summer months, set the thermostat no lower than 72°F. You can save 4% to 8% on cooling costs for every degree you raise the thermostat.
Adjust the temperature to 2 degrees higher during summer and 2 degrees lower during winter months. The recommended temperatures to set your thermostat are 70-72 degrees in winter and 72-74 degrees in the summer.
Use a Programmable Thermostat
With a programmable thermostat, you can adjust your home temperatures accordingly and lower your electric bill by 20%. In addition, this energy-efficient tool lets you program when you will be away or asleep, thus removing the hassle of manually adjusting it or walking from in the scorching sun to a heated up house. With this, you achieve home energy efficiency as it automatically makes the changes when necessary.
Seal Air Leakages
Cracks and openings can cause air leakages where the air outside enters and conditioned air leaves the house. This makes ventilating your home more costly.
If you can reduce air leakage, you can keep your cooling bills low. You can achieve this through weather stripping and caulking. These are the two most simple and cost-effective air-sealing techniques.
Weatherstripping seals operational components such as operable doors and windows, whereas caulk seals openings and cracks between foundational and stationary house components.
Switch to ENERGY STAR Appliances
The US Environmental Protection Agency gives products that meet certain energy-efficient guidelines the ENERGY STAR accolade. The US government sets these guidelines to help minimize greenhouse emissions.
With an ENERGY STAR certified product like an air conditioner, you utilize less energy compared to when using non-certified models. It saves you up to 15%, which translates to $85 over the units’ lifetime.
Besides buying an ENERGY STAR HVAC system, buy other energy star products such as the refrigerator, dishwasher, water heater, dehumidifier, TV, washer, and dryer to help reduce your energy bills.
Clean and Maintain Your HVAC Vents and Units
An air conditioning system could be faulty, leading to hefty bills. To ensure that the AC is functioning properly, clean and maintain its vents, coils, fans, and air filters. Dirty and clogged filters obstruct the normal flow of air, reducing the efficiency of the system. Replacing the dirty filters with clean ones could reduce the energy consumption by 5% to 15%. Also, fix and repair leaky ductwork.
Block the Sun With Drapes and Blinds
Blinds and drapes don’t have to just be there for room décor; they can also help you conserve energy. For example, it’d help if you use these window treatments to help cool your home during the summer months.
Close draperies on windows that receive direct sunlight to reduce heat gain during summer days—drapes help lower heat gain by 33%. In addition, blinds that fully close over a window when pulled down can help lower heat by up to 45%.
Turn on Your Ceiling Fans
You can combine a ceiling fan with an air conditioner to cool the room. The ceiling fan can reduce the temperatures up to 4 degrees; thus, it can allow you to turn down the thermostat accordingly. Sometimes if the weather permits, you can solely rely on the ceiling fan to cool the house. This will lower the temperature and reduce energy use.
Adjust Your Freezer and Refrigerator Temperatures
If you set the refrigerator at 38 degrees and your freezer between 0 and 5 degrees, it will keep your produce fresh while consuming less energy. In addition, your freezer and fridge won’t have to work as hard to maintain their temperatures. Ensuring your refrigerator and freezer are in good condition is one of the ways to save money.
Adjust the Temperature on Your Water Heater
Typically, most water heaters’ default setting is 140 degrees. If you lower it to 120 degrees, you’ll cut the water heating costs by 10%.
A sizeable portion of electricity expense comes from maintaining a tank with warm water. Though there are tankless water heaters, most homes still have the ones with a tank. Lowering the temperatures by a few degrees can help save energy bills.
Also, turn the water heater to the lowest setting if you’re traveling or going for a vacation to conserve energy.
Install Solar Panels
Solar panels can save energy by more than 75%. However, this option may be costly initially because you’ll need to buy and install the panels. But, over time, solar panels can help cut your energy costs by three quarters and even conserve the environment. You may also qualify for tax rebates and discounts for going green.
Get a Windmill
Another great option to help cut electric bills is using a windmill. While this might be a tricky option, it’s an energy-conservation method with environmental benefits and a great option if you’re able to set it up. Setting up costs is usually the highest, but it will cost you nothing more once everything is in place. Therefore, it will reduce the electric bills completely over time.
Use Smart Power Strips
Some electronic devices stay on standby mode and never fully turn the power off. When on standby, they consume a trickle of power that can add up with time. Plugging such electronics into a smart power strip can help cut the current off when the gadget isn’t in use and reduce power usage.
Do an Energy Audit
You may never know what is consuming more energy than it should in your home unless you review your electric gadgets carefully. While this may take much of your time, why not take advantage of the home energy audits that some utility providers offer, sometimes for free? They can help identify more ways to cut your energy costs.
Check out Energy-Saving Apps
With energy savings apps, you can track the amount of energy you consume every day. Also, apps are pretty resourceful, and they offer insights, tips, and advice on ways to save money on your electricity bill.
Take Advantage of Off-Peak Rates
Most power companies offer cheaper rates during off-peak. So take advantage of that and use your dishwasher, water heater, washing machine, and other appliances that consume a lot of energy during those hours to reduce the energy bill.
Unplug Appliances When Not in Use
When you’re done using any electronic gadget such as laptop, phone chargers, microwave, toast, and iron box, make sure you unplug them. If left plugged in, you will be wasting energy and will increase your energy cost. In addition, when appliances remain plugged in but not in use, they produce phantom power. This power goes to waste and accounts for 5% and 10% of your energy bill.
Use Energy-Efficient LED Bulbs
Incandescent lighting bulbs consume high amounts of energy, and using them at your home increases your electricity bill. Switch to energy-efficient (LED) light bulbs which will help cut the number of watts you consume, and they even last 25x longer. Led lighting bulbs consume 75% less energy than incandescent light bulbs.
Use Heat-Generating Appliances at Night
Some appliances could save you money if you use them when the temperatures allow. For example, using an oven, dishwasher, or dryer during the day forces the AC to work harder to maintain the right temperatures. Instead, make use of such appliances at night when the temperatures outside are cooler.
Also, running these appliances during peak hours or when electricity is high on demand costs more. So wait until a few hours or minutes to bedtime to run that dryer or dishwasher, and you’ll save some money.
Dress Appropriately Based on Temperatures
The heating and cooling costs take up to 40% of the household’s electricity use. When you feel cold, it can be tempting to switch the heater on to keep you warm. But, this will translate into a higher bill. Instead of using a heater, consider investing in some warm clothes. Pop on some extra layers of clothes or use a blanket to warm yourself up.
Also, when you feel hot, instead of switching on the fan, consider dressing down —this is a great way of saving on energy costs.
Cook in Bulk and Efficiently
Ovens are some of the biggest power usage culprits and consume up to 2400 watts on average in a single setup. So avoid using the oven for a small meal.
Try cooking enough meals for both lunch and supper at the same time and reheat the meals in a microwave later. Cook foods that can last a week in bulk. Bulk cooking could save you some money.
Insulate Your Home
Well-insulated rooms stay warmer for longer in winter and cooler for longer in summer. Therefore, if you live in places where the weather can go into extreme levels, insulate the walls, ceiling, floors, and roof. If you’re building or making home improvements, choose sturdy walls that can absorb the outside temperature first. That way, they will maintain the right temperatures always.
Cut Back on Hot Water Usage
Hot water is another major culprit leading to high energy bills. According to the Department of Energy, it’s the second-largest expense in powering households. However, if you cut on hot water usage when doing laundry, dishwashing, or showering, you can reduce a sizeable amount of cash from your overall electricity bill.
If you cannot use cold water to shower, consider trimming at least two minutes off your shower time. This can help cut your water usage by up to five gallons and save on energy costs.
Turn off the Outdoor Light
Illuminating your porch or swimming pool at night makes it look fancy and beautiful. However, this is a huge waste of energy. If you put off your outdoor lights on a timer, it can help balance savings and comfort.
Install Dimmer Switches
Installing dimmer switches could save you energy and money. The switches help set a certain mood in a room and get to use the right amount of energy.
Install a Low-Flow Restrictor
You can install a flow restrictor to suppress water usage. This will keep your water heater from consuming more energy. This will help lower your electricity bill.
Consider Switching to a Prepaid Electric Bill Plan
Consider making a switch from a long-term contract to a no deposit electricity company. Today, some electric companies provide an option for paying for the electricity that you consume.
You can choose to switch to a prepaid plan which can help your track your energy consumption with more accuracy. This can help households understand the cause of any energy spikes and thus help budget for the service. Also, one can keep an eye on seasonal variations in energy use, which will greatly benefit.