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A Bajillion Ways to Save Money on Your Electric Bill at Home

As a homeowner for 20+ years, Chris has performed tons of home repairs and DIY projects - and dropped tons of F-bombs in the process.

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According to recent data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the average American household uses about 867 kilowatt hours of electricity every month, or about 29 kwh per day.

Depending on what part of the country you live in and how many people you have in your home, your usage and costs may vary.

But for many families in the United States, paying the electric bill every month can be a real challenge. So if you're looking for an in-depth article packed with easy ways to save money on electricity in your home, keep reading.

This ultimate guide to saving money on your electric bill has tons of energy-saving tips including:

  • free ways to save electricity
  • products that save electricity
  • lighting tips to save electricity
  • how to save electricity in your front or back yard
  • how to save electricity in the summer
  • how to save electricity in the winter
  • home appliances that save electricity

How to Lower Your Electric Bill for Free

There are many products you can invest in to lower your energy costs, but if you’re tight on money and simply want to lower your electric bill without buying anything, then the best way to start is by reducing waste. So let’s start out with some free ways to reduce your utility bill.

1. Shut Off Lights and Electronics When Leaving a Room

I don’t know about you guys, but when I was a kid my parents burned it into my brain to always turn off the lights there at the light switch when I leave a room—along with the TV or radio—even if I was planning to come right back after a couple minutes.

That one simple, frugal habit has stuck with me over the years and has probably saved me hundreds of dollars in electricity costs over the course or my lifetime.

2. Use Fewer Lights in the Room You’re In

Another easy little brain hack that can make a difference once it becomes a habit is that of using as few lights as possible to get the job done.

There are times when you might be sitting at the kitchen table, reading a book, or just scrolling away on your phone. You look up and notice that not only is the ceiling light above you on, but the kitchen light is on and there’s also a lamp in the living room that is on. Add in some additional sunlight from the windows, and it’s likely that you’re using a lot more electricity than you really need.

I think some people just turn on lights in the daytime out of habit. Like, if you turn off the lights and just use available sunlight, is it really too dark to see what you’re doing? Do you honestly need all those lights on? Probably not.

Try experimenting with it yourself for a week or two. When you’re just sitting around the house during sunlight hours reading a book, playing video games, watching TV or whatever, try shutting off one or two of the lamps around you and see how your eyes adjust to the available light within a few seconds. You might not even need any of those lights on for the task you’re doing and could just make do with sunlight pouring in through the windows.

3. Use More Sunlight to Light Your Home

In the condo we currently live in, we only have a few windows and a glass door—all along the same side of our home. This really sucks, because our house is pretty dark all day long and kind of feels like a cave at times. So we have to turn on the lights when using the bathrooms and even when preparing food in the kitchen. There’s just not enough daylight coming into the house.

But that’s us.

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If your house has plenty of windows in most or all of the rooms, then you’ve got tons of free light available throughout the day. All you need to do is draw back the curtains or open up the blinds and let it in. And if you have a skylight in your ceiling to let light in from above, then you might not have to use lamps at all during the day.

That’s a pretty good deal and can save you a lot of money on your electric bill every month, especially if you spend a lot of time at home during the day like my family does.

Have you ever seen a professional photographer’s lighting setup during an outdoor photo shoot? They use big white poster boards and reflectors to bounce the sunlight onto their subjects, eliminating shadows and lighting them up.

Well, you can basically do the same thing inside your home by using mirrors and white paint or light colors on the walls and ceiling. This will reflect that sunlight and artificial light that is already available inside your home to even out the shadows in your home and give you plenty of available light for everyday tasks.

4. Turn Down the Water Heater

Most homes today have a standard water heater either in the garage or in a storage closet around the outside of the home. The one in our condo is located in a little closet on our back porch.

If you’ve never noticed yours, go take a look. It’s a big, tall tank that holds a few dozen gallons of water. Ours runs on electricity, but some might use natural gas to heat the water.

Anyway, there’s a thermostat on the outside of the tank that controls how hot it makes your water. Most water tanks are already cranked up on the highest setting, but most of us don’t really need our water that hot. So try turning your water heater’s thermostat down a notch or two. Your water will still have plenty of heat to it, but you won’t need to add as much cold water when taking a shower. I’ve never felt the difference since turning mine down, but my bank account probably did!

In some communities, the electric company even has a gadget that they can hook up to your water heater that will automatically turn it down or turn it off during low-use hours.

We opted in to this program with our power company when we lived in Hawaii, and we never noticed any difference in the water temperature. But it did shave a few bucks off our energy bill every month.

Check your electric company’s website or just call them up and see if they have any programs like this—or any other energy-saving tips—that can help you cut your electric bill down.

How to Turn Down Your Water Heater (Electric)

5. Charge Personal Electronics Outside the Home

I’m actually doing this one right now. I’m sitting at a cafe and writing this article, and my tablet is plugged into the wall over here. A few minutes ago, I also had my iPhone plugged in to charge up, but it’s fully charged now, so I unplugged it.

It might not seem like that big of a deal, but our smartphones, tablets and laptops really suck up a lot of energy every day because we use them constantly. You might only save a quarter or fifty cents by charging them when you’re out and about, but if you’re in the habit of doing this every day, the savings can really add up.

If you work at an office—and especially if you often take work home with you—then it’s a no-brainer to make sure your laptop and phone are fully charged before you leave work at the end of the day.

You can also use a car charger when you drive around, but that electricity has to come from somewhere and probably eats up your gas usage as you drive. But charging at home and at cafes and restaurants is easy and free. I mean, if you’re going there anyway, why not take advantage of the free electricity, right?

Here is a short list of local restaurants that have electrical outlets that I use to charge my phone and other devices. I’m sure there are tons of places in your neighborhood where you can do the same. You can also use the outlets at the public library.

  • Starbucks
  • Panera Bread
  • Einstein Bros. Bagels & Coffee
  • Burger King
  • McDonald’s
  • Jack in the Box
  • Hospital cafeteria

6. Open Windows Instead of AC

If you have window screens on your windows and live in a good location, you can save a lot of money by opening up your windows to let in a breeze to cool you off, rather than running the air conditioner. Of course, this will also depend on the time of year and the climate.

We currently live in a condo right along a major street with lots of noise and foot traffic, so we don’t put this tip into practice a lot these days. But when we lived in Hawaii—and when I grew up in California—we often had our windows open and mostly just used fans to circulate the air. That’s all we needed during most of the year. Summer, of course, was another beast, but we could get by without the AC quite a bit during the other seasons.

You might not be able to do this year round, but if you can just keep from using your AC/heater for a few hours a day by opening up your windows, you can save several dollars a month right there.

7. Get Government Assistance Through State and National Welfare Programs

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federal welfare program for low-income households to get help paying their electric bills and to perform limited environmental upgrades on their homes to better regulate temperatures and electricity usage.

Requirements vary by state, but if you qualify for food stamps and similar welfare programs in your state, then you might automatically qualify for LIHEAP. But funding is limited on a first come, first served basis until funds are used up for the year, so get in on that as soon as possible before you lose your chance.