8 Easy Tips for a Lower Electric Bill
August 26, 2021
Whether you live in a small apartment or large home, there are numerous ways you can lower your electric bill. Many of these tips are relatively simple. You don’t need to sacrifice comfort. In fact, just a few changes in daily habits, rather than taking drastic measures such as shutting off the heat or AC altogether, can lead to paying less monthly on energy costs.
8 Simple Steps for a Lower Electric Bill
Here are some of the most basic actions you can take:
1. Run the Washing Machine with Cold Water
Warm water wash cycles use a lot of energy. About 90% of it goes towards heating up the water, according to Consumer Reports. A washer will use a fraction the amount of energy with cold water, which is often not only more effective for cleaning fabrics; it also preserves them and prevents color fading. Reserve hot water for soiled clothing or that worn by someone who is sick.
2. Lower Your Water Heater’s Setting
When it comes to wanting a lower water bill, water heaters usually draw more power than you think. They typically operate at about 140°, when you lower that to 120° and you can knock 10% off your water heating costs. As far as water quality, you’ll probably never know the difference. Put the unit on the lowest setting if leaving home for a few days.
3. Use the Dishwasher
Many people think the dishwasher is just another energy-guzzling appliance. However, hand washing can use more than nine times as much water. Running the dishwasher on a full load can cut energy usage too; turn off heat dry mode to save even more. You can also lower your electric bill by running it at night, which reduces energy demand during peak hours.
4. Seal Up Air Leakage
Doors, windows, walls, and air ducts can be sources of air infiltration and leakage, which can account up to 40% of energy use. Drafty windows should be fixed or replaced, while weatherstripping should be installed where needed. Even drafts from outlets and light switches can impact energy efficiency. Seal them and be sure to have leaky ductwork sealed by a professional. For wall cracks, seal smaller ones with caulking and larger cracks with foam weatherstripping.
5. Cook More Efficiently
Not surprisingly, a lot of energy is used in the kitchen. You can reduce energy costs by using conventional ovens only for large items or cooking in large quantities. Place items on the highest rack when possible and use the microwave whenever possible. It uses less energy and doesn’t heat up your home as fast. If you cook a lot of small items, use a countertop convection oven.
6. Be Smart About Lighting
A surefire way to a lower electric bill is to switch to EnergyStar labeled compact fluorescent or LED bulbs can save some electricity. An LED light can use up to 80% less energy than a traditional bulb. Dimmer switches and smart power strips that reduce current for unused devices are effective as well.
Maximizing use of natural lighting saves the most energy, as you’re not relying on artificial light at all. Open curtains during the day to let in sunlight, or use glossier paints for interior walls (more light will be reflected). Painting the exterior eaves white can also direct more light into your home.
7. Reduce the Load on Your Fridge/Freezer
Unnecessarily cold temperature settings make your refrigerator and freezer work harder. You can save some money on your electric bill by keeping the fridge at around 38°, while the freezer should be maintained at around 0° to 5°.
8. Adjust the Thermostat According to Demand
Decrease the temperature during the warmer months and increase it during cooler months. Also adjust the thermostat when you are at work or asleep. Turning it back 7° to 10° for 8 hours a day can save you 10% on annual heating and cooling costs.
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