“Why is my electric bill so high?”
That's a thought that runs through thousands of peoples minds every single month, and it's easy to understand why:
Seeing a high electric bill is annoying! There's no other way to put it. Nobody wants to think about their hard-earned cash pouring out of their plugs.
So, what can you do? Well, you can start by thinking of ways to conserve energy around your house. It may sound boring and tedious, but let me tell you:
Seeing a lower electric bill next month (and seeing how much money you've saved) will make it all worth it. So lighten up and get excited!
Here are 28 ways to conserve energy and achieve a lower electric bill:
How to Lower Your Electric Bill
1. Get a Home Energy Audit
A home energy audit will help you find out how much energy you're using and how you can become more energy efficient.
If you can, try to get a professional energy audit. Some utility companies may offer this free of charge to their customers so call up your utility company first and find out.
If you can't get a professional audit for whatever reason, you can also do one yourself. It won't be as effective but it's better than nothing.
2. Install LED Light Bulbs
If you're still running incandescent bulbs in your house you should think about updating some of your most used bulbs to LEDs. Here's why:
- They last longer. An incandescent bulb has a lifespan of about 1,200 hours while an LED lasts around 25,000 hours! That's over 20x longer.
- They're more energy efficient. A 20W LED can produce the same amount of light as a 100W incandescent bulb.
That means replacing the most used bulbs in your house could save you about $1.50 per month per bulb. That may not seem like a lot but if you replace 10 of those bulbs that's about $180 per year in savings.
How's that to brighten up your day?
3. Install Dimmer Switches
After you've upgraded your lights to LEDs you have the option to install dimmer switches for them. This will allow you to save more money by only using the amount of light you need.
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4. Turn the Lights Off
So much talk about lights… don't worry, this is the last energy-saving tip that involves lights (I think). It's a simple one too.
If you grew up in my house you'd get yelled at if you didn't turn a light off after leaving a room, so this one's pretty ingrained in my head. I'm sure a lot of you can relate.
Turning off the lights when you leave a room only takes a second so it's definitely worth the savings.
5. Install a Programmable Thermostat
Did you know that heating and cooling make up for over 40% of the average energy bill (source)? It's definitely worth it to stay comfortable, but you don't need to have your HVAC system on all the time.
That's why you should install a programmable thermostat. These things are amazing. They basically let you program your heating and cooling to turn on and off whenever you want.
That means you can turn it off while you're sleeping, while you're at work, etc. This should make a huge dent in your electricity bill.
6. Unplug Unused Electrical Devices
There's this spooky thing called a phantom load which is when electrical devices pull power even when they're not being used. It's also called leaking electricity.
When this happens money is basically pouring out of your electrical outlets for no reason. The simple solution to this problem is to unplug electrical devices when you're not using them.
7. Make Use of Timers and Power Strips
In the last point we talked about unplugging devices you aren't using all the time to stop phantom loads, but honestly, that's quite a bit of work (yes, I'm that lazy).
You can make it a bit easier on yourself by using power strips. Power strips have little switches on them that can cut power to multiple devices at once. So convenient.
But wait… there's more:
You can also hook a timer up to your power strips to have them automatically turn off at certain times, like at night.
If you want to get REAL fancy you can even use smart power strips which automatically cut off energy to certain devices when they're not in use. Magic!
8. Lower the Temperature on Your Hot Water Heater
Water heating makes up about 13% of the average energy bill (source). However, most people keep the temperature on their water heater higher than necessary. It should be around 120° Fahrenheit.
Each additional 10° you lower your water heater temperature should save you about 3-5% in water heating costs. How low can YOU go?
9. Make Your Water Heater More Efficient
The first thing you can do to make your water heater run more energy efficient is to insulate your tank and insulate your hot water pipes. Without insulation, heat is going to escape and your tank is going to have to do more work.
The next thing you can do is install a timer on your water heater. This will allow you to set your water heater to turn off when it's not in use.
10. Flush Your Water Heater
Over time a nasty substance called sediment can build up in your water heater.
If you don't flush your water heater often, that sediment can build up and have an effect on your water heaters efficiency. It could even lower it's life-span.
11. Think About Going Tankless
If you're looking to replace your old water heater, you may want to think about going with a tankless heater. There are a few different advantages of tankless water heaters:
- They're more energy efficient. Tankless water heaters can be anywhere from 8%-50% more energy efficient than a storage water heater depending on how much hot water you use daily.
- No more heat loss. Storage water heaters slowly lose heat but “on-demand” tanks only heat up water when it's needed.
- They last longer. A typical storage heater lasts 10-15 years while most tankless heaters have a life expectancy of more than 20 years.
12. Air Seal Your House
A leaky house is no good. When you've got leaks that cozy warm air is going to escape in the winter and that precious cold air is going to escape in the summer.
That's money leaking out of your house!
Check out this DIY air sealing guide if you want to fix any leaks in your house on your own.
13. Pack Your Freezer & Fridge Full
When your fridge or freezer is empty it has to do more work to keep the internal temperature at the desired setting.
On the other hand, when your fridge or freezer is packed full of food, the food acts as insulation meaning your fridge/freezer doesn't have to work as hard.
14. Install Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans are cheaper to run than your HVAC system, and if you use them properly you'll be able to use your HVAC system less while still feeling comfortable in your house.
One thing to be aware of is the direction your ceiling fan is spinning:
- In the summer months, you'll want to make sure your fan is spinning counterclockwise. That way air will be pushed down creating a nice breeze.
- In the winter months, you'll want the fan to be spinning clockwise. That way the warm air near the ceiling will be pushed down and distributed evenly throughout the room.
15. Hang Dry Laundry
Your dryer eats up a lot of energy. Save money by hang drying your clothes outside or using a drying rack.
16. Shut Out The Sun
Keeping your blinds open on a hot sunny day can quickly turn your house into a hot, stuffy, uncomfortable area. Close your blinds and block out the sun to keep your house nice and cool. This will also make your air conditioners job a bit easier.
17. Schedule Yearly HVAC Maintenance
Your HVAC system needs to be maintained for air quality and efficiency. You can either try to do this maintenance yourself or hire someone to do it. This will save you money and also increase the life span of your unit.
You should also try to replace your HVAC filter every month or every few months to ensure good air quality.
18. Take Advantage of Off-Peak Rates
Some electrical companies charge by time-of-use, which means you'll get charged a different amount of money for using energy depending on what time it is.
You can take advantage of this system by running your dishwasher, washer & dryer, etc. during the off-peak times.
19. Upgrade to Energy Star Appliances
Not everyone needs to update their appliances, but if yours are over 10 years old it's most likely going to be cheaper for you to upgrade than to keep the old ones running.
If you do need to upgrade, Energy Star appliances are your best bet as they're made to be as energy efficient as possible.
20. Wash Laundry in Cold Water
Most of the energy your washing machine consumes goes towards heating up the water. If you run cold loads you'll be using less energy and your clothes will still come out smelling fresh.
21. Only Wash Full Loads
If your washing machine doesn't allow you to adjust for different sized loads then a half-load is going to consume the same amount of energy as a full-load.
Try washing only full-loads to lower your energy bill a bit and your water bill at the same time.
22. Install Low-Flow Shower Heads
A low-flow shower head limits the amount of water that can come out of your shower head.
Not only will this help you lower your water bill, but it will also lower your energy bill because you'll be heating less water.
23. Find Other Ways to Stay Warm in the Winter
If you want a lower electric bill in the winter months, there are other, cheaper ways to keep yourself warm on a chilly day besides cranking up your heater.
Take advantage of the cold weather and put on your big comfy sweater & sweatpants, layer up with blankets, and drink some hot coffee (or hot chocolate)!
24. Clean Your Dryers Lint Screen
You should always clean your dryers lint screen between each load for maximum efficiency. Some people even scrub their lint screen with soap and water every month for the best results.
Oh yeah and if you're like me and you just throw your lint in the trash, you might be interested in these 8 surprising uses for dryer lint.
25. Clean Your Fridge's Condenser Coils
The condenser coils on the outside of your fridge are essential to keeping your fridge cool, but they can easily become dusty, dirty, and inefficient. That means a lower life-span for your fridge and more money coming out of your pocket.
The solution is to clean your condenser coils every 3-months or so. Here's how to do that.
26. Turn Your Stove and Oven Off Early
Let's be honest, you really don't need to leave your oven or stove on right up until your food is ready. If you do that you'll just end up with an oven full of unused cooking potential.
Instead of leaving your stove or oven on right up until the food is done, turn them off a few minutes early and let the remaining heat finish the job. That's crafty cooking right there.
27. Use Solar Lights Outdoors
If you need outdoor lighting there's really no better alternative than to use solar lights. They're great because they soak up energy from the sun in the daytime and then they run all night off that natural energy. Boo-yah!
There's no better way to end this list off than by telling you about Arcadia Power.
Arcadia Power is a service that allows you (whether you're a homeowner or a renter) to support clean, renewable energy in your home.
On top of that, Arcadia Power also helps you save money on your energy bill with no-fee credit card bill payments (hello credit card rewards), price alerts, and community solar programs.
After you do that you'll have access to their intuitive energy usage tracker, and their clean energy and savings programs.
So, if reducing your impact on the environment while saving money sounds cool to you, sign up for Arcadia Power here and receive a $10 credit towards your electricity bill.
Hopefully, I've inspired you to take a look around your house and look for ways to conserve energy. Even if I haven't, I'm sure the potential savings and the thoughts of a lower electric bill will motivate you!
Remember that you're also lightening your load on old Mother Earth by staying energy conscious. Thank you for that!
Now I'd like to hear from you. Leave me a comment below and tell me:
What's your favorite energy-saving tip? How do you save money on electricity?