With more people working from home than ever before, it is even more important to find ways to reduce energy costs. If your children are also attending classes online, that means even more household energy consumption. Spending more time at home also means higher utility bills, especially during the extreme summer and winter months. However, there are several things you can do to cut your electric bill in half.
Energy Audit to Save Time and Money
The first thing you should do is contact your energy supplier and request an energy audit. They provide this service to their customers for a small fee, averaging around $100. In addition, you may receive coupons and discounts for large ticket items or recommended upgrades.
During the energy audit, a technician will do a walk-through to spot issues. It takes about an hour depending on the condition of the house. In the end, the technician will hand you a checklist of items you can address to cut your electric bill in half.
Although there is a small fee, an energy audit can save you time and money in the long run. Rather than guessing at the problems of wasting time to find them, the technician pinpoints the issues. They can also offer professional advice about things that need to be immediately attended to and guide you towards the best solution.
Free Things You Can Do to Cut Your Electric Bill in Half
Even if you do not have the finances to replace and upgrade your home, there are still things you can do to reduce your energy bills.
Shop Around for Deals
As with any purchase, you should always shop around for the best deals. The same is true if your state allows deregulated electricity. You can use dedicated sites to shop around and compare prices between electric suppliers. You receive the same service but at more competitive rates. A little research can save you a bundle on your utility costs.
Reduce Your Energy Consumption
Another easy way to reduce energy consumption is to identify which appliances pull the most electricity and use them less. These usually include your heating and cooling units, dryer, water heater, refrigerator, and electric stove. However, you can also use a Kill a Watt device to see what other electronics and appliances are the worst culprits.
Once you know what is causing the energy spikes, you can find ways to use these appliances less. Here are a few ideas that can reduce your monthly bills.
Heating and Cooling Costs
- Use your windows to regulate the temperature in your home. Open them during the day to warm your home in the cold months. On the other hand, close them to block out the summer sun to stay cool.
- Set the thermostat to a cooler temperature during the winter months. You can wear more clothing or use blankets while your body acclimates. After a few days, your body will adjust and your savings will increase.
- There is no need to heat rooms you don’t use, so close doors and vents to conserve heat.
- Be sure to seal up your home to make sure air does not escape. Use caulk or weather stripping around doors and windows to stop drafts.
- Insulate your windows with plastic wrap or a plastic insulator kit to keep air from seeping out.
Cutting Costs with Laundry
- Use cold water to wash clothes, especially if your home has an electric water heater.
- Add dryer balls instead of sheets to help your laundry dry faster. They help separate the clothes resulting in less dryer time.
- On sunny days, line dry clothing outside. During inclement weather, you can hang items inside or get a clothing rack to avoid the dryer completely.
Turning Off and Unplugging Appliances
- Turn off the lights when you leave a room. This also includes outdoor lights that are often left on overnight.
- Use a power strip to help you remember to unplug electronics when not in use. Many devices still pull energy even when turned off.
Cutting Costs in the Kitchen
- Try to use your electric oven less, especially during the summer months. Instead, grill or cook with other lower energy appliances.
- Hand wash your dishes and save electricity by not running the dishwasher. Even a few loads less per week can save you money.
Energy-Efficient Products to Reduce Your Electric Bill
If you are ready to invest in upgrading your home, there are many energy-efficient products that will help you reduce your energy consumption. Cleaning and regularly maintaining your home greatly impact the long-term energy costs. However, there are also smaller improvements you can make that will also help reduce your electric bill.
- Change incandescent lighting to LED bulbs. Not only are they more energy-efficient, but they also last longer so you will not have to replace them as often.
- Using a smart power strip will ensure you completely turn off all electronics. A smart device will automatically cut power so they are not left in standby or power-saving mode. Even if they appear to turn off, they may still be using electricity.
- Install an energy-smart thermostat. You can program it around your schedule so you are not running the heating or cooling system when the house is empty. It automatically adjusts to set temperatures and makes it easier to control. Some even have apps you can use from your phone.
- Install ceiling fans to circulate air. They are especially useful to cut air conditioning costs on hot summer days.
For those considering more expensive home upgrades, you may qualify for government tax credits and rebates. Although there are significant upfront costs to purchase energy-efficient appliances, these can make it more affordable. Furthermore, it increases the resale value of your home. Whatever your reasons for wanting to reduce energy costs, there are many options to get you there.
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Jenny Smedra is an avid world traveler, ESL teacher, former archaeologist, and freelance writer. Choosing a life abroad had strengthened her commitment to finding ways to bring people together across language and cultural barriers. While most of her time is dedicated to either working with children, she also enjoys good friends, good food, and new adventures.