Lower Your Electricity Usage

How much do you pay for electricity each month? Whatever the answer, you probably wouldn’t mind having a lower electric bill. The good news is, there are many simple ways to reduce your energy costs. We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorites.

1.  Monitor Your Usage.  If you’re really serious about cutting energy costs, then your first step is to determine which of the items you own are the most power hungry.  Air conditioners are notorious energy hogs, but what else in your home might be driving up the monthly bill? There’s more than way to do this detective work, but here’s an easy approach: Plug any electronic device into an electricity usage monitor (you can get them cheap online) and you can then monitor its usage to learn what it’s costing you.

2. Be Smart About Your Lights.Make better choices when it comes to your house’s lighting—inside and out. By now you’re probably familiar with LED bulbs, but if you haven’t made the transition yet do it now. LED light bulbs use at least 75 percent less energy, and last 25 times longer than incandescent ones. You can take it even a step further by upgrading to LED smart light bulbs. This new type of bulb typically allows you to control the lights around your house by using your phone or voice commands. Outside lighting is also important.  Use solar lights to brighten your backyard and pathways rather than depending on electricity.

3. Change Your Filters.In order to perform efficiently, your home’s furnace needs regular maintenance. Not only can a dirt-clogged filter potentially cause damage to the system as a whole, but it also causes the furnace to work harder to pump air throughout the house. Changing the filter about once a month will help reduce the amount of energy needed to run the furnace, hence cutting down your energy bill.

4. Wash in Cold Water. Don’t wash your energy dollars down the drain! To save money, wash clothes on the cold setting and line-dry when you can. If you do need to machine-dry your clothes, don’t overfill. If you don’t leave enough space for the hot air to circulate, your laundry will dry more slowly, resulting in a pricier laundry cycle.

5. Maintain Your Fridge. Keep your energy usage low by running your fridge at maximum efficiency. For starters, set your temperature to the recommended setting of 2.7°C for the fridge and -17°C for the freezer—any colder and you’re just wasting power. Your fridge should be about three-quarters full—it takes less power to keep a full fridge cold, but you need to allow enough room for air to circulate.  Clean the coils on the back of the fridge several times each year—and resist the temptation to store things up top as these items can prevent hot air from escaping and cause your unit to work overtime.

6. Watch Your Wash Cycle. Wash dishes the smarter way: Use short, eco-friendly cycles for all but the very dirtiest loads, and try to hold off starting until the load is full. Then, when the wash cycle is finished, set the appliance to air-dry rather than heat-dry—this easy move can cut the appliance’s electricity use by 15 to 50 percent. Don’t have the option built in? Simply turn off the dishwasher after the final rinse and open the door.  BONUS – this allows the moisturizer out into you home which can help keep up humidity.

7. Insulate Properly. Without proper insulation, all the money you spend heating and cooling your home could escape through windows, doors, or the roof. Time and money spent weatherstripping and insulating is well spent!

8. Install a Solar Water Heater. One of the easiest ways to save on your bills is to install your own solar hot water heater. Water heating is the second biggest consumer of home electricity, so it makes sense to install the system now. This solar upgrade is designed to supplement your existing electric system, so even in cloudy weather, you can still enjoy a hot shower.

9. Give the AC a Break. Try to give the AC a rest. Before turning it on or cranking it to frigid temperatures, employ other methods to keep cool. Shut the shades and close the curtains to block the sunlight from beaming into the room. Turn on the ceiling fan or electric fan to create a breeze affect—however, make sure you turn the fan off when you leave since it is only blowing air and not cooling a room. And of course, don’t leave the AC on when nobody is at home.

10.  Stick to a Schedule. One effective way to capitalize on lower off-peak electricity rates is to put suitable electronics or appliances on a simple outlet timer.  You may have used a similar gizmo in the past to put your home’s lighting on a schedule, perhaps before leaving on vacation. Consider this strategy just another way that an outlet timer can keep you from getting robbed!