On average, Americans spend 5-10% of their income on electric bills, which is over $1300 per year.
Every individual and family has different energy-related usage, but there are a few habits and smart choices that can be made to reduce energy costs.
In this article, I will discuss how to save money on electricity bills without living like you are in the Stone Age.
Table of Contents
- Turn off Unnecessary Lights
- Save on Heating and Cooling Systems
- Smart Power and Lighting Choices to Save Money
- Manage Hot Water Usage
- Use Energy-Efficient Appliances to Reduce Utility Bills
- More Quick Tips to Lower Your Electricity Bill
- Frequently Asked Questions
Turn off Unnecessary Lights
This tip to reduce your electric bill is fairly simple but often largely neglected. One of the easiest ways of reducing your electricity bill is to turn off the lights when they are not needed.
The impact of keeping up this practice is huge, even if this feels like a small change. Consider this: If you switch off two 100-watt light bulbs for an extra two hours every day, you could save up to $15 a year, and turning off a 60-watt bulb for four hours a day can save you up to $9 in a year. So, just this simple change can save on energy costs.
Save on Heating and Cooling Systems
The biggest contributors to your annual electricity bill are home heating and cooling systems.
Here, we are not only talking about air conditioning, ventilation, and heating but certain kitchen appliances like fridge and freezers, that can drain your wallet if used carelessly.
Check for air leaks
Small habits that can affect your electricity usage, like checking for air leaks in your doors, windows, and cooling appliances like the fridge or the deep freezer, can provide huge benefits.
Should you find any leaks, this is an easy fix. Just buy some weather strips and caulk to seal any leaking doors, windows, plumbing, or air ducts. Your air conditioner and/or furnace will most certainly run less after you do this. peaking of your air conditioner, an annual maintenance check is key to keeping it running at peak efficiency.
A professional home energy audit can uncover areas that are increasing your energy bill that you may have missed. A home energy assessment will also determine things like whether you need to add more insulation.
Side note: It still floors me that it was common practice a few decades ago, and even still today, that homes were built without adding insulation to the walls. Insulation is beneficial in homes in all climates.
Manage thermostat temperature
Be smart about managing your programmable thermostat when away from home or sleeping. Lowering your thermostat 10 to 15 degrees for 8 hours a day can save you 10% of your yearly heating and cooling cost.
Programmable thermostats, or a smart thermostat, can allow for hands-off energy efficiency.
Use the fridge and freezer at optimal temperature
One of the most common mistakes you can make is to make your cooling appliances work in overdrive by setting them on temperatures that make food colder than necessary.
The fridge can be set anywhere between 35 and 38 degrees and the freezer between 0 and 5 degrees. This will keep the food fresh and the appliances would not be using too much energy to maintain the temperature.
Window coverings can benefit energy conservation
‘Weather' (<-see what I did there) we're talking about heating costs during the winter months or the peak time AC usage during the dog days of summer, there is a window covering that can help reduce your power bill.
Smart Power and Lighting Choices to Save Money
Making intelligent choices related to power and lighting can benefit your bank account since their usage makes up almost 11% of your total energy bill.
Switch to LEDs
Using an Energy Star labeled LED light bulb in your five most-used house areas can help you save $75 annually on your electric bill.
The Energy Star certification indicates that the product meets efficiency guidelines set by the EPA. LED bulbs are more expensive initially that standard bulbs but last a lot longer and are far more energy efficient.
Use smart power strips
Many electronic devices, especially the ones used with a remote, consume some amount of energy even when on standby. Plugging these devices into a smart power strip makes sure the current is cut off when they are not being used.
Use dimmer switches
Install dimmer switches that can be used to lower light brightness in your room and all over the living space, according to your energy needs. The dimmer the light, the more money on utilities you will save in the long run.
Manage Hot Water Usage
Hot water is used in several daily activities like taking showers, using the dishwasher, and washing clothes. It is no wonder that according to the Department of Energy, the consumption of hot water is the second-most influential factor affecting your energy use and thus, your utility costs.
Take shorter showers
A long, hot shower can be a great way to start/end a day.
However, running water can result in gallons being wasted without you even realizing it. You can save as much as 5 gallons of water only by stepping out of the shower just two minutes earlier.
This is a hard one for me to follow and my utility bill really shows this in the winter months.
Use WaterSense labeled shower heads:
Install a WaterSense labeled shower head which is guaranteed to reduce water usage. You could save up to 2700 gallons of water per year.
Use cold or warm water for laundry
Using warm or cold water is an easy and efficient way to reduce power usage by half on every load of clothes.
Pay attention to your electric water heater temperature setting
Most people do not pay much attention to hot water heater temperature when in fact, the most common default water temperature setting of 140 degrees could be much higher than necessary and take up much more power than necessary.
You can save electricity by turning down the water heater temperature to a lower setting.
Use Energy-Efficient Appliances to Reduce Utility Bills
You can reduce energy usage by choosing energy-efficient appliances. Replacing your large household appliances such as the washing machine, dishwasher, clothes dryer, or even your TV with gadgets that will save you money in the future.
Read about the government's Energy Star certification program to help you with your buying decisions.
More Quick Tips to Lower Your Electricity Bill
There are several other quick ways to lower your electrical bill. As we have discussed earlier, these ways to save power do not have to be elaborate or cost you money. A little change in daily habits can reduce your electricity consumption in big ways.
- Unplug the electronics you are not using to save electricity.
- Avoid using the washing machine until you have a full load of laundry.
- Maintain the efficiency of your HVAC system by regularly replacing the air filter about every month and scheduling an annual maintenance check.
- More oven use is equal to more heat and more load on your air conditioning; grill outside more often if that's your thing. Personally, I much prefer my Camp Chef pellet smoker grill to my oven.
- Use a clothesline to dry the washed clothes if you have the space and time. Dryers consume a lot of electricity.
- Turn off the heat dry setting in your dishwasher.
- Install ceiling fans and actually use them. (unlike me)
Frequently Asked Questions
I hope this blog post helped you learn more about how to save money on electricity bills. Thank you for reading, I will add more energy saving tips as I learn about them.