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Wondering how to save on your electric bill? Check out these 11 simple but practical ways to save on your electric bill every month – you'll save big with #1!
How to Save on Your Electric Bill
Looking for ways to save on your electric bill? Aside of closing doors & windows (“we don't pay to air condition the outside!”), not keeping the fridge or freezers open (but MOMMMM, I'm hungry!), or leaving the light on in an empty room (“oops, did I do that?”), we're sharing 11 simple tips that will help save energy and reduce your monthly costs.
But first…are you curious what items in your home use the most electricity? Take a peek at the top categories that drive up the energy costs in your home. Here are the biggest energy “hogs” in a typical home:
- Cooling (and Heating): 45-50%
- Kitchen Appliances (Fridge, Oven, & Dishwasher combined): 13%
- Water Heating: 12%
- Lighting: 9-12%
- Washer and Dryer: 5%
- TV and Media Equipment: 2-4%
Want to save more money on your monthly bills, but not sure where to start? Our Money Planner is the complete guide to planning your financial goals. The annual worksheets, along with the monthly budgeting and planning review, will help you achieve success in your personal finance journey!
Gas Bill Savings Tips
1. Adjust the thermostat for the season.
It may sound silly, but you can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling expenses by simply turning your thermostat back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting. Wondering what temperature you should set your thermostat to during those hot summer & winter months? Keep reading…
Hot Weather Energy-Saving Tips:
– Set your thermostat at 78°F or higher (every degree of extra cooling will increase the energy usage by 6-8%!). On hotter days, raise the thermostat to 80°F or higher if leaving for a few hours.
– Use ceiling fans and portable fans to circulate the cool air.
– Close the blinds, curtains, or shades to block the sun and heat.
– Install patio covers, awnings, and solar window screens to shade your home from the sun – or plant trees & bushes in front of the south and west windows of your home to block the sun from coming in.
– Hang dry clothes on a clothesline instead of using a clothes dryer (indoors or outdoors!).
– Shade the outside air conditioning units or condensers if possible.
– Don‘t leave bathroom or kitchen ventilation fans running longer than necessary; they replace inside air with outside air.
Cold Weather Energy-Saving Tips:
– Set your thermostat at 68°F or lower (every degree of extra heating will increase the energy usage by 6-8%!).
– Try not to use the fireplace. Up to 80% of the heat produced in a fireplace goes right out the chimney. As it leaves, cold air is being drawn indoors through leaks in your home’s exterior walls and windows.
– Dress warmly or in layers (I do this one all the time!).
– Use extra blankets or space heaters to heat a room without heating the whole house.
– Heat rises, so set the ceiling fans on reverse to re-circulate the heat that builds up near the ceiling.
– Use insulated curtains to cover the windows at night.
– Open interior blinds, drapes, or shades during the day to let the sun warm your home during cooler months.
– Reuse any heat you've already generated (open the oven after baking or keep the bathroom door open after taking a shower).
2. Change your air filters regularly.
A dirty air filter will slow down the air flow and make your system work harder to keep the house warm or cool — in turn wasting energy. Therefore, it's always a great idea to check your air filters monthly, especially during winter and summer months. If the filter looks dirty after a month, don't hesitate to change it!
You should change the air filters every three months regardless. A clean filter prevents dust and dirt from building up in the system — leading to expensive maintenance and/or early system failure.
3. Tune up your HVAC equipment yearly.
HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. Just as a tune-up for your car can improve your gas mileage, a yearly tune-up of your HVAC system can greatly improve efficiency in your home.
Here are a few more HVAC tips:
– At the beginning of cooler or warmer season, have a professional come inspect your HVAC system.
– Have your duct system checked for air leaks and proper insulation (sealing and insulating ducts can improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by as much as 20%!).
– Ensure that your HVAC system is properly sized for your home.
– Consider installing a “whole house fan” to improve circulation and ventilation throughout your home.
– Close vents in unused rooms so the air can be redirected to used rooms.
4. Avoid using the oven when you can (hello, microwave!).
Aside from your fridge (which runs 24/7), the oven is likely responsible for the highest energy consumption out of all your kitchen appliances. It takes a lot of power to run!
Here are a few tips that can help save:
– Use the microwave when possible – it requires much less energy than your oven!
– Keep the oven door closed so that it doesn't have to work harder to hold its temperature.
– Cook more than one dish at a time if possible (it can shorten how long your oven has to be on).
– Thaw your food before cooking it – saves time and energy!
5. Install a smart thermostat.
An Energy Star certified smart thermostat offers more convenience, energy savings, insight, and control than manual or programmable thermostats. While the savings aren't a ton, you can save approximately $100 a year with an Energy Star certified smart thermostat. The savings definitely add up!
They're easy to use, too! A smart thermostat lets you control your home's heating and cooling temperature settings from an app on a “smart” device – either a phone, tablet, or computer.
6. Replace incandescent bulbs with fluorescent or LED bulbs.
A regular incandescent light bulb usually lasts about 1,000 hours, while a fluorescent bulb lasts about 9,000 hours. However, LED light bulbs are most energy efficient and last about 50,000 hours!
Since LED and fluorescent bulbs require less power to produce a high level of brightness at a low operating temperature, the cost of electricity is less. For instance, if electricity costs 10¢ per kilowatt-hour (kWh) and you kept a bulb burning for 30,000 hours, check out the costs of the different bulbs:
- Incandescent bulb = $180
- Fluorescent bulb = $39
- LED bulb = $25
That's some big savings! (And, as always… be sure to turn lights off in rooms you are not using!)
7. Drain your hot water tank(s) regularly to remove sediment.
Over time, sediment builds up in the bottom of your water heater, which can lead to clogs. By regularly giving your water heater tank a flush, you can clear out sediment and extend your water heater’s life. This will also reduce energy costs, extend your heater's life, reduce noise, and improve heating.
If your water heater is located in your garage, basement, or other non-insulated space, you can also save by insulating your hot water heater with an insulation blanket, which will help it operate more efficiently.
You may also want to consider a tankless water heater – they are 35-45% more efficient, pay for themselves in 3-5 years, and never run out of hot water. Have you heard of these before??
TIP: If you don't need the water piping hot, consider lowering the thermostat on your hot water heater. For every 10 degrees of reduction, you can save around 3-5% in energy costs!
8. Unplug appliances before leaving on vacation.
Going on vacation? Unplug all electronic devices, chargers, and appliances before leaving (except for refrigerators and freezers). They can still use a large amount of energy if they're plugged in but not turned on or in “power save mode.” Instead, plug those devices into power strips with an on-off switch.
Also, it's a good idea to unplug or donate the extra refrigerator in the garage if you don‘t need it or replace it if it's more than 10 years old. Refrigerators are typically the second largest electricity users in a home.
9. Buy ENERGY STAR appliances.
When purchasing new appliances, look for the ENERGY STAR label on appliances, water heaters, electronics, lighting, and others. Select products even qualify for rebates, helping you save even more!
Your water heater is a big energy user in your home. If you switch to an ENERGY STAR certified high efficiency water heater with heat pump technology, you can save over $300/ year – which is pretty big!
TIP – Save 40-60% on appliances by buying one from a scratch-and-dent retailer!
10. Keep your fridge & freezer full – & don't keep it open long.
Surprisingly, a full refrigerator or freezer runs more efficiently than an empty one. Here's why… the majority of the energy your freezer uses goes towards cooling down the air that comes in when you open the door. When your freezer is full, there is less room for warmer air to take up, and the items that are in there help to cool down any air that sneaks in. So keeping it full means less energy used!
(This also applies to dishwashers & washing machines – only run them when they're fully loaded!).
11. Clean the lint filter & don't overfill the clothes dryer.
It's important to clean the lint filter before every cycle so that the damp air in the dryer has a place to escape – and not stay on your clothes. Not only is it a fire hazard when the filter is full of lint (hey it makes a great fire starter!), but your clothes will also dry slower, use more electricity, and the dryer won't last as long.
We love using this gadget to give our lint filter/ducts a really deep clean – it works great!
(Other dryer tips?? Be sure not to overfill the dryer, use the automatic setting if available, and dry loads back-to-back if possible!).
There you have it! Do you have any special to save on your electric bill? I'd love to hear them!
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