Complete Guide on the Best Ways to Cut Down Your Electric Bill
With the never-ending hikes in power prices, there’s a serious need to curb electricity wastage. Otherwise, the inflated per kWh rates will likely push your energy costs to budget-busting levels. Moreover, your energy usage correlates with your home’s carbon footprint, which, in turn, impacts the environment.
Did you know you can cut your electric bill by as much as 75 percent? Yes, it takes a certain amount of effort, but the effort is well worth it. By lowering your energy usage, you save money and Mother Earth as well.
Let’s talk about the reasons and ways you can reduce energy costs.
Appliances that Consume the Most Energy
In the old days, most people washed clothes by hand and hung the laundry out to dry. That saves on electricity use since clothes dryers consume a lot of energy, and all those kilowatt hours add to the total amount on the electricity bills.
Nowadays, those who want to lower their electric bill still resort to air drying their laundry. But you may be surprised to discover that other appliances in your home are using more electricity than a dryer, leading to sky-high electric bills.
Here are some of those appliances that hike your electricity usage.
Although cooling a home requires less electricity than heating it, a 2-ton air conditioner’s energy use still goes as high as 1450 kWh a month. Talk about impacting your electricity bill. Still, you wouldn’t want to endure the summer months’ sweltering heat. Thus, even if cooling systems drain about 6 percent of all the electricity produced in the country, you’ll need these to keep your home cool and comfy.
Along with air conditioning, furnace use accounts for approximately 46 percent of a home’s energy consumption in the US. Depending on your unit’s energy efficiency, your HVAC system could consume around 850 to 1950 kWh a month, making it one of a home’s top energy users.
Clothes dryers account for 5 percent of your home’s electric bill. How much energy your appliance consumes depends on factors such as how many loads you run per week and the temperature setting. But running the dryer inevitably hikes your electricity bill.
In most instances, a water heater ranks second when it comes to driving up your power bill, next only to your air conditioner. You use the heater for many activities, such as bathing, washing dishes, and doing the laundry. This appliance sucks up a significant amount of energy and accounts for 12% of your electricity expenses.
Using space heaters to heat your home can double or even triple your electric bill if you’re not careful. These appliances may be small in size, but they consume plenty of electricity. They use an average of 1500 watts (1.5 kWh) an hour. That translates to around 15 cents an hour, depending on the power rates in your area. You can avoid a high electric bill by using these heater types only in tandem with your heating system and not as your primary heat source.
Eight percent of an average US home’s electricity use comes from refrigerators. This appliance sucks up around 162 kWh per month. Although it doesn’t drain that much power, the kilowatt hours add up because a refrigerator remains on 24/7.
How much an electric stove top adds to your electric bill depends on its burner’s size and the heat setting. Larger burners consume more electricity, while smaller ones require less energy to operate. All things being equal, small burners use around 1,200 watts on average, while their larger counterparts draw approximately 3,000 watts.
Several factors affect the power consumption of electric ovens. These include the appliance’s wattage and how often you use it. For example, operating a 2000-watt oven for 5 hours will cost you $27.80 monthly. Meanwhile, using its 1,000-watt counterpart for the same duration will add $13.90 to your monthly electric bill.
Your dishwasher accounts for about 2% of your electric bill. That may not seem much, but translated into cents and dollars, that amount is nothing to sneeze at. The dishwasher’s heater is responsible for most of the energy draw, at 84% of the total power usage of the appliance. Dishwashers consume around 1.17 kWh of electricity per cycle and how much you pay for each cycle depends on the electricity rates in your area.
Tips on How to Reduce Your Electric Bill
A lower electric bill helps both your pocket and the environment. If you save energy, you reduce your home’s carbon emissions and shrink your electricity expenses. Fortunately, using less energy is a goal you can easily achieve through some simple lifestyle changes. Let’s explore some of the measures you can employ.
Switch to LED Bulbs
Your home’s lighting needs account for a significant portion of your electric bill, at about 9 to 12 percent. Older lighting solutions, like incandescent light bulbs and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), waste electricity and your money along with it. The invention of LED bulbs makes it possible to cut your electric bill by 75 percent.
Incandescent bulbs and CFLs transform most of the energy they use into heat instead of light. In contrast, LED bulbs produce very little heat. That means they can illuminate your home for less money than incandescent light bulbs and CFLs. Switching to LED bulbs can save you around $225 a year in electricity costs. Opt for Energy Star-rated LED bulbs to further boost your energy efficiency goals.
Turn off Your Computers
Another excellent way to reduce electricity consumption is turning off your computers when they’re not in use. That’s because keeping your computers on standby mode contributes to the phantom load of your home. A desktop model drains an average of 200 watts per hour, while a laptop’s power consumption falls between 50 to 100 watts depending on the model. On standby mode, these computers’ electricity usage goes down by 15%. That means a desktop continues to use about 170 watts, and a laptop still draws 43 to 85 watts.
If you turn off your units, their power consumption goes down to zero, provided you pull their plug off the socket. Pulling the plug is the key because when it comes to computers and some modern electronics, turning the power switch to the OFF position doesn’t mean the unit stops consuming electricity entirely. Some accessories, such as pilot lights, continue drawing power from the electrical outlets as long as the device is plugged in.
Switch Off Unused Lights
Keeping your lights on when not in use can be a capricious whim, especially when the lights involved are non-LED bulbs. The power those lighting solutions consume may be insignificant at the outset, but the watts they draw add up. So turn off the lights in unused areas of your home and see how doing so will lower your electric bill.
If you want to avoid the inconvenience of constantly turning the lights on and off, you can install a smart lighting system that turns lights on when it detects human motion. Alternatively, you can use bulbs with programmable features or those that can be controlled using remotes or smart devices.
Unplug Idle Appliances
You can reduce electricity consumption by around 10% each month if you unplug appliances that are not in use. That’s because modern electronics and devices still draw some energy even when switched off. That’s as long as they’re kept plugged into a power source.
Moreover, you can turn your appliances on by accident and leave them running without your knowledge, especially if you have various electronics and devices connected to a power strip. For example, when your TV, DVD player, gaming console, and standing electric fan are connected to an extension box, switching on the outlet can get all the devices running even if you don’t intend to use all of them.
Use Energy-Efficient Appliances
Upgrading to energy-efficient appliances can help with your aim to cut your electric bill by 75 percent. That’s because these types of appliances use the least amount of energy to do their tasks, thus saving money you’ll otherwise use to pay your energy bills.
Around 30 percent of your electric bill comes from using these appliances: air conditioner, water heater, refrigerator, dishwasher, washing machine and dryer, television, microwave, electric fan, and blender. So consider upgrading to energy-efficient models if your old units are up for replacement.
Regularly Clean & Maintain Appliances
Even the most energy-efficient appliances can turn into energy wasters if they aren’t maintained properly. That’s because as the appliances get older, they accumulate dust, dirt, and other debris that hamper their proper functioning and can lead to performance issues. In turn, these issues may impact the appliances’ energy efficiency.
For example, a clogged furnace filter will make your heating system work harder to keep your home’s temperature at an optimum level during the cold months. This hikes its power consumption. In contrast, clean appliances typically require less electricity to operate.
Conduct a Home Energy Audit
A home energy audit gives you a clearer picture of your home’s energy use. It lets you determine how much electricity it uses, where it uses that energy inefficiently, and what steps to take to improve your home’s energy efficiency.
Because the energy audit lets you detect where you are wasting electricity, it will help you find the necessary solutions or fixes to address the problems. In many instances, these energy-saving fixes can help cut the electric bill by hundreds of dollars annually.
Lowering Your Energy Bill in the Summer
Summer is one of the seasons where energy demand shoots up. That comes as no surprise, as using air conditioners is the most effective way to combat the sweltering heat, leading to higher cooling costs. But you don’t have to resign yourself to paying sky-high power bills. There are ways to beat the summer heat without emptying your wallet.
Reduce Your Usage of Cooling Appliances
We’re not saying you should keep your air conditioner turned off and endure the heat just to save a few bucks. What we’re saying is that going easy with using your cooling devices can help you reduce costs while keeping your living space at a comfortable temperature.
One excellent way to lower your electric bill even during summer is by turning up the thermostat a few degrees. This will make your air conditioner run less frequently and curb electricity use.
Also, consider using an electric fan to reduce the work and power consumption of your cooling system. Electric fans help circulate the air and keep your living space at your desired temperature without turning down your AC unit’s temperature setting. Remember, setting the thermostat a few degrees higher can make a big difference in your air conditioner’s power consumption.
Replace your AC Filter Regularly
The AC filters are meant to help your cooling system run smoothly. They do so by trapping dirt and other debris that’s in the air. A congested filter reduces the airflow and, thus, impacts the efficiency of your system. Because your AC needs to work harder to keep the cool air circulating in your home, it consumes more electricity, leading to hikes in your electric bill.
A clogged filter not only increases the system’s power consumption, but it can also increase the wear and tear of your equipment. As such, you should change your filter regularly. Ninety days is the maximum you should go without attending to this task. Otherwise, be prepared to spend money as the unit uses more energy to cool your home.
Dry Your Clothes Outdoor
To cut their electric bill, many power consumers dry their laundry outdoors. Clothes dryers are power hogs, so it makes sense to use them as little as possible if you aim to lower your power usage.
Depending on the model, your temperature setting, and other factors, a clothes dryer uses an average of 2,000 to 6,000 watts or 2 to 6 kWh. So if the electricity in your area costs 12 cents per kWh, each hour you operate the appliance will add between 24 and 72 cents to your electric bill. How often you do the laundry will determine how much you can save in a year by hanging your clothes out to dry.
Use Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans can help cut your electric bill if they reduce your air conditioning use. AC units use more energy to maintain your home’s temperature at an ideal level than ceiling fans. On average, ACs cost about 36 cents an hour to run. Compare that to a ceiling fan’s consumption of 1 cent an hour, and you can see how much energy you can save by turning the fan on instead of your air conditioner.
During the height of summer, however, the air circulation created by ceiling fans may not be enough to bring your home’s temperature down. But if you use the fan in tandem with your AC unit, you can turn your thermostat up by several degrees and still feel cool.
Wash the Dishes by Hand
Using a dishwasher to do the dishes can be more environmentally friendly than washing them by hand. But that’s only if you use your dishwasher properly to minimize its power and water usage. Running the dishwasher with half a load and operating it frequently won’t lead to lower power bills, that’s for sure. More so if you use the heat dry feature of your appliance as this increases its electricity consumption.
Doing the dishes by hand can save you extra money if you use water sparingly and don’t leave the tap running non-stop or fill the sink to the brim for rinsing.
Lowering Your Energy Bill in the Winter
Like in the summer, the electricity consumption also shoots up during winter. The energy demand comes from the increased use of heating devices to drive away the winter chill. But like in summer, you can keep your living space at a comfortable temperature without spending more money on your power use.
Here are some tips that can help put your heating expenses on a downward trend.
Use a Smart Thermostat
A smart thermostat is an excellent way to save electricity. This device takes note of your habits and sets the temperature automatically according to your schedule and preferences. Smart thermostats work even when you’re not home. Since they’re Wi-fi enabled, you can adjust their settings from wherever you are.
These devices may cost a bit, but your energy savings can offset the amount you spend. You can even get back the greenbacks you put down right away through the rebates and other incentives some states give to encourage energy conservation.
Insulate your Home
One of the best ways to save on electricity is to pay attention to your home’s insulation. Proper insulation helps regulate the temperature of your living space as it prevents hot air from escaping outdoors and cold air from entering your home.
Install weather stripping and seals around your windows and exterior doors to avoid losing heated air. Also, check your basement and attic, where some of the worst air leaks occur. Look for broken seals or damaged weatherstripping and repair them immediately.
Minimize the Use of Heating Appliances
We advise setting your thermostat between 75 to 78 degrees to minimize energy consumption. If you have a programmable thermostat, you can automatically set your AC unit at the ideal temperature. This allows you to lower your heating appliance’s power usage. A smart thermostat can be a bit pricey, but the savings on your bill makes up for the upfront cost of the device.
One ingenious way to keep warm without cranking up the heat is by using electric fans. Yes, electric fans. They’re not just great means to cool down your home during the summer months but can also help circulate the heated air in your living space when the temperature drops in winter.
After you’ve gone to bed, you can dial down your thermostat setting a few degrees more than your daytime setting and then use blankets to avoid getting chilled. Turning your thermostat down 10 to 15 degrees for 8 hours a day can cut 10% off your power costs.
You can even use electric blankets and still save on electricity. That’s because these sleeping aids use very little energy yet they can keep you warm and snug in freezing weather.
Use Dryer Balls
Overdrying the laundry not only leads to increases in your power bills but also causes static clings to your garments. Dryer balls help dry your clothes more efficiently. The balls lift and separate each item, allowing the hot air to circulate more freely and speed up the drying process.
Electric dryers consume 2 to 6 kWh an hour, so reducing the drying time means savings on your utility costs.
Heat Only the Room You Use
You probably have a room or two that you barely go to. These may include guest rooms, basements, and storage rooms. However, you may overlook the fact and keep the doors open to those unused rooms. Heating a room where no one stays wastes electricity. Make it a habit to close off unused rooms to avoid heat loss to those areas.
What uses the most electricity on standby?
Leaving appliances on standby wastes electricity because those electronics continue drawing power even when they’re not in use. The most notorious vampire load culprits on standby are video game consoles, TVs, satellite TV boxes, cable boxes, and desktop computers.
Why is electricity so expensive?
Most of the electricity produced in the country comes from fossil fuels, and the prices of these fuels are ever on the rise. The global supply shortage is behind the price increases, as the world has a dwindling stock of fossil fuels. Higher fuel costs translate into higher power rates.
Does taking a shower use electricity?
The shower itself doesn’t consume electric power. It’s the water that comes from the shower that requires electricity. Even if you use cold water, if you use a pump to deliver the water to where it needs to go, you’ll use electricity when you shower.
What are vampire devices in the home?
Vampire devices in the home include any electronics with a clock, timer, adaptor, indicator light, or remote control. Examples are coffee makers, TVs, microwaves, computers, phone chargers, and even rechargeable vacuums and electric toothbrushes.
How to cut the electric bill by 75 percent is a question that has many answers. First, you’ll need to determine what factors drive up your home’s power consumption. Then you’ll need to look for fixes and solutions to the issues. For example, if inefficient old appliances are the culprits, upgrading to energy-saving models is one option.
Making lifestyle changes will go a long way in helping you use less power and hence, leave you extra money from your electricity expenses. Swapping your old bulbs with LED lights, using insulated paint, insulating your water heater, and unplugging unused electronics will have a huge impact on your goal of cutting your electric bill.