Frugal (MP) For many of Americans, our electric bill is a big part of the household budget. In fact, our energy bills is all too often only surpassed by our rent or mortgage payments. Those aiming to save a buck may wish to keep utility bills as low as possible. If you would like to know how to save money on electricity, start with a mindset that’s about conserving energy. And the key here is to make your home more energy-efficient, without having to sacrifice your comfortable lifestyle.
First, gather your electricity bills from the last year to calculate just how much your annual payments are. Next, figure out how much electricity your household uses. And finally, add the frugal living electricity ideas found below and you will be off to not only saving energy but, big money too…
Tips About Electric Bill
1. Programmable Thermostats
Try out a programmable thermostat like Honeywell, it’s a terrific way to rev up savings while residing in comfort. Set your thermostat at 68 degrees when you’re home and at 65 degrees when you’re away for a minimal time. If you’re used to higher settings, dial down 1 degree at a time till you are comfortable. Decrease the thermostat to 58 degrees if you’re away from home five hours or more. You use far more electricity to heat the home up when you return than to keep it heated while you’re away.
2. Cooling your home
Avoid the air conditioners and use a fan instead. You need 3x higher energy levels per degree to cool a room than to heat a room. Ventilate throughout the night or early in the morning to store the coolness for the entire day. Keep the coolness inside your home during the day by closing the shutters and keeping your windows and doors closed.
3. Home heating
Consider upgrading to a more cost-effective forced hot air furnace or other high-efficiency home heating system. You’ll see immediate electricity bill savings and you could benefit from Federal Energy Efficiency Tax Incentives available to help make your upgrade much more affordable!
4. Water heaters
Buy a hot water heater blanket. From $20 to $50, this added insulation will lower energy spent preheating your water. Then it cuts your home’s CO2 emissions by as much as 4.5%. Try to shower regularly at a set period in the day or night. By doing so, it’s possible to cut your energy costs big time by setting your hot water heater to shut down automatically with a timer. Don’t waste energy keeping water hot if you’re not using it? Upgrading to a certified ENERGY STAR dishwasher is a superb way to cut the electricity and water bills. ENERGY STAR certified home appliances yield 10-50% reductions in energy and water use (around $30/year).
5. Stoves and Ovens
Often there are basic steps you can use to make utilizing a full-size oven more economical. Some you may know, others may be new. In particular, you should only use ceramic and glass dishes when baking in a conventional oven. You don’t need to pre-heat the oven, unless you’re baking. Additionally you need not line the racks with tin foil, as this will block the flow of air. Stack your dishes on the top and bottom racks to enhance airflow. If you are able to cook a few dishes at the same time, do that too!
The energy efficiency of gas-burning cook tops with electronic ignition don’t vary much. Electric cook tops, however, offer several efficient use of energy. The more efficient the more expensive, and might not be save money unless you cook often.
Try these savings tips:
- By Thawing foods and cutting vegetables into small pieces, they’ll take less time to cook.
- Put lids on pots and pans and be sure they’re the right size for the burners. Foods will cook faster and use less energy.
- When the pot boils over or grease splatters, clean the reflector pans. They’ll reflect more.
Running your dishwasher during the night is a superb way to lower electricity costs during peak daytime hours. Depending upon where you live and the type of electric meter your home uses, perhaps you’ll pay less for off-peak use of electricity, making this an easy way to save on your electric bills.
7. Washers and dryers
The typical American family washes almost 400 loads of laundry yearly, but ENERGY STAR clothes washers and dryers might work to cut the associated energy use by up to 50 %, and water use by over 30%. Washing machines that have qualified for the ENERGY STAR use only 18 to 25 gallons per load, compared to 40, while ENERGY STAR dryers can use up to 50% less energy than models from just a decade ago. These easy upgrades could save you upwards of $140 in utility bills yearly.
Washing in cold water, better for colorful clothes, will save a huge amount of electricity. This tends to change nothing about how you do laundry, you just push a different button. Though it may seem faster to just squish everything you own into a dryer, if the clothes don’t have room to move they won’t dry properly. This leads to stale smelling clothes and your dryer working harder than it need be. Try doing smaller loads with a lower heat temperatures. Keep your dryer’s exhaust chute clear by using a lint removal kit every few months. This will improve airflow that thus save you more money.
Refrigerators use higher energy levels during the year than just about any other household appliance; if you choose to upgrade, be sure to look for the ENERGY STAR label on your new investment. ENERGY STAR refrigerators use at least 20% less energy than current Federal standards require, and 40% less than most conventional models that were sold since 2001!
Turn off lights when you leave a room. LED night lights use about 85% less energy than standard incandescent models. Or try LED night lights that come with a light sensor which automatically turns them on and off as room lighting levels change. Purchase some lamps so you can choose which parts of the room should be lit. And 23W CFLs use 77% less energy than 100W incandescent equivalents. Over the course of a year that can easily add up to $10-$20 in savings per bulb!
Upgrading your home’s windows to ENERGY STAR qualified double or triple-glazed models featuring special coatings. It’s one of the best ways to optimize your home’s energy performance and comfort. Not only will you save on your electricity bills, but your home’s value will be go up, condensation will be reduced, and your possessions will be better shielded from fading and sun damage.
Insulating and sealing your residence properly – its outer walls, ceilings, floors, windows, and doors – is one of the most cost-effective ways of cutting your annual heating and air conditioning costs by up to 20%.
12. Other appliances
Televisions make up nearly 4% of the average home’s annual electricity use. There are about 275 million televisions active across the United States which use an estimated 50 billion kWh of power yearly (that’s enough to power every household in the state of NY for an entire year!). If you’re thinking of buying a new TV or computer monitor, check to make sure it’s ENERGY STAR qualified; if it is, you’ll be using about 30% less energy compared to a conventional model.
Turn off your computers. It’s easy to connect multiple things to a power strip cord, like TV’s and computers, which allows you to just turn the strip off before going to bed. Make sure to not overload power strips though, because this will lead to a whole set of different problems. Whenever possible buy energy-efficient devices. Switch off and unplug any device not being used. Use a power strip with a switch, that way it’ll be easy to flip the switch to unplug all your devices.
Checkout the “Energy Saver Guide” @ Energy.gov for more useful ideas.
Also, Duke Energy has a “100 Ways to Save on Energy” Guide and “Savings Calculators” that will help you save on your electric bill.