34 Smart Ways to Cut Your Electric Bill
I was pleasantly surprised to see that my February natural gas bill was only $65 — which isn't bad for heating an entire house during an Iowa winter. But my electric bill for the month was over $100. There must be some things I can do to use less electricity and lower my bill. (See also: 8 Ways You're Wasting Electricity Without Realizing It)
One way to save money on your bill is to change your behavior and pay more attention to your usage of electricity — no investment required. Another way is to install some upgrades. These involve spending money on projects, and investments to improve the energy efficiency of your home and lower your utility bills every month. (See also: 10 Ways Anyone Can Go Solar and Save on Energy)
Here are some smart things you can do to use less electricity and start saving money on your electric bill.
1. Turn off auxiliary heating devices
I was using a space heater to keep some plants warm, but this ran up my electric bill. I'll use more efficient heating pads instead.
2. Enjoy some nonelectric evenings
Every once in awhile, switch off the circuit breaker and have an evening with no electricity. Break out the flashlights, candles, books, and board games. You don't have to wait for Earth Hour to turn out the lights and save money on electricity.
3. Dry clothes outside
Weather permitting, you can hang laundry outside to dry instead of running an energy-intensive dryer.
4. Turn up central A/C temperature
Turn up your thermostat a few degrees to run your central air conditioner less.
5. Use someone else's electricity
Turn off the lights, appliances, and air conditioning at your house and go somewhere else. You could go to the library or work at a coffee shop.
6. Use your ceiling fans correctly
Run ceiling fans to make rooms comfortable with less energy than running A/C. Set the ceiling fan direction for the correct season — in summer, a ceiling fan should rotate counterclockwise when viewed from below.
7. Use fans, open windows
Use box fans or oscillating fans to cool occupied spaces and run central A/C less on hot days. Open windows at night to take advantage of cool air. (See also: 5 Best Fans)
8. Turn off unused lights
Get in the habit of turning off lights when leaving a room. It's easy enough to turn the lights back on if they are needed again.
9. Turn off unused electronics
Turn off computers, game consoles, and TVs when no one is using them. (See also: The Cost of Standby Power)
10. Run full loads
Run full loads in your dishwasher, clothes washer, and clothes dryer for maximum efficiency.
11. Use cold water
Reduce your use of hot water in your clothes washer, and select cold or warm water wash cycles instead whenever possible.
12. Run the clothes dryer at night
Run your clothes dryer and other energy intensive appliances at night if your electric utility provides an off-peak hours discount.
13. Clean lint trap on clothes dryer
Remove lint from the lint trap on your clothes dryer to maximize airflow and minimize energy use.
14. Turn off the dry cycle on your dishwasher
Instead of using a heated dry cycle, I simply open the dishwasher door and let dishes air dry.
15. Install LED light bulbs
I am replacing all of my incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs that provide great lighting and use a fraction of the electricity. (See also: Best Energy Efficient Bulbs)
16. Remove "extra" light bulbs
If a fixture has more light than you need, remove some of the bulbs so it will use less power.
17. Take advantage of water heater savings
Here are some ways to reduce electricity consumption for hot water:
- Lower the temperature setting on your hot water tank.
- Install an insulated jacket around the tank.
- Insulate the first six feet of hot water supply pipe.
18. Sleep outside
It gets cool outside at night, even during the summer. You can take advantage of this by turning off your air conditioning and sleeping outside in a tent or on a screened-in porch.
19. Remove underutilized appliances
If you have an extra freezer or refrigerator in your garage that doesn't have much in it, consider getting rid of it to save a few dollars worth of electricity every month.
20. Skip the blow dryer for your hair
Blow dryers are loud and use a lot of power. They also dry out your hair over time, so use a towel to dry your hair instead.
21. Use a toaster oven
Use a toaster oven to heat up small items such as a sandwich or slice of pizza instead of firing up the full-sized oven.
22. Choose a flashlight over a night light
I keep an LED flashlight next to my bed instead of trying to light large areas of the house with nightlights that use electricity all night long.
23. Charge your gadgets at work
If there are outlets handy at the office, you might as well charge your phone, tablet, and laptop there instead of at home. (See also: Best Solar Chargers)
24. Use timers for holiday lights
I bought a digital timer to automatically turn my holiday lights off and on so they never run all night.
25. Change your furnace filter
You will get better airflow and spend less on central A/C if you change your furnace filter every few months.
26. Think broom, not vacuum cleaner
A broom is quiet and uses no electricity. I am trying to break my habit of reaching for the vacuum cleaner to clean up every mess in my shop.
27. Upgrade motion detectors
Install motion detectors on outside lights to prevent leaving lights on.
28. Install Energy Star appliances
Make energy efficiency a top criterion when selecting new appliances.
29. Choose a high efficiency A/C
If you have an older central A/C unit, you may be able to cut your cooling cost significantly by replacing it with a more energy efficient model.
30. Make sure you have insulated windows
Replace leaky or single pane windows with double or triple pane windows charged with inert gas to reduce A/C cost.
31. Install a programmable thermostat
You can install a programmable thermostat to automatically adjust A/C temperature when no one is home.
32. Add solar panels
Install solar panels to generate your own electricity and drastically cut your electric bill. In some locations, you may even be able to sell any excess electricity that you generate. (See also: Cut Your Electric Bill With Solar Panels)
33. Install a skylight or light pipe
If the sun is shining outside, you can bring free light in from outside using a skylight or light pipe.
34. Bicycle generator
You can generate your own electricity to run electronic devices and even some appliances by using a bicycle generator.
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