You may have noticed that your utility bill has “grown” over time. Yes, electricity prices are rising, and all of us should be more frugal.
There are simple things you can do to fight back, and here we present you with 7 electricity money-saving tips. Combined — and depending on your electricity use — you can save up to 40 percent. No need to leave any money on the table…
1. Get low-energy bulbs
The easiest way to start saving on electricity is to replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs), which use around 75 less energy and last 10 times longer (than incandescent bulbs). On average, CFL bulbs provide 10,000 hours of light while using around $10.40 of electricity (at 8¢ per kilowatt hour).
For additional savings, you can get CFLs with the Energy Star label, which ensures the products have met energy-efficiency guidelines set by the EPA and the Department of Energy.
Alternatively, you can get LED-based bulbs, which are fanciers and cost more.
Savings: Up to $35 per bulb
2. Install smarter switches
There are two basic types of smart switchers you can use to save on electricity: motion sensors and timers.
The former, also known as occupancy sensors, will automatically turn on or off certain devices in the house when you enter or leave the room. You will want to tie motion sensors to the light in your home, to make sure it’s automatically turned off when the room is empty. Typically, people install these in their bedrooms as they are seldom used after the morning.
The latter type of smart switch lets you set specific number of minutes for any device to work before it gets turned off. The use cases include bath fans, air conditioners, and even lighting. When buying a timer, you should read the label to see whether it is rated for motors or just lighting.
Savings: Up to $100 per year
3. Service your air conditioner
Regularly maintaining your air conditioner will keep it running at peak efficiency, delivering round the year electricity savings.
Performing basic tasks like cleaning and straightening the fins, changing the filter and lubricating the motor will take you a long way. Additionally, you may want to call in the professional to check the electrical parts and refrigerant every two or three years.
Furthermore, if your AC is more than 12 years old, you should consider replacing with an Energy Star model that will instantly cut your cooling costs by 30 percent. If you want to take this route, get an air conditioner with SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating of at least 13. The higher the number, the more efficient the unit.
Savings: Up to $65 per year
4. And your refrigerator…
Your refrigerator needs more power than all other appliances in the kitchen combined. And just like the A/C, it too needs to be maintained to run at peak efficiency.
In order to do that, you can clean the coils twice a year to benefit from improved efficiencies between 30 and 50 percent. You don’t need a pro for this, simply brush and vacuum the coils at the bottom or the back of the refrigerator. Get a special, bendable coil cleaning brush at appliance parts stores or home centers to reach tight areas.
Also, you may want to check fridge door seals as they tend to wear out over time. Make a test by closing a paper note in the door, and if it can be pulled out easily, it’s time to replace the seal.
And again, if you have an old fridge – consider replacing it with a more efficient Energy Star model.
Savings: Up to $60 per year
5. Embrace smart metering
Different utility companies offer different smart metering programs. If your electricity provider offers such a program, go for it.
As part of the deal, the utility company will install a special, smart meter to track exactly how much electricity you’re using. This in turn enables them to better distribute electricity among all of their customers.
The good news is that some programs actually pay you to sign-up for smart metering. Even if you don’t get paid for it you will still get the option to monitor your home’s power usage in real time. This in turn will allow you to better manage your electrical consumption.
Additionally, some programs let you know when the electricity is more affordable, so you can manage your consumption accordingly (and save money).
Savings: Up to $140 per year
6. Kill energy vampires
According to the Department of Energy, up to 75 percent of the electrical use by home electronics occurs when they’re turned off. These so called “energy vampires” suck electricity all day long, thus producing cost of around $100 per year.
In order to prevent this from happening, you can plug these devices into a power strip, and then turn off the strip.
Don’t worry, nothing bad will happen, as most modern electronic devices have their own memory to keep the settings. The situation is a bit different with old VCRs, but chances are — you don’t own such devices, anyway.
Savings: Up to $100 per year
7. Buy Energy Star appliances
As we have already mentioned, the Energy Star label ensures that the product meets energy-efficiency guidelines set by the EPA and the Department of Energy. Appliances with this label deliver up to 30 percent lower energy consumption, hence the premium price of compliant products is easily paid off.
Whether it’s a refrigerator, a washing machine, an AC or some other appliance — today, you can get an Energy Star “version” of it. While more expensive, the premium you will pay is well worth it.
Savings: $35-$600 per year
There are other ways you can save money on electricity, including:
- Getting a water heater timer to only heat the water when you need it (savings: up to $25).
- Clean the your dryer’s lint screen to increase its efficiency (savings: up to $25).
- Change furnace filter every month of the heating season, or year-round if the filter is also used for air conditioning (savings: up to $60).
Embracing some or all of the tips outlined in this article will have a significant impact on your utility bill. Try them out and benefit from the savings.
And if you have an additional tip to share, we would love to hear about it. The comments form below is all yours…