If you’re trying to learn how to save money on your electric bill, these tips will help you figure out how to cut unnecessary costs. We also share which appliances and accessories are using the most power.
How Do I Save Money On My Electric Bill?
Readers Question: I am new to your site and I love it. How can I save money on my electric bill? I use cold water to wash clothes. I unplug anything not in use. I close the blinds. I cut hot water off under bathroom sinks. I use ceiling fans. I am going through that hot flash thing, so my air conditioning is on 74 degrees. I wash full loads of dishes. And my electric bill is still high. Any other suggestions?
First, it sounds like you are not a typical electricity user. It sounds like you are already cutting significantly in many areas, so there may be less you can do than other people. I will address your question specifically later in this post but first I will be sharing some of the things that many people probably struggle with that cause their bills to be higher how to cut those costs.
How To Save Money On Your Electric Bill
If you want to learn how to save money on your electric bill, it is important to be aware of what things in your home use the most power and what things you use the most. Here are some common energy drains that can often make your electric bill higher.
Consider all of the things that use electricity in your house and think about how you use them. If you or the kids leave all of the lights on in the house, even when you are gone, you will send more on electricity. If you set the air conditioner to very cold and leave it running all day, it will cost a fortune.
Even if you are home, consider whether or not you actually need this device to be running as much as you leave it on.
Energy efficient appliances may not be as efficient as we think.
Tawra just recently bought a new energy efficient refrigerator and the repair man said he only buys old refrigerators. He said the new ones only save about $1 a month, but it costs a lot more to buy them. Then, if something goes wrong, it often costs a minimum of $500 just for the part to repair it. He also said the new appliances need to be repaired more often.
Air conditioning is the single largest single cause of high electricity bills for most people. If you really want to know how to save money on electricity, this is the most important thing to consider. If you run your air conditioning very cold (or your heater very warm in the winter), your bills will be significantly higher than they need to be.
Generally, if you can keep your air conditioner closer to 80 degrees you will save a lot on electricity. Mike and Tawra usually keep their air conditioning thermostat set around 78 degrees, but they try not to turn it on until it starts to get over 80 degrees in the house.
When they lived in a hot climate, they used the air conditioner more of the day, but since they’ve been in a cooler climate, they wait to turn it on until the temperature in the house gets close to 80 and then turn it off when the temperatures cool in the evening.
Even though I have mostly lived in a hot and humid climate, I have always been more willing to tolerate warmer temperatures to save money on my electric bill, so I keep it warmer.
Most people think they need the air conditioner constantly running cooler than they actually do.
If you’re finding it difficult to set it any higher, it can be helpful to set the thermostat one degree higher each day or every couple of days and your body will adjust and it will feel more comfortable. What makes it most difficult is a sudden drastic change.
To the reader who asked the question, I understand you may need the air conditioning, but air conditioning is probably your main source of electricity expense. If I don’t keep my A/C set at 80 degrees, my electric bill jumps up quickly. 2-4 degrees makes a big difference in lowering my electric bill.
I also don’t run my air conditioner the entire day. Even when it was 103 to 105 degrees for several weeks this summer I didn’t turn my air on until about 3 or 4 in the afternoon. I let it run all night because I can’t sleep when it is hot and muggy. Then I turned it off in the morning.
I know that’s not the way a lot of people like to do it but it does significantly help control electricity costs. I also have lots of shade trees around my house so that helps keep it cooler without running the air conditioner as much.
If you feel that you absolutely must keep the air conditioning cooler, you will need to realize that it means enough to you to keep it that cool that you are choosing to spend more for the comfort you want. It’s OK to choose that if you can afford it and it means that much to you.
Dryer and Freezer
Sometimes we work hard at the little things like turning off lights but we don’t consider larger expenses like using a dryer or having a freezer. Years ago I saved $80 (total for both) a month on my electric bill when I stopped using them.
Do you really need to use the dryer? Can you use a clothesline?
The bigger question for many people is how many clothes do you wash? There is no reason to wash more than one pair of clothes per person per day unless you’re working in a very muddy farm environment. Most people spend all day indoors sitting in air conditioning. If that is the case, clothes rarely get very dirty and usually don’t smell bad after just one wearing. If you can wear a lot of clothing items like pants, shorts and shirts more than once, you can save a huge amount of money on dryer (and generally laundry) cost.
Again, if you really want these things and can afford them, it is fine to have them. Just know that you are choosing to spend the money it costs to run them.
Computers And Computer Equipment
I turned 1 computer off while I was gone for a week and saved $10. If you have 2 or 3 computers, that savings can start adding up. Also, a lot of newer electronic devices continue to use power even when they’re sleeping. For the typical family that has a lot of computer-powered devices, this can really add up.
Televisions and entertainment centers can also use a lot of energy, especially if you leave the TV on all day even when you’re not using it.
I always hate to discuss lights and light bulbs because they are the cliche thing people think will solve all of their electricity problems, but lights can definitely be a significant factor in how to save money on your electric bill.
If you leave many lights on all day, even when you are not in those rooms for hours, the cost can add up. If you or the kids leave the lights on when you go to school or work, you will be using electricity needlessly.
I’m not saying turn off all of the lights and live in the dark! That would make anyone go crazy!
If your house is still filled with mostly incandescent light bulbs and you use them a lot, it can also impact the cost of your electric bill. The newer LED bulbs are much less expensive to operate. One LED light bulb that is the same brightness as a 60 watt incandescent bulb uses only 13 watts of power. This means that it costs 4 times as much more to use an incandescent light bulb than it does to use an LED light bulb. That is 400% of the cost.)
Depending on the cost of the LED light bulbs, it might not make sense to re-buy all of your light bulbs, but if you can slowly replace the ones you use most often, you will also use less electricity.
You said you do full loads of dishes. If you are really serious about saving money, it may help to hand wash dishes. I use a half gallon to a gallon of water (total for rinsing and washing) to wash my dishes and no electricity at all. We have to be careful because we live in a world where modern conveniences are considered necessities. It is fine to use these things but if we are serious about saving money we may not be able to use all of them the way we like.
I’m not saying this about you but I talk to so many people who say they are desperate and want to save but then they ask me to tell them how to save money “without making me uncomfortable or asking me to give up anything.” I don’t mean you because you sound like you are willing to do what it takes.
You can track electricity usage for many appliances.
If you’ve taken a close look at your electric usage and if you still aren’t sure where it’s all going, you can buy electric usage monitors, inexpensive devices that allow you to check out an appliance to see exactly how much electricity it is drawing. I think most people would be surprised at which things are drawing the most electricity.
(Mike: Our library has these devices available to check out on a library card to test your power usage.)
Sometimes there is only so much you can realistically do to save money on your electric bill.
If your electric bill is higher than you would like, but relatively low compared to other people, you might want to look at your bill closely. Is it expensive because you are using too much electricity or is it just the base expenses (taxes, extras for lines, service, etc.) that you are paying for?
Many utility companies charge a base rate that is the lowest the bill can go. If you are only paying the base expense you really can’t do too much about that because you are paying for the service of having electricity.
For more easy and practical ways to save money and get out of debt, check out Dig out Of Debt and learn more about how to keep more of your money.
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