Saving money on electricity is not only good for you but is good for the environment. Anytime that you can cut down your dependence on electric power, you are reducing your footprint on the earth. Ready to see some ways to save money on your monthly bill? Let’s get to it.
1. Adjust Your Electric Water Heater Thermostat
Your water heater is a giant 50 to 60 gallon holding tank that keep hot water in reserve. It is always working, even when you do not need it. For most of us, we shower in the morning and then use very little hot water the rest of the day.
You have to have that water on tap but you do not have to have it as hot as possible. If you have to turn down the hot water to take a shower, you probably have the thermostat set too high. Turning it down can save you a lot of money on electricity and barely impact your hot water usage. If you have small children, turning the temp down also makes things much safer.
Most manufacturers will set the temperature at 140 degrees at the factory. The department of energy recommends a setting of 120 degrees, so you probably need to make an adjustment. To do so, simply shut down power to the unit and remove the small access panel at the front of the unit. Turn the dial down to 120 and then put the cover back on. Turn the power back down and you are all set.
Please note that if you have a gas water heater, this is still a power cut you need ASAP. You will still see savings but they will come off of your gas bill.
2. Look For Air Leaks
When your home was new, it was probably sealed up relatively tight. Weatherstripping and caulk got that job done but these things age. As they age, they crack and shrink.
Check your windows and doors and see just how good a job they are doing at keeping drafts out. If you can feel air getting in, it is time to replace them. Weatherstripping is a cheap investment with an average seal costing just $5. Installation is also an easy DIY project, it will literally take you minutes.
In addition to window and door seals, look for those gaps in the walls where wiring comes in. A bit of caulk is cheap and will cut all those little drafts. Even the smallest gap can let out a significant amount of hot or cold air.
Finally, check the damper on the fireplace. People tend to leave these in the open position. Make sure that it is closed when you are not using your fireplace.
3. Program Your Thermostat
If your home was built int he last decade or two, it probably has a programable thermostat already. The problem is that most people never take the time to learn it. Yes, many of them are not very user friendly but a few minutes reading the manual can work wonders.
Set your thermostat to cool or heat when you are home and, depending on the season, raise or lower it while you are away. In the winter, you can also make your home cooler at night and program the unit to raise the temperature when you are about to wake. You will sleep better at night this way and save money.
If you do not have a programmable thermostat, now may be the time to get one. No, you do not have to take out a 200 dollar loan for a pricey Nest thermostat. As simple 20 dollar one will do the job and you can even install it yourself in about 15 minutes.
With heating and cooling costs being the biggest factor on your electric bill, you are doing yourself a big disservice not taking advantage of a programable thermostat.
While you are at it, raise the thermostat a few degrees in the summer time and use your ceiling fans. Likewise, lower the temperature in the winter and make use of throw blankets.
4. Switch To LED Light Bulbs
Those old fashioned bulbs are costing you a fortune. Not to replace of course because they are dirt cheap. No, they are costing you a fortune in energy usage.
Don’t rush out and buy a house full of LED’s but as your old bulbs go out, replace them one by one with this high efficiency bulb. They will use just 20 percent of the electricity and will also last 20 times longer.
Sure, they cost more but they will pay for themselves in time.
5. Group Electronics On Surge Strips
This will serve two purposes.
In case you didn’t know, most electronics use power even when they are not in use. Unplugging each one individually is time consuming and, let’s face it, you will never do it. Instead group several appliances or electronics on a surge strip. Then you can hit one button and turn off 3, 4 or even 5 things at once.
As a side benefit, your expensive electronics and appliances are now protected from power surges. And don’t think it is just your high tech electronics that can be brought down by a power surge. They can even “brick” major appliances like dish washers or clothes dryers.
6. Run Full Loads
Stop running your dishwasher or washing machine with just partial loads. For the same amount of energy, you can do a full load, so just wait until it is full.
In addition, wash your clothing in cold water whenever possible. You will save money and your colors will stay brighter.
And as for the heated dry setting on your dishwasher, cut it. Air drying works just as well and if you use a wash additive, you will get no spots.
7. Find A Cheaper Provider
If you are lucky enough to live in an area where you can choose your electric provider, start shopping.
You are probably on an annual contract so take the time to look for a cheaper rate once a year. The difference between providers can easily be 2o percent or more which can be a significant savings on the standard bill.
Watch out for super cheap rates that only last for a few months. Instead, try to lock your rate in for at least a 12 month period. That way, you do not have to go through a switch every few months or get surprised by a rate hike.