Even before the recent rise in inflation and gas prices, electricity providers across the country had been steadily – and often not subtly – raising their rates to keep your house turned on. Now with everything under the sun going up in price, the cost of each tier of your power usage will inevitably increase as well.
The cost of electricity varies by state, with average bills ranging from $78.13 in Utah to $191.01 in Hawaii. So, even if you're on the low end of the scale and your bill didn't nearly double from last year, it's safe to say that you're looking for ways to save.
Here are five simple tricks you can employ at home to reduce your average electric bill starting today.
1. Turn off the Lights (And Everything Else)
Do you leave the lights on when you exit a room? How about the television? What about your computer?
It doesn't sound like a big deal, but turning off lights when not in use can save you a lot of money. Get this: two 100-watt incandescent bulbs turned off an extra two hours per day could save you $20 per year.
Additional tip: Swap out your old incandescent bulbs for LED bulbs.
2. Take Shorter Showers
It's easy to see how shorter showers can reduce your monthly water bill, but that's just the start. It can do the same for your electric bill.
A hot shower can be expensive. And that's especially true if it's a long, hot shower. Even if you only trim two minutes off of your showering time, it can save you $25/year on your electricity bill. Now, imagine how much you can save if other household members do the same.
While you're at it, get into the habit of turning the water off when shaving, brushing your teeth and washing your hands.
3. Cut Back on Air Conditioner Usage
When the hot summer months raise your home's temperature, it won't be long before you run for your thermostat. There are many benefits of using an air conditioner, including its ability to keep you safe when temperatures are dangerously high.
However, if you want to reduce your electric consumption, this is a good place to start. Central air conditioning systems are one of the biggest culprits of excessive electric use.
Here are some things you can do to save:
- Raise your thermostat by two to three degrees.
- Turn off your window air conditioner when you're not home.
- Consult with an HVAC professional about how to make your system more energy-efficient.
And of course, if you really want to save, try living without air conditioning for a few days, weeks, or even months. This could be your ticket to hundreds of dollars in savings over the summer season.
4. Install a Smart Thermostat
A smart thermostat is a “set it and forget it” solution to managing your home's HVAC system. This includes both its air conditioner and furnace.
You can set your thermostat to rise by several degrees while you're away from home during the summer months. And during the winter months, you can set it to automatically lower when you're not at home.
The biggest benefit of a smart thermostat is that you don't have to make these changes manually. Set a schedule that works for you and let it do all the work. This allows you to save money without any hassle.
5. Keep Sunlight Outside Your Home
This can lead to a delicate balancing act. On one side of things, you want to let natural light into your home so you can rely less on light bulbs. But, at the same time, blocking sunlight from entering your home can keep it cooler.
Make a note of when and where sunlight enters your home to determine when to let it in and when to block it out. For instance, if you work outside of your home, use window coverings to block out sunlight during the day's hottest hours.
Tip: Strategically placed trees and shrubs can also reduce the amount of sunlight that reaches your home.
If you want to really cut back on your electrical consumption, it'll take a little more effort – but the savings will be worth it. These added tips require some work, planning, and sacrificing a little of your weekend. It's up to you to decide if they'll provide enough value for your time and energy.
- Clean your refrigerator coils. If you look at the back and bottom of your fridge, you'll see some copper loops. They'll often be covered in dust, cobwebs, pet and human hair, and more. The more cluttered the area is, the harder the compressor in your fridge is working to keep it cool inside. It requires more electricity and reduces the life of your refrigerator. Get in the habit (or schedule) of pulling the fridge out and cleaning this every 3-6 months.
- Remove the lint. It's amazing how few adults these days know that their dryer has a lint screen, let alone that it should be cleaned. Gather the lint after every load and you'll save 30% on your clothes drying costs – around $25-30 per year. Then take a look at the silvery tube that goes to the wall and blows the heat out of the house. That duct can and does get clogged. Then the dryer works less efficiently and the house gets warmer – great in winter, costs extra energy to recool in the summer. Clean the exhaust duct once a year.
- Drain the water heater. Over time, your water heater builds up quite a bit of sediment, just from impurities in the water that drop down as it gets hotter. But that same sediment now makes the water heater work a lot harder to keep your showers warm. Once a year, draining and flushing out the water heater tank will make it a lot more efficient and use less power.
- Throw in the Towel. Keep a clean dry towel by your laundry room and toss it into the dryer with each load. It will help soak up the excess water that many washing machines leave in your clothes, reducing drying time for the whole load.
- Where is your thermostat? Take the time to double-check what's close to your thermostat. Appliances that give off heat, even just a little, like lamps or a TV can trigger it to switch the AC on earlier than it needs to be, costing you electricity.
Small changes like this can go a long way in improving your financial circumstances for the better. After two to three months, compare your current usage to past usage for a clear idea of your progress.
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This article was produced and syndicated on Wealth of Geeks.
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