Paying more on utility bills is something a lot of people hate doing, especially electricity bills. Utility bills are one of those annoying sneaky bills that are easily forgotten but when it hits your inbox pesters you to pay up. Cost of electricity nationwide varies greatly usually by state. If you live in Hawaii or Rhode Island or California then you are paying the highest electricity rate in 2019.
The average household in America consumes almost 900 kilowatts (kWh) of electricity every month which means the average bills likely soars over $100 per month for electricity alone. Being proactive with electricity habits can save lots of money, not just monthly, but for the rest of your life. These 30 little changes in combination mean big savings throughout a lifetime.
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Table of Contents
Reduce Standby Power Consumption With Smart Strips.
Get smart power strips to turn off household electronics currently not in use. This allows you to reduce energy waste and reduces the amount you spend on energy. Once electronics switch to standby mode, the smart power strips turn them off instead of trickling electricity. Standby power consumption studies in Australia states that the average standby consumption for 2015 was 92.2 watts per household.
Replace Air Filters Regularly.
For someone who wants to reduce the amount that he or she spends on electricity, it is important that you check your air filters regularly. Dirty filters make the HVAC system work a lot harder in moving air around. Dirty air filters consume extra energy to move the air around, which increases your electricity bill.
Get a filter that possesses a higher MERV rating, as it is more effective and reduces the possibility of you getting illnesses or allergies. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a household can reduce AC consumption by as much as 15% if the air filters are replaced once a month.
Be Mindful With Your Water Heaters.
A lot of consumers wonder how they keep paying a lot for electricity when the consumption is minimal. They forget about things that are set in and initially out of their control. It is important that you are watching your water heater and if you really need it on during summer days? Can you turn it off at night or while you’re away?
Getting a water heater insulation jacket, which in some regions is legally required, can help reduce your electricity bill. The US Department of Energy recommends setting tank-based water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This is because heating already hot water will only waste energy.
Another option if you are in the market for a new water heater (they average around $1000 to $3000) opt for a tankless heater. Tank-less water heaters avoid the heat losses associated compare to traditional water tanks.
Do keep your water heater above a 140F (according to the Canadian government) to prevent Legionnaires’ disease.
I know the name sounds Lord of the Rings cool but it’s really not and can be a serious bacteria that cause pneumonia.
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Do Your Laundry With Care.
Don’t use your washer or dryer every day. Leave a day each week for doing your laundry, enough for a full load. Once you feed the washer and dryer, put in a larger load of clothes all at once without overcrowding too much. It will go a long way in reducing how much you spend on electricity.
Unless under special circumstances, always wash your clothes in cold water. Hot water is way too overrated and wasteful for everyday use. It also potentially cause more damage to clothes.
Always check the pockets for coins and other objects too because they can damage the washer. In addition, cleaning the lint from the clothes dryer after every load will help you save on your electricity bill.
Use LED or CFL Bulbs.
If you are still using incandescent lightbulbs, then you might want to reconsider changing and upgrading. Incandescent bulbs consume a lot of energy which increases energy consumption. What you should do is to get LED bulbs or CFL to reduce the energy you uses. CFL and LED bulbs require less energy to produce the same amount of light that incandescent bulbs are producing.
Turn Off Lights.
Turning off ceiling fans and lights once you leave the room helps in reducing the amount you pay for your electricity bill. Leaving lights and other electronics on while is just draining energy and adding onto unnecessary spendings. Even with CFL lighting, the general rule of thumb is to leave the lights on if you leave your house for 10 minutes or less. Turn the lights off if you are leaving the house for more than 10 minutes.
Use Adjustable Thermostats.
Adjusting the thermostat or smart thermostats (like NEST) helps to reduce spending unnecessary money keeping an empty apartment cool or warm. Leave your HVAC system off when you leave your house for the work day is a good idea. By adjusting the thermostat to 7 to 10 degrees from its normal setting for 8 hours per day, it will help in adding 10% on your estimated annual savings.
Use a Cashback Card.
My husband and I use Citi Double Cash as a catch-all for bills majority of the time. Citi offers a 2% back on everything as long as you pay it off. According to Citi, all purchases you make earn cash back. There are no category restrictions when using Citi. Occasionally there are rotating categories on our other credit cards that land in utilities for 5% cashback so we naturally hop on that. There are many credit cards out there that let you choose one category every quarter so take advantage of it.
Be Energy Smart in the Kitchen.
Instead of making use of the stove to cook or boil water for a quick meal or cup of tea, you should consider making use of your microwave instead. You can try cooking at night, switching to a toaster oven (instead of the oven stove). In the day time, try to switch off the heat/dry setting on the dishwasher. Cooking using microwave, toaster oven, or even a slow cooker can save as much as 80% energy when reheating small amount of food.
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Use Trees To Cool Down.
When it gets to peak summer, we have to keep the air conditioner on so the house will not overheat and try us mad. We spend a lot on energy bill trying to cool down the temperature of the house. You can help reduce your energy bill by planting the trees to act as a shade for your house or backyard. This will save your A/C from doing a lot of work.
When we were buying our property, it never occurred to us how much a nice shady tree could save. Landscaping and planting trees aren’t only important for its aesthetic value. It can also be used for energy conservation by reducing the work your AC had to do using natural ways of cooling down the temperature.
Don’t Use Heat Dry on Your Dishwasher.
This setting in your dishwasher is known to consume a lot of energy. Switching this feature off will help a lot in reducing energy consumption. According to Home Guides, air drying your dishes can save up to 15% of your total dishwasher’s energy use.
Exploit Off-Peak Rates.
Some places and landlords are known to give their residents more affordable electricity rates in hours when people rarely use energy, especially at night. If your locality offers this, you can use that time to do your laundry, use the dishwater, and even cook. According to Save On Energy, this technique is even more useful during summer and winter when energy use increases due to extremely hot or extremely cold weather.
Upgrade Energy Saving Devices.
If you are using devices that are more than ten years old, there is a great chance that they are not energy efficient. You should think of having them replaced. Opt for appliances that use lesser energy. The Energy Star program which is created by EPA regulates energy requirements in the majority of appliances. By using Energy Star certified products, it can help you save energy in the long run.
Use Low-Flow Showerheads.
Instead of going for regular shower heads that may be cheaper at first, consider opting for low flow showerheads. Naturally, it saves on water but another part of the logic is needing less water to be heated which reduces your energy consumption. To maximize water efficiency, the US Department of Energy recommends using a showerhead with a flow rate of less than 2.5 gpm. Depending on the county or state, your local government may send you free low-flow showerheads or offer government rebates and subsidies for you to switch.
Get More Blankets.
Instead of increasing your thermostat during the cold night to warm yourself, you should consider getting more blankets. This will save the money you spend on the electricity bill. In addition, if you live in a very cold climate, try a heated mattress pad or thermal blanket, it’s a more efficient and energy-saving way to warm up during the cold winter months compared to heating the entire bedroom continuously.
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Clear Lint From Dryer.
Remove the lint from the dryer after each load. This ensures that the dryer is efficient in the long run. You can clean the lint with the soapy water. You should not forget to brush it regularly to wipe off any extra lint. Washing the trap also helps in controlling odors in your machine.
Use Dryer Balls.
If you want to reduce the time that your clothes spend while drying, you should consider tossing dryer balls. You can save energy and energy by decreasing the usage time of your dryer. It causes a cut in energy used by up to 25%.
Get a Tankless Water Heater.
If you are thinking of getting a new hot water heater, you should think of getting the tankless one. They help to reduce the amount of energy that the heater consumes by half. According to Petro, tankless water heaters are 22% more efficient than gas-fired, storage-tank models.
Insulate Switches and Outlets.
Get electrical outlet sealers, and ensure that they are placed on every switch and outlet in the house. This is particularly an energy saver during winter days, as it reduces unwanted airflow inside the house. According to Conservation Mart, a household experiences 2-5% heat loss because of uninsulated outlets and switches.
Get Storm Doors.
To prevent your house from losing energy a lot, you should consider installing them on every exterior door in your apartment. A storm door can reduce up to 50% of energy usage. However, it is discouraged to get glass storm doors if the exterior door gets direct sunlight several hours a day.
Wipe Coils of Your Refrigerator.
I know this one is crazy, right? Once the coils in your refrigerator become dirty, they tend to do a lot more work trying to get your foods cool. It won’t be a bad idea to run regular maintenance on your refrigerator. HuffPost recommends using the vacuum’s hose attachment in order to get all the dust from the coils. You should also leave some space between the fridge and the wall so it doesn’t overheat.
Utilize Residual Heat.
If you notice that your food is almost ready, turn the stove or oven off. With the heat that has built up already, it will get the job done. It is recommended to turn off the stove or oven 5-10 minutes before the end of cooking time.
Get Motion Sensors.
Motion sensors would be a great investment. It helps to auto-turn on and off lights when you enter or leave a room. Motion sensors are also good property crime deterrents too. Using sensors may seem like it saves pennies – and you would be right – 15 pennies per month per light to be exact! Hey, you’ll be 15 cents per month richer until the end of time!
Get Solar Lights For Outdoors.
Solar lights aren’t a bad idea to exploit the sun and use it to power your energy needs for outdoor. Solar lights get to absorb the energy from the sun, and it works even at night, without the sun. The US Department of Energy recommends this method as well, about 10% of the average home’s energy spendings go to lighting. Redirecting some load to the sun’s natural energy will save a considerable amount of energy.
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Get an Attic Fan.
Getting an attic fan helps to add cool air to your apartment and take out the hot air, without expending a lot of energy. It works better when the sun officially sets, since heat rises, the attic gets super hot. Get an attic fan, aim it near the window and you can feel the hot air blow out as it pulls in cooler air.
According to Constellation, attic fans help reduce cooling cost by the increased efficiency in air ventilation. What’s make this option more viable is that there are solar-powered attic fans available in the market.
Close Curtains & Blackout Curtains.
It won’t be a bad idea to try to shield your apartment from the scorching sun by closing the blinds and curtains on those parts of your house that the sun is entering through. To save more energy, consider getting a tinted window film installed. During the warm weather, light-colored curtains reflect sunlight and make the house cooler.
There are also blackout curtains that are really good at keeping a room cool and dark. You shouldn’t be paying more than $20 for blackout curtains because I have not noted much quality difference between single panels that cost $5 vs $20 per panel (you need 2 panels usually.)
Get Ceiling Fans.
Instead of relying solely on AC, you should consider opting for ceiling fans. The average cost of running a ceiling fan is about 1 penny per hour. These cheap fans can reduce the AC’s job by helping the AC cool the room.
Line Dry Your Clothes.
Well, a lot of persons would frown at this because it will make them feel that they are on the set of a 1930s movie. If you are dedicated to reducing your energy consumption, you should try and allow the sun to dry your laundry itself. Erect a clothesline. Air drying your clothes can save up to 45 minutes of dryer usage.
Run an Energy Audit.
A lot of utility companies are known to offer an audit free of charge to clients, to allow them to know what and what is consuming a lot of energy. If your utility company offers this, you should take it with both hands. If the firm doesn’t offer this, you should consider doing your own energy audit. This will allow you to know the aspect that energy consumption should be reduced. Preventing air leaks alone can save from 10% to 20% per year.
According to Michael of Financially Fit, you could potentially qualify for lower utility rates if you can prove you have a medical device.
Get Dimmer Switches.
Saving energy is quite possible if you decide to opt for dimmer switches that allow you to make use of the light you need for ambiance. In addition, dimmer lights produce lesser heat, which in return, can help in cooling down during hot weather.
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