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10 Ways to Save on Electric Bills

7 min read

When you’re looking for ways to save money, lowering your bills should be a top priority. Some bills are easy to lower, such as that premium cable subscription you never use. Others might seem impossible to cut down.

If you’re like a lot of people, you’d love to lower your electric bill, but you’re not sure where to start. The good news is there are a lot of little changes you can make to help cut energy costs. Start by trying these ten simple tips to lower your electric bill.

1. Program Your Heating and Cooling

There are a lot of fancy smart-home devices available today, and they can get pretty expensive. Luckily, you don’t need to spend a fortune to add a few smart elements that can help cut your power bills.

Start with a programmable thermostat. You can opt for a top-of-the-line smart thermostat or a simple programmable one. Some smart thermostats allow you to change your home’s temperature from your smartphone remotely. Even a simple programmable thermostat lets you set the temperature in your home for specific times of the day.

Programming your heating and cooling saves you money on electricity by maximizing efficiency when you need it most. In the summer, you could set the thermostat to start running the air conditioning about an hour before you get home from work in the evening. You’ll come home to a cool house while not wasting money cooling the house when no one’s home.

2. Unplug Appliances When Not in Use

It’s not always easy to tell if an appliance or gadget is using electricity when it’s turned off, but a lot of them do. Even if you hit the “off” button, leaving an appliance plugged in could be costing you money.

You can cut this unnecessary expense by unplugging appliances when you’re done with them. After making breakfast, unplug the toaster so it doesn’t sap energy till the next morning. You can do the same with almost any appliance or tool in your home — from gaming consoles and televisions to coffee makers and microwaves.

Unplugging all of your appliances after each use might seem inconvenient. Once you’re in the habit, however, you’ll enjoy a lower electric bill while also reducing your chance of overloading an outlet and causing a home fire.

3. Wash Your Clothes in Cold Water

Traditional clothes-washing wisdom might tell you to use hot water to get your clothes clean. That’s because laundry detergents of the past needed the heat from hot water to activate. Most modern detergents, however, can work just as well in cold water as hot.

This is good news for your wallet since heating the water for a load of laundry uses a lot of energy. By washing clothes in cold water, you’re reducing the amount of electricity you need.

As a bonus, you’ll also get more use out of your clothes. Cold water is generally less harsh on your clothing than hot water. Hot water can cause fibers to break down and lead to shrinking, running dyes, or faded colors.

Make your laundry even more energy-efficient by skipping a cycle in the hot dryer. You can line-dry your clothes for similar benefits — you’ll save money on energy costs and your clothes won’t be exposed to extreme heat.

4. Wear the Right Clothing

It may sound silly but wearing the right clothes indoors can help reduce your heating and cooling costs, ultimately lowering your electric bill.

In the winter, you might be tempted to crank the heater and start a cozy fire in the fireplace. After a while, you realize you’re warm. Instead of turning down the heat or putting out the fire, you change into shorts and a tank top to beat the heat.

In the summer, you could end up doing the opposite. You run the air conditioner so the house is cold, then pull on a sweatshirt or long pants because you’re chilly.

Most of the time, you probably don’t realize you’re changing to match your current comfort level. The next time you reach for an extra layer or change into summer clothes in the winter, try adjusting your home’s thermostat instead.

5. Maintain Your HVAC System

Your heating and cooling system has to work hard to give you an ideal indoor temperature, especially if the outdoor temperature is extreme. The best way to keep your HVAC system from running up your electric bill is to practice proper maintenance.

The easiest step is to replace your air filter regularly. The air filter works to keep debris, dust, and allergens out of the air in your home. As the particles collect in the filter, the system has to work harder to move air through. Check your air filter regularly. If it’s dirty and dusty, it’s time to replace it.

You should also consider hiring a professional HVAC technician to service your system each year. A professional will have the tools and knowledge to alert you if there are any issues and clean your system so it’s running properly.

6. Keep Your Appliances in Good Condition

A dirty appliance in need of repairs often costs a lot more to run than a clean one. Reduce your energy costs by keeping your appliances in good repair. If you notice an appliance isn’t running as efficiently, such as a dryer not drying clothes , clean out dust, dirt, and buildup or contact a repair company.

When your appliance gets beyond repair, you might want to think about replacing it with a newer, more efficient model. Many modern appliances are designed to reduce energy costs and may even come with a rebate from your local power company.

7. Change Your Light Bulbs

If you’re still using incandescent light bulbs, it’s time to upgrade them. Replacing traditional incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) or light emitting diodes (LEDs) is one of the quickest and easiest ways to save money and conserve energy. CFLs last up to 10 times longer and use 75 percent less energy than the old bulb type.

Both CFLs and LEDs outperform incandescent bulbs, but the newer generations of LEDs have even surpassed the quality and efficiency of CFLs. Incandescent bulbs are less expensive to buy, but over a 20-year period will cost you around four times more in purchase cost and energy usage – over $200 compared to $50 for the longer lasting and more energy-efficient LEDs.

8. Focus on Your Fridge and Freezer

At the right temperature, your fridge will keep food cold and safe to eat for weeks by slowing the growth of bacteria. Your freezer can prevent bacterial growth for even longer. But what is the right temperature and how do you know you’re not wasting energy by keeping it colder than it needs to be? The FDA recommends setting your fridge to 40 degrees and your freezer between 0 and 5. So use the top end of both ranges to save energy while keeping food safe.

Another way to conserve energy is to keep your fridge and freezer running optimally by performing regular maintenance. Check the door seals — especially if you have an older model fridge — since a loose seal will leak cold air, making the fridge work harder to stay at the correct temp. Another energy drain: dust build up on the condenser coils. Twice a year, pull the refrigerator out from the wall and vacuum the coils found on the back.

9. Insulate Your Home

According to, a poorly insulated home can drive your energy bill up by 20 percent. In summer and winter, it takes a lot of energy to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. So, if your home isn’t properly insulated, your HVAC appliances will need to work harder, which increases costs. To find the offending areas, start with a visual inspection of both the inside and the outside of your home.

If you see gaps between doors and frames, or around windows, you may need to fix with weather stripping or caulking. Inspect your basement for cracks that could be letting air in or out and fill them with expanding foam. If you experience chilly parts of your home where cold drafts blow in winter, chances are these same spots are letting out cool air in summer.

10. Shorten Your Showers

While there are many ways to save energy by reducing or giving up certain behaviors, foregoing a regular shower is not an option for most. However, there are ways to conserve energy and water while remaining clean and odor-free. A typical shower can typically use up to 40 gallons of water. If you trim even two minutes off your shower time, you can reduce water consumption by five gallons each time you lather up.

Replacing your old showerhead with an energy-efficient model will save you 2,700 gallons of water per year. And the less hot water you use, the more energy you conserve.

Reducing your energy expenses can be easy if you follow these ten steps. Remember to monitor your monthly statement to see the impact these costing-saving ideas can have on your electric bill. And, at the same time, feel good that you’re doing your part for the environment by reducing energy usage.

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