10 Ways to Reduce Your Electric Bill

By Diane Tait

Image courtesy Pixabay

Face it, we’re in the dog days of summer.  This is the time of year when the outside temperature in Florida hardly ever falls below 90-degrees.  This fact alone makes an air conditioner run nearly non-stop.  Not surprisingly, it’s also the time of year we Floridians have the highest electric bills. If you’re tired of paying through the nose to the electric company, I thought I’d show you ten ways to beat them a their own game.

      1.      Install a Smart Thermostat – If your home still has an old-fashioned thermostat that only allows you to program in a single temperature for your home, maybe it’s time you considered switching to a smart thermostat.   This web-enabled device will allow you to not only preprogram any number of temperature settings, you’ll also be able to monitor and change the temperature at will from any smartphone, tablet or PC.  This means you can turn the temperature up a degree or two during the day while you’re at work and turn it down a degree or so at night while you sleep.  Nighttime is also the best time to cool your home since the utility company charges less for energy at night then they do during the day.

      2.      Change the setting on your refrigerator.  Not only does your home AC unit run like crazy in the summer, so too does your refrigerator.  If your fridge is set at the default setting, you can save 10% or more just by lowering the setting by one digit.  In the first place, the settings on refrigerators don’t represent the internal temperature of the unit.  If you really want to find out how cold the fridge is, you need to put a thermometer inside it.  Ideally, what you want is a temperature of 38-39 degrees in the fridge.  This will keep your milk, meat and produce fresh without wasting electricity. 

      3.      What kind of lightbulbs do you have in your home?   Another energy hog is the incandescent light.  They not only gobble up electricity, they produce heat as a byproduct.  Replace them with compact fluorescent or LED lights and you’ll save electricity while keep your home from heating up unnecessarily.  An incandescent bulb uses anywhere from 50-120 watts.  A comparable CFL bulb uses 15 watts and an LED bulb around 10 watts.  CFL and LED bulbs may cost more, but they last 9-10 times as long as incandescent bulbs.

      4.      Is it time to replace that ancient appliance?  If you’ve been wondering whether it’s worth investing in a new washer/dryer, dishwasher, range, or refrigerator to replace the unit that came with the house you bought 20-years ago, the answer is “Yes”.  Energy and water-efficient appliances can save you $100 or more per year when compared to appliances that rely on older technology. 

      5.      Water you waiting for?   If your home has a water heater in the garage, the cost to run it is around $780 a year.  That’s because whether you use it or not, a water heater typically runs 3-hours a day to keep the water in the tank hot.  If you want to curb the appetite of this energy monster, consider replacing it with a tankless water heater or a solar water heater.  While these units cost a bit more than a standard water heater, they’re much more energy efficient and will pay for themselves in a few years.

Image courtesy Pixabay
      6.      How many of your rooms have ceiling fans?  Ceiling fans not only keep you cooler in the summer, they can also help keep your home warmer in the winter.  All you have to do is hit the switch that controls the direction of the blades.  You want the fan to turn clockwise in the winter to pull cool air up and counterclockwise in the summer to push hot air down.  This helps the air circulate, which in turn makes your home’s HVAC system run less. 

      7.      When’s the last time you changed your air conditioner filter?  Speaking of home HVAC systems, one of the simplest and cheapest ways to help it work less is to change the filter monthly during high use times of the year and every other month during the times of year when it runs a lot less.  This won’t just save you money on your utility bill, it will extend the life of the unit substantially.

      8.      Don’t use the oven so much.  Did you know it costs the average American family $113.89 per year on average to use their oven?  That says nothing of how much it costs for your home’s AC system to deal with the heat the unit generates.  If you want to bake during the summer, consider using a compact convection oven or air fryer instead of the oven.  These units use about a third the energy and produce half as much radiant heat.

      9.      Can you plant trees to save money on your utility bill? Absolutely, if their limbs provide shade to your home.  During the summer, shade trees can lower your utility bills by deflecting the Sun’s radiant energy that cooks your home’s roof.  In the winter, they can also save you money by deflecting wind that would otherwise cool your home down unnecessarily.

      10.  Is it time to pull the plug?  Believe it or not, the number one way to lower your utility bill is to turn off and unplug lights, electronics and appliances that aren’t being used.  Just because your TV is turned off doesn’t mean it still isn’t consuming electricity.  The easiest way to stop power loss at the switch is to install a power strip with an on off button that you can turn off when you turn in for the night.  And don’t forget to turn off the lights while you’re at it. 

Diane Tait owns and operates A&B Insurance.  To find out more about how you can save money on insurance, go to her site or fill out the form at right.

Comments

  1. I remember what my dad used to say when I left the front door open in the summer. "Are you trying to air condition the whole world, or what?"

    ReplyDelete

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