How to Lower Your Electric Bill

It is common in America for families to overuse electricity and rack up charges on their electric bill. You are not alone in this, but there are an abundance of ways that you can reduce your energy charges.

 

Heating and cooling account for the majority of electricity used in a home within winter and summer months. Therefore, by reducing the electricity that is consumed for heating and cooling, you can reduce your overall energy bill.

By following simple steps, such as ensuring that all the vents are open in your home, changing filters monthly and utilizing fans, you can lower your energy bill without having to install a new, expensive heating or cooling system. Additionally, unplugging appliances and electronic devices when they are not in use and using your dishwasher rather than hand washing dishes can also help you save money. To learn about more ways that you can reduce your electric bill starting today, review the sections that have been provided below!

How Overusing Energy Negatively Affects You

There are several reasons that overusing energy is bad for both the environment and your wallet. The overuse of electricity and gas will increase your carbon footprint, further damaging the environment by providing an increase to the amount of greenhouse gases enter the atmosphere. Additionally, raising your carbon footprint increases the risk of climate change.

 

If that is not enough, overusing energy can affect you by drastically increasing the amount of money that you will likely spend on your electric bills. In areas with dense populations or excessive usage, you will likely pay a higher price for electricity and gas due to supply and demand. Not only that, but by overusing energy, you are lowering the expected lifespan of your appliances and electrical devices. That means further money spent replacing these items. Fortunately, there are several simple ways that you can begin reducing the amount of energy that you household uses starting today with immediate repercussions that can be seen on your electric bill.

Reducing Electricity Consumed for Heating and Cooling

One of the most common spikes to electric bills comes in the summer and winter months of the year, depending on where you live. This is due to the fact that your home must work harder in order to keep your home cool or warm, depending on your thermostat settings. However, there are a variety of ways that you can reduce heating and cooling bills without having to suffer.

Keep all of the vents in your home open and clean. One of the most common myths regarding energy efficiency is that, by closing vents to unused rooms, you can lower your energy cost. That is simply not true as closing vents can substantially raise energy usage as it takes the home that much more effort to hear or cool that area. Additionally, closing vents can have a negative effect on certain air conditioning units and cause coils to literally freeze. This can cause your cooling system to stop working.

Filters are cheap and it is recommended that you replace air filters monthly throughout your home in order to obtain an ideal airflow. Generally, you can even pick up bulk packages at hardware stores to save even more. Ensure that you take measurements of your vent sizes or filter sizes prior to shopping for new ones.

If you have ceiling fans installed in your home, use them. Fans will not heat or cool the air in a room, but they move it around and trap cool and warm temperatures. Most modern ceiling fans have a switch that will change the direction in which they spin. During hot weather, fans should spin in a counter-clockwise position in order to push hot air up and out. In colder weather, you will benefit more from having your ceiling fans spin clockwise as this can trap heat inside of a room.

Check your home’s insulation and the seals throughout various areas and appliances of your home. Some quick tips to keep in mind include:

  • Checking that your fridge and freezer are well sealed and do not permit cool air to escape.
  • Checking the seals around your windows and doors in order to determine whether or not there is extra airflow.
  • Seal any ventilation or air-conditioning ducts that may be leaking.
  • Insulating all of the outlets and light switches within your home.
  • Insulating hot-water pipes and your water heater.
  • Cleaning your windows in the winter and use curtains or shades in the summer.

By utilizing these simple steps, you can drastically reduce the amount of energy that is used for your heating and cooling. You can also invest in an automated heating a cooling system for your home, which can help reduce your energy costs.

Reduce Electricity Spikes Caused by your Washer, Dryer and Dishwasher

Some appliances, such as washers, dryers and dishwasher, require a lot of electricity in order to run. However, there are some tips that you can follow in order to reduce the amount of electricity that these larger appliances use, even if you do not have an energy efficient unit.

One of the main reasons that washers use so much electricity is that it must heat the water that is being used. However, you can wash your clothing with cold water. Cold water can actually be better for your clothes, in that it prevents colors from fading and stains from setting. It can also prevent certain fabrics from shrinking. If you can use cold water for a load of laundry, it is recommended that you do so in order to save on electricity. Unfortunately, the only real way that you can drastically reduce electricity costs in a dryer is by not utilizing it as much. Consider using a clothes line and air drying your clothes, if possible. If that is not possible, cleaning out your dryer’s exhaust monthly and increasing the airflow through your exhaust ducts can help your dryer to run more efficiently and dry your laundry faster.

 

It is recommended that you always use your dishwasher instead of handwashing as handwashing is estimated to use 9 times the amount of water that a dishwasher does. You should also load your dishwasher with as many dishes as possible in order to optimize the use of the washer. To save up to 15 percent more energy on your dishwasher use, turn off the heat dry setting.

Unplug Appliances and Video Game Consoles When not in Use

Many appliances and all video game consoles continue to use electricity, even when they are turned off. This is due to the fact that most of these electric devices never fully turn off. Several appliances have features and functions that continue to run when they are not in use, such as a clock or timer. Video game systems are perhaps one of the most obvious culprits.

Consoles such as the Xbox One and PS4 use a constant flow of electricity. For example, it is estimated that an Xbox One uses 112 watts of electricity when playing video games in an average home, and PS4 consoles use 137 watts. When those systems are in standby mode, it is estimated that the energy used can still be as high as 92 watts on Xbox One and 130 watts on PS4. The solution is to unplug appliances and other devices when you are not using them.

Give Your Lightbulbs and Upgrade for More Savings

Upgrade the lightbulbs in your home to energy efficient LED bulbs. If you are feeling really ambitious, you can save even more money by installing a light dimmer. If you have outside lighting, it is recommended that you install motion detection so that lights will only come on as needed rather than remain on all day and all night.

Give Your Home an Energy Efficient Upgrade

While there are larger investments that you can undertake to reduce the electricity that is used by your household such as upgrading your home insulation, replacing your water heater and air conditioning units with efficient units, installing double-pane windows and planting shaded trees outside your home — there are a variety of small upgrades that you can make that will have a big impact. These upgrades include:

  • Installing a programmable thermostat so that you can change the temperature of your home through free mobile apps.
  • Using door draft guards on all entryways.
  • Cleaning your refrigerator coils periodically.
  • Installing faucet aerators in your kitchen and bathrooms.
  • Installing efficient showerheads.
  • Installing high-efficiency toilets.
  • Replacing your furnace filters.

Additionally, it is worth knowing that one of the best ways to save a large amount of money on your electric bill is by installing solar panels. While solar panels do come with a large upfront cost, the savings that you will receive on your electric bill year after year will quickly make up for and surpass those initial fees.

 

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