Is your electric bill out of control? If you’re like our household, electricity costs can go higher than water, gas, and other utilities combined. It is possible to save on electricity costs by making a few small modifications to your home.
After all, we need electricity for our air conditioning, lighting, appliances, and electronic devices. And besides our extreme reliance on electricity, the prices are going up.
According to the US Energy Information Administration, residential electricity prices are on the rise. In fact, compared to last year there has been a 3.2% increase on average.
Easy Ways to Save on Electricity Bills
As many people across the country are facing higher electric bills, there are some simple ways to lower your electricity bill and be more energy-conscious.
Install Ceiling Fans
In addition to being cheaper than air conditioning units, fans help with the conservation of energy and in lowering your electric bill.
The difference in wattage is significant, with some AC units using up to 1,400 or more while electric fans use 100 watts at most at high speed.
Ceiling fans are simple to install if you already have a light in the ceiling. If not an electrician can wire for a fan for about $200. Using a ceiling fan allows you to set your air conditioner to a higher temperature, allowing you to save on electricity.
Manage Your Fridge/Freezer.
Did you know that of all the appliances in your kitchen, your refrigerator/freezer uses the most electricity? Make sure you are taking steps to conserve energy by not keeping the refrigerator door open for long.
You do not want cold air to escape, which will mean increased energy costs to maintain. You will also want to make sure that the door seal is working properly and preventing cold air from leaking out. If not, you may need to replace or adjust the seal.
You will definitely want to find out how much energy your freezer uses so you can determine if your fridge or freezer should be replaced with a more energy-efficient one.
Check Your Insulation & Weather Stripping.
As we approach the winter months, you will likely notice an increase in your electric bill thanks to heating costs. You want to make sure that your home is well insulated so that heat doesn’t escape through poorly insulated walls, floors, or attics.
You should also seal cracks and stop significant air leaks in your home. You’ll want to check the weather stripping on your doors and windows as cold air coming through or heat coming in can be very costly!
There are numerous products available at Home Depot, Lowes, or Amazon to cheaply seal around windows and doors. You will be shocked at the difference it makes.
Switch to Energy-Efficient Lights.
Patrick Harders, owner of Enlightened Lighting, is a lighting contractor who has noticed the increase in residential electric rates and shares that putting some simple energy-savings steps into place can help you save a lot of money. He suggests a switch from incandescent and halogen to LED’s.
Technological advancements in light sources have made lighting options more energy efficient than ever before, plus more affordable. LED’s are extremely energy-efficient, even more than CFL’s.
By switching out your interior and exterior light bulbs for more energy-efficient LED’s, you can lower your electric bill.
Buy Energy-Efficient Appliances.
When shopping for new appliances, you should check the EnergyGuide labels, which share the annual operating cost and efficiency ratings of the appliance. Buy the most energy-efficient model you can to save on electricity costs.
In Virginia, EnergyStar and Water Sense qualified products can be purchased tax-free during the state’s October sales tax holiday during early October.
Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Missouri, and Texas offer similar tax-free holidays during other times of the year, so be sure to check your state’s department of taxation website for more information.
Adjust the Settings on the Hot Water Heater
A water heater takes up the bulk of your electricity bill. You may be able to conserve energy depending on the type of your water heater, but you can cut it down even further. Set the temperature to at least 120 degrees instead of the usual 140 degrees.
Consider getting a tankless water heater that warms water on demand instead of having. The Department of Energy states that tankless heaters are at least 24% more efficient in homes that consume more than 86 gallons of water.
They may be expensive and harder to install, but they will save you money in the long-run if you plan to stay long-term in a house.
When doing the laundry, stick to washing clothes with warm water instead of hot. Bonus: besides keeping your bill down, this will also lessen scalding accidents in your house.
Make Unplugging a Habit
Just because an appliance is turned off doesn’t mean it’s not consuming energy. This is called “phantom” energy. They don’t bleed out much power when on standby. However it can add up to $100 a year on your utility bill!
Consider leaving a small noted on appliances, reminding to unplug after each use. It’s tedious but it will help with the conservation of energy and a load off your energy bill.
Take Advantage of Energy Audit Services
Utility providers usually give energy audits for free. My electric company offers energy audits throughout the year and provides suggestions for ways to save on the monthly bill.
Energy audits are great for learning how much energy your household is consuming and can help you pinpoint which appliance is taking a lot of power.
Use these tips to lower your electric bill, conserve energy, and use more energy-efficient products. Save money and save energy by being an informed consumer and making smart, energy-conscious decisions that will save on electricity costs in spite of the increasing rates.
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