8 Simple Ways to Lower Your Electric Bill

8 Simple Ways to Lower Your Electric Bill

8 Simple Ways to Lower Your Electric Bill
Reading Time: 4 minutes

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American household spends about $4,400 a year on fuel, utilities, and other services. Energy consumption is shockingly high in the United States. You can save money in your household by lowering energy consumption. Click through for tips on how to lower your energy bill.

How to Lower Your Energy Use and Save Money

Many Americans dread their monthly electricity bill. On average, Americans spend more than $1,300 annually on electricity alone, about 5 percent to 10 percent of their income, making it harder to maintain a budget.

Although the service provider often takes the blame, much depends on how you use your home appliances. You can significantly reduce your average energy consumption by doing things like switching to more efficient appliances and changing a few habits.

Start with an Energy Audit

An energy audit helps you assess the energy efficiency of your home. Most utility companies offer a free home energy audit to their customers. If you don’t have access to such a program, you can carry out your own energy audit to see where you can cut down on energy use.

Switch to a Smart Thermostat

Unlike traditional thermostats, smart thermostats can be set to operate in accordance with a schedule, heating your rooms at certain times and automatically lowering the temperature when you are away or asleep. A smart thermostat is connected to the internet and controlled through web interfaces and smartphone apps. Thermostats that use smart assistants like Google Home and Amazon Alexa can be controlled using your voice.

Smart thermostats save you money on heating by keeping temperatures as low as possible for as long as necessary. They respond to the information you provide, including your preferred temperature and your daily schedule. You save as much power as is feasible, and you reduce your monthly energy bill accordingly.

Install Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans keep air conditioning energy costs low while maintaining comfort. They help to keep the air in your home circulating, which reduces the amount of energy required to keep the air conditioner running.

In summertime, ceiling fans can keep you cool even if you don’t use the air conditioner, thanks to the wind chill effect. Moving air feels cooler because it speeds up the evaporation of moisture from your skin. Set the fan to blow downwards. During winter, ceiling fans save energy by making up for the tendency of heated air to rise to the ceiling and redirecting the heated air to the occupants. This improves the heating system, lowers energy consumption, and saves money.

Service Your HVAC Unit Regularly

On average, your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system accounts for an estimated 50 percent of your electricity usage. So how well you care for your HVAC system is directly reflected in your utility bills. Poorly maintained systems consume more energy than necessary. Make it a point to schedule your HVAC for annual maintenance. You may as well replace it if it is too old, preferably with one that is ENERGY STAR–certified. Change the filter of your HVAC system every thirty days to keep it operating at peak efficiency, which helps avoid electricity waste. This in turn keeps your utility bills in check.

Take Advantage of Off-Peak Rates

Very hot or very cold temperatures lead to high demand and an increase in energy prices. You can reduce your energy usage by scheduling appliances to run during off-peak hours, such as between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.; by turning off unnecessary lights and electronics; and by using smaller appliances like the microwave for cooking instead of an electric stove.

Off-peak hours include hours when the energy grid is not under a lot of stress, e.g., when most people are asleep. The generators that power your grid typically run 24/7 so that everyone has access to electricity at all times. Since many fewer people use electricity during off-peak hours, less energy is consumed during these hours, reducing the price. Electricity is therefore cheaper late at night and early in the morning than it is during the day when demand is high.

It is easy to program smart thermostats, washers, and dishwashers to run during off-peak hours. Unplug the appliances in the morning and plug them back in during off-peak hours.

Off-peak hours also come in handy when using a home battery as an alternative source of energy. You can charge the battery during off-peak hours, then use it to power your home during peak hours. Doing so will significantly reduce your use of electricity during the most expensive hours of the day and thus significantly reduce your electricity bill.

Set Optimal Refrigerator and Freezer Temperatures

If you raise your refrigerator temperature a few degrees, you can save hundreds of dollars annually. The fresh food in your refrigerator needs to be between 36°F and 38°F. Often, refrigerators are two to five degrees lower than necessary. The freezer should be set between 0°F and -5°F.

You can also optimize the temperatures of your refrigerator and freezer by keeping them full; when they’re full, less energy is required to maintain cold temperatures. If keeping them full is impractical, you can put bags of ice or water pitchers in open spaces to help the refrigerator run more efficiently.

Make sure you clean the coils of your refrigerator. When condenser coils are dirty, the refrigerator has to work harder and use more energy to cool your food. Consider performing routine maintenance every three months to optimize energy efficiency.

Use Appliances Certified by the ENERGY STAR Program

ENERGY STAR–certified appliances help you save money by using less energy without compromising performance. They meet strict standards for energy efficiency determined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. If your appliances are more than ten years old, consider replacing them with appliances certified by the ENERGY STAR program.

Install energy-efficient lighting

Incandescent lights consume more power than other forms of lighting. Halogen bulbs, compact fluorescent bulbs, and LED bulbs can replace incandescent bulbs. The design of halogen bulbs most closely emulates the quality and output of traditional incandescent bulbs, but they are very efficient. On average, compact fluorescent bulbs use about a quarter of the energy that incandescent bulbs use.

LED lights are extremely long-lived and energy-efficient. LED bulbs consume only about a fifth of the energy that traditional incandescent bulbs consume, and LED bulbs last three to 25 times longer. They are also four times cheaper. By changing every light in your home to LEDs, then, you can save up to $75 a year.

For outdoor lighting, you can try solar lighting to harness the power of the sun. Solar lights absorb the sun’s energy during the day and operate at no cost at night.

Conclusion

These tips will help you conserve energy or improve energy efficiency, the two main ways to reduce your consumption of electricity. By conserving, you avoid using energy unnecessarily. A more energy-efficient home uses less energy while still keeping you comfortable. Choose your power provider wisely, or go solar to reap the maximum benefits of minimal electricity bill payments.

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