10 Ways to Reduce Your Electric Bill Without Spending a Dime
The Little Things Do Add Up!
How would you like to get one to two months of electricity for free? If you could reduce your electric bill by just $50.00 a month, on average, it would save you $600.00 a year. For many of us, that’s one or even two months of electric bills. It’s true! The little things do add up. Your electric bill is probably one of your largest monthly expenses. Here are some ways to help you reduce your monthly electric bill without spending a dime.
Has Electricity Been De-Regulated in Your Area?
1. Check If You Have a Choice in Who You Use
First of all check to see if there are any other electricity providers in your area. With the de-regulation of electricity in some states in the US, you may have a choice as to whom you use. Call them and compare rates. Tell them that you are considering changing companies, but you need some incentive to make that change.
2. Track Your Usage
Ask the electric company if they have a way that you can track your usage on line. Many companies now have their websites set up to show you how much electricity to are using per hour, per day. It can show you what hours of the day you are using the most electricity. It will also show you how much you are paying per kilowatt and how many kilowatts you are using each day. This has been very helpful at our house and it gives me the incentive to make that number go down each day. You will be surprised what you can do with a little incentive!
3. Ask If the Electric Company Does an Energy Audit
Some electric companies will come to your house and actually check to see where you may be wasting electricity, for free! They will check your windows and doors to see if you need to replace or repair them for better energy savings. Maybe all you need is a little new weather stripping or caulking. They will walk through your house and give you many ideas on where and how to save electricity throughout your home!
4. Minimize Your Usage During Peak Hours
Did you know that most electric companies charge more per kilowatt during certain hours of the day? During what they call the “peak” hours, you are paying more per kilowatt used than during the rest of the day. The “peak” hours may vary by electric company but will normally be somewhere between 11:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. Try to limit your electric usage to early morning and late evening hours. Start a load of laundry first thing of a morning instead of around noon. Your washer may not use much electricity, but the dryer does! Your oven also uses a lot of electricity. Do your baking later in the evening or early in the morning. Use your crockpot and toaster oven more often for cooking. That will save you time and energy! Turn on the dishwasher just before you go to bed. By tracking your usage you can how much difference you can make. Using less electricity during these peak hours has saved us, at the minimum, $25.00 a month.
5. Phantom Electricity Usage
Unplug items that are not in use. Phantom electricity is a bigger waste than you realize! Phantom electricity is the electricity that is being used when a device is plugged in but not actually being used. For instance, do you leave your cell phone charger plugged in all the time, but only re-charge your phone every day or two? Do you leave your curling iron or blow dryer plugged in after you use it? These things are all using phantom electricity. Look around the house and see what is plugged in that doesn’t have to be.
6. Ceiling Fans
Use ceiling fans in your main rooms and bedrooms. I can’t say enough about ceiling fans. Most homes have ceiling fans, but do you use them wisely? Ceiling fans re-circulate the air in the room; they also have a forward and a reverse setting. Use the forward setting in the warmer months to add a breeze to the room. In the cooler months, you may not want so much of a breeze, but you do want to circulate the warmer air, so you want to put the fan on the reverse setting. Keep your ceiling fan blades clean. They tend to collect dirt and dust which will make it work harder and use more electricity. Using your ceiling fans wisely will really help reduce your cooling and heating bills.
7. Reduce the Area to Cool/Heat
If possible, reduce the area that you are trying to keep cool in the summer or warm in the winter. If you have extra bedrooms or bathrooms that are not in use, shut the vents to those rooms and close the doors. Think about shutting off your utility room when not in use. You may be pleasantly surprised by how much money this can save you!
8. Program Your Air Conditioner/Heater
Set your air conditioner to a little higher setting during the heat of the day. Normally setting it 2 to 4 degrees higher in the daytime than in the evening can keep your air conditioner from working too hard during the hottest times of the day. You can turn it back down in the evenings. Some people will turn their air conditioner off when they go to work. This may not be a good idea. Your air conditioner is going to have to run extra hard to cool the house down when you come home. You may set it up some, but not too much. Use the same idea for your heater in the winter.
9. Use Your Drapes or Blinds
Most of us have some type of curtains or at least blinds on our windows. Use them! I have a friend that was complaining about her electric bill one day when I was at her house. I asked her if she ever actually closed her curtains in the summer. She told me no, that it was too much trouble. I laughed and told her that she couldn’t complain about her electric bill then. If you have curtains or blinds, even mini-blinds, they will make a huge difference in the temperature of your rooms, but you have to use them! Keep them closed during the heat of the day in the summer and open them up to let the sun help warm your rooms during the winter months.
10. Clean the Air Filters
Clean or replace your air filters often. Some air filters can be rinsed out with the water hose, and some have to be replaced. Air filters for your cooling/heating system are fairly inexpensive. Some recommend changing your filters monthly. Dirty filters reduce the air flow and cause your system to work harder, thus using more electricity. Keeping them clean can save you quite a bit in a year's time. Oops! I said you weren't going to spend a dime, air filters may cost you a few dollars, but I just couldn't leave this out!
There You Have It!
These tips cost you nothing, but can save you hundred of dollars each month. Summer temperatures seem to get hotter each year. Here in Oklahoma, we have reached temperatures of 114 degrees! I was determined to keep my electric bill down this year. I have seen savings on our electric bill anywhere from $25.00 to $75.00 a month by using these tips.
© 2012 Sheila Brown