Carolyn developed these tips while trying to save money on her hydro electric bill. She is a stay-at-home mom of five.
I don't know about you, but where I live, my hydro electric bills are getting very expensive. It seems I am not alone here in the province of Ontario. Hydro electricity rates in this province will continue to rise, so unless you want to hand over more money to the government and their hard-working bureaucrats, it's best to follow these 55 tips and start saving money on your monthly electricity bill. These tips are useful regardless of where you live.
When it comes to saving energy, it's the little things that can add up. If you follow most of these tips, you might just be surprised at how much money you can save in a month and certainly over the course of a year. Like I said, it all adds up. Let's get started saving today!
How Much Money Can You Save?
Read any article about phantom power and most of them will tell you that your electronic devices, chargers and appliances make up about 15% of a household's electricity use or $18.75 of your monthly electricity bill. That adds up to $225 a year.
Want to Know How Much Phantom Power Is Costing You?
On your electric bill, find the cost of electricity consumption and calculate what 15% of that is plus HST (or provincial/government taxes). Multiply by 12 and then multiply that by 3. The total, plus a portion of other charges on your bill like electricity delivery, for example, is how much money you could save over three years of turning devices off when not in use (drastically limiting the amount of phantom power being used).
Tips for Around the House
The following tips will help you save money and save energy on your electric bill:
- Switch to a programmable thermostat. A good guideline for having the optimal temperature in your home is as follows:
- 21 degrees C when home relaxing
- 20 degrees C when working or exercising
- 18 degrees C while sleeping
- 16 degrees C when away from home
- Close heat vents in rooms that are unoccupied in winter, and in summer when the A/C is on.
- Keep closet doors closed in bedrooms at all times so there is less space to heat or cool.
- Make use of fans or ceiling fans while you have your A/C running. This will enable you to raise the A/C temperature by 2 degrees and reducing your energy bill by 10%.
- Use ENERGY STAR air conditioning units (see below) because they will use 30-40% less energy than older models.
- Make use of humidifiers and dehumidifiers. Humidifiers are an efficient way to reduce your heating costs in winter because humid air tends to feel warmer. A dehumidifier will make the air feel cooler in summer.
- Clean or replace your furnace filter regularly. A guide rule of thumb is that for the 1-3" air filters you want to replace them bi-monthly. This of course depends on: 1) the type of filter you are using 2) if you have pets 3) if you smoke 4) how many people are living in your home and 5) the level of outside air pollution where you live (near construction or heavy traffic for instance).
- Make sure weather stripping around windows and doors is in good condition to reduce drafts.
- Make use of window treatments if necessary such as plastic covering on the windows to keep cold air at bay and check the caulking around windows to keep drafts to a minimum.
- Consider ventilating your attic to keep air circulating making your A/C unit work less in the summer months cooling your house. Insulate your attic to keep the warm air in your home instead of heating the outside.
- Open your windows at night in the summer (as long as the humidity outside is reasonable) and let the outside air come in and cool your house, giving your A/C a break).
- Do not obstruct heat vents or cold air returns with carpet or furniture. If you have a two storey home try partially closing your vents on the main floor in summer and have your vents fully open upstairs for optimal coolness throughout your entire home. The reverse is true for winter since hot air typically rises.
- If you are cold, put on a sweater or dress warmer instead of turning up the thermostat.
- Don't leave your bathroom fans going longer than necessary and be sure to clean them regularly so that they work more efficiently (hold a tissue paper or piece of toilet paper on it when it is running and let go. If it sticks to the fan then it's working, if not then it probably needs a cleaning.
Lists of ENERGY STAR Certified Energy-Efficient Products
In the Kitchen
The following tips will help you save money and save energy in your kitchen to lower your hydro electric bill:
- Coffee makers with glass pots draw as much as 1,000 watts just to keep your coffee warm. Unplug it as soon as it's done brewing and switch over to an insulated carafe or use a french press instead.
- Crockpots are an energy efficient way to cook meals (very handy in the summer because they won't heat up your entire kitchen) so try to use them as often as possible instead of your electric stove.
- Re-think the way you live, as in do you really need an electric can opener? What if the power goes out? There are plenty of in-expensive manual kitchen gadgets that work beautifully and may come in handy should the power go out for a long period of time because anything can happen. Just something to think about.
- An electric stove can really drive up your hydro electric bill (unless you have a newer, ENERGY STAR model or use a gas stove) so aim to use your microwave whenever you can. Microwaves use 50% less power than electric stoves.
- Whenever possible, use a toaster oven instead of your electric oven. It takes less time to preheat and uses less energy.
- Use lids on pots while boiling or simmering on the stove. Some foods continue to cook in hot water without the element needing to be on such as pasta.
- Only preheat your oven when baking.
- Always keep the door of your oven closed while using the oven.
- Make good use out of ceramic or glass cookware. By using them you can reduce your cooking temperature by 25 degrees C.
- Batch cook meals during off peak hours for the week so you maximize your already hot oven.
- Turn off your oven or element a few minutes before your food is finished cooking and allow the food to cook using the accrued heat instead.
Fridge and Dishwasher
- Keep your freezer at 18 degrees C and 3/4 full because when it is full it is more efficient.
- Remember to regularly clean the coils on your fridge (some are at the back, others are underneath).
- Do not put hot foods in your fridge to cool. Let them thoroughly cool on the counter before putting them in the fridge. This way your fridge won't have to work as hard to keep itself cool.
- Test the seal of your fridge with a piece of paper. Close your fridge door on the piece of paper. If it does not stay up, replace the seal on the door (otherwise you're just paying to cool your kitchen).
- Unplug any extra fridges not in use (beer fridge in the basement, spare fridge in the garage, etc.)
- Do not pre- rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher.
- Run your dishwasher during peak hours and only when full.
- Use the air dry setting on your dishwasher if it has one or open the door to naturally dry your dishes.
- Use a shorter cycle or light setting on your for most loads.
Make Your Own Indoor Clothesline
The following tips will save you energy and money on your hydro bill:
- Switch to an ENERGY STAR front-loading washing machine (more energy efficient and uses less water).
- Wash all your loads of laundry in cold water (80 percent of the energy the washing machine goes towards heating the water).
- Use a clothesline to dry your clothes. BONUS: if you hang dry clothes in the basement in the winter it will add to the humidity of your house, making it feel warmer at a lower temperature (less dry skin issues too).
- If you must use a dryer, use the auto-dry sensor instead of simply setting the timer.
- Dry your clothes on the perma-press or delicate heat cycle which blows cool air for the last 10 minutes or so of the cycle which also reduces the amount of wrinkles in your clothes too!
- Use your dryer during off-peak hours.
- Add a dry towel to your dryer load or use dryer balls to help it dryer quicker.
- Always clean the lint trap after using the dryer.
Everywhere Else in Your Home
Here are the last of the energy conservation techniques and tips to save money on your electricity bill for the rest of your home:
- Ditch your incandescent light bulbs and replace them with CFL (compact fluorescent) or LED (light-emitting diode) light bulbs (see the video clip below for the differences between these light bulbs).
- Turn off the lights when you leave a room.
- Switch from a CRT (cathode ray tube) computer monitor to an LCD (liquid crystal display).
- Use the sleep mode rather than a screen saver to save money and energy when it comes to running your computer or laptop (often screen saves use MORE energy).
- Shut off printers that are not in use and plug them into a power bar so you can switch off the power to it (reducing phantom power usage).
- Do not leave laptop or cellphone chargers plugged in when devices are not being charged and try to charge them during off-peak hours (I always charge my cell phone when I go to bed and my netbook too).
- Buy ENERGY STAR certified cordless phones, they use 50% less energy and the smart chargers shut down when the battery is finished charging.
- Unplug any power tool chargers as soon as your tools are fully charged.
- Plug your game consoles into a power bar and shut off when not in use. Leaving them in stand-by mode and plugged in all the time will draw quite a bit of phantom power.
- Sound systems can draw a lot of power when not in use. Plug into a power abr and shut off when not in use.
- Enjoy streaming media? Be aware that streaming media through your TV is more energy intense than streaming through a laptop.
- All appliances that have a clock, use a remote or are in stand-by mode use phantom power (draw electricity) when not in use. Plus into a power bar and shut the power when not in use.
- Hair dryers and any other appliances typically used in your bathroom should also be unplugged and put away when not in use. It is safer and will save you money in the long run.
© 2017 Carolyn Dahl
Let Me Know What You Think! Share Your Tips Below
Carolyn Dahl (author) from Ottawa, Ontario on March 21, 2017:
You are very welcome!
FlourishAnyway from USA on March 17, 2017:
These are helpful tips. I unplug many of my appliances when not in use, shut off rooms and vents to parts of the house that are unused and gave up the electric can opener (a lazy invention). I will take up the humidifier and dehumidifier ideas. Thank you.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on February 09, 2017:
Thanks for these really good suggestions. Unplugging the devices is my favorite and easiest way to serve. I will start practicing some of your kitchen suggestions. You make a lot of sense.