You might think reducing your electric bill takes a huge amount of time and planning, but these simple changes are a breeze.
When you think about ways to lower your energy bill, are energy-saving appliances the first thing that comes to mind? They can certainly be valuable, especially if you’re already looking to replace an existing appliance. However, these 10 easy solutions will lower your bill without the investment of a major new purchase.
Compare your electricity rate on ElectricRate.com
ElectricRate.com will help you find the best electricity provider for your budget, if you live in an area with a deregulated market (which means you get a choice). Use the site to navigate through all the options in your area.
Banish the vampires
An older cable box or DVD player can drain 25‒45 watts of power constantly when not in use, according to the Department of Energy (DoE). An unused laptop can leach 15‒21 watts, the agency adds. Unplug appliances that aren’t in use, and set office equipment to go into sleep mode when unused.
Weatherize your home
Sealing off cracks that let in cool air will dramatically reduce your bill in the winter, says the DoE. Caulking or weatherstripping around areas that are letting in air is one easy fix, for example window frames, corners, and around the chimney. Use rolled up towels or “door snakes” to block drafts under doors, too.
Additionally, use a window insulation kit to keep cold air from coming in through window and door glass. Then open the curtains and let in the sun to save on lighting costs while also drawing in heat.
According to the EPA, using natural lighting can cut your electricity bill by 10 to 40%.
Likewise, use blinds to keep heat out in the summer. Better yet, use awnings, solar screens, or vegetation to keep heat from getting to the windows in the first place, suggests the EPA.
Change your laundry habits
Your provider might bill you at a higher rate at times of peak energy use, like late afternoon and early evening. Doing energy-intensive tasks like laundry and running the dishwasher during off-peak hours, like mornings, is an easy way to reduce your electricity bill.
Using cold water instead of hot for most of your laundry will cut costs, too. Likewise, hang your laundry up to dry.
Heat or cool just the rooms you use
Use a programmable thermostat to control how much you’re heating or cooling your home at different times of the day. Keep it lower at night and during hours when you’re away.
Closing off unused rooms and shutting off their vents will reduce your electricity bill as well. Make sure all areas in front of vents are unblocked in the rooms you want to heat or cool, too.
To keep a room warmer in winter, the EPA suggests reversing the ceiling fan’s direction so it runs counterclockwise. This will circulate warm air downward, keeping a room warmer with less energy. Turn your thermostat down slightly to compensate for the additional heat, the agency advises.
Maintain your HVAC system
Change or clean out filters each month to keep your HVAC system efficient, says the EPA. The agency also recommends cleaning evaporator and condenser coils in air conditioners, chillers, and heat pumps regularly. Clean your refrigerator coils periodically as well.
If some rooms stay colder in winter, check for leaks in your system or add insulation rather than using a space heater, says the DoE.
These quick fixes are likely to make a noticeable difference in your monthly bill with a very low investment. If you want a detailed understanding of how much power each appliance or task is using, consider investing in a home energy monitor as well. This device can help you understand if you’re wasting power with particular devices.