4 Simple Ways to Reduce Your Electric Bill
Here are four simple ways to save on electricity. These made a big impact on my monthly electric bill. There are many ways to go beyond the measures I outline below to save money. There are those who don’t use their heating or air conditioner at all. There are others who own their houses who will invest thousands of dollars in insulation, landscaping, or updated windows. But these four items I have laid out are low-hanging fruit and give me the most bang for my buck in regards to measurable savings on my monthly bill. I also feel the sacrifice or compromise with these tips is minimal or nonexistent.
1. Evaluate the Lighting in Your House
Take some time to go through each room and look at the lighting situation. Does the room only have an overhead, ceiling fixture? If you are only using overhead lighting or a ceiling fan/chandelier situation in a room, then you are definitely in the overkill zone. Overhead lighting is ok for a short period of time, but to use it by default or out of habit is costing you money.
Get a table lamp and use that when you need light. Maybe you don’t need any light at all for some tasks. Is it a room that gets a lot of daylight? If so, make sure the blinds are open and the windows are unobscured. Free lighting from Mother Nature is a great deal.
Ask for new LED bulbs for your birthday. Seriously, if you don’t want to blow the budget for replacing your old bulbs, put them on your wishlist. They make a huge difference. Look at the chandeliers as well. A lot of these come with inefficient halogen or incandescent bulbs. If you can’t replace the bulbs with an LED or fluorescent, then aim to use that fixture very rarely.
Another area often overlooked is outdoor lighting. Floodlights are routinely left on for long periods of time, so making sure they have energy-efficient bulbs will really pay off.
2. Heat and Cool as Small a Space as You Can
Heating and cooling are by far the biggest consumers of kilowatts in your house, so anything you can do with that will pay off big. Is there a room you can close off? Close the vents in the room, shut the door, and roll up a towel to put at the base of the door. This works in summer or winter because it sort of reduces the square footage of your home. Less square footage equals a lower utility bill. This really works if it is a room that tends to heat up a lot in summer (west-facing windows) or a poorly insulated room.
3. Curtains Will Save You Money Year-Round
Any kind of curtains will do. Don’t worry if you don’t have thermally lined draperies or blackout curtains in your budget. Any type of curtain will work. Mini-blinds, on the other hand, just don’t cut it. You need to keep direct sun out—if you have sun coming in your windows in the summer, you can just walk into that room and feel the temperature difference. It isn’t only heating the air inside the room but also the furnishings, which makes your air conditioner work that much harder. Just pull the curtains when the sun is shining in and notice the immediate difference.
In the winter before going to bed for the night, I close all of the curtains and use them as if they are blankets for my place. It keeps the cold night air out and insulates your rooms from the ice-cold windows.
4. Investigate Your House for Energy Waste
Take some time and walk around your place. Go to the front door on a cold day and hold your hand at the bottom and run it along the sides and top. Do you feel cold air? That is a major culprit. Put weatherstripping on your shopping list and in the meantime, roll up a towel and put it at the bottom of the door. Check out all of your doors this way and your windows as well. I have a lot of windows that don’t close properly due to the age of the building. Some masking tape does a pretty good job keeping out not only the cold air but the bugs too!
As you investigate, take a look at things plugged into the electrical sockets. Feel the plugs and the appliance itself. Do they feel warm? Feel the top of your DVR or video game console. If it’s warm, you can guarantee it’s a huge energy culprit. Put those electronics and appliances on a power strip and switch it off.
Ok, there you have it—four ways that you can save money on your electric bill. Yes, these tips might seem trivial, but if saving money is a priority or you’re tired of giving your utility company your paycheck every month, try a few or all of them and notice the difference it makes.