Ten Tips to Help Lower Your Electric Bill

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Saving money doesn’t just mean using coupons. Reducing your household expenses should also include saving money on your utility bills. Making small changes in the way you use electricity in your home will help you to save money on your electric bill every month.

Try these tips and you will see a significant change in your electric bill on a yearly basis.

Turn the lights off: The most basic and often overlooked tip is to turn off lights you are not using. If you are not in a room, shut the lights off. If you are watching television, do you need every light on in the room? Probably not. Shutting off unused lights will help to minimize wasting hundreds of watts of power every day.Teach children to shut off the lights when they leave a room and it will soon become a habit that helps the family save money.

Live warmer — or cooler: Learn to live a little warmer in the summer and cooler in the winter. In the summer, keep your thermostat at 78 degrees F or higher so that your air conditioner will not turn on as often. During the winter, keep your thermostat lower and wear more layers. For every degree you lower the temperature in the winter, you can save as much as 3% of your energy costs over the course of 24 hours.

In the summer, be sure to clean your AC filter monthly.

Change the way you use lighting inside and outside of your home: Task lighting is preferable to general room lighting whenever possible. Use motion sensors on your outdoor lights so they are only on when needed. It is nice to have a well-lit room but it is not necessary to have every light in the house on at all times and it will help to save money on your electric bill every month.

Unplug lamps that are not in frequent use: Many people have decorative lamps in their home that are not used on a regular basis. Just plug them in when you need them because they use energy even when they light is turned off.

Unplug other household electronics: While you’re unplugging unused lamps, check for electronics that do not get daily use and unplug them, too. A television in a guest room, a radio you rarely turn on and even your cell phone charger that has no phone in it all day are often overlooked and sucking up the juice that you pay for.

Choose the right lightbulbs: Changing from standard incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL) MAY have multiple savings benefits. Although these bulbs cost more than standard bulbs, they MAY last up to thirteen times longer. (I’m not a pro –but my bulbs have lasted as much as a year while standards go out much faster in my home. Learn more here on energystar.gov about the efficiency of CFL bulbs)

Warning: Please read here on EPA.gov about the risks that broken CFLs bulbs pose.

Be smart when using electric appliances: Use your electrical appliances less. Make sure you do full loads in your washer and dryer. Air dry your clothing for even more savings. Cook or at least pre-cook in the microwave instead of with an electric oven. There is no reason to leave a coffee maker or toaster plugged in when they are not in use. Unplug them after each use.

Keep the refrigerator door closed: Keep your refrigerator door closed as much as possible, clean the coils regularly and keep the temperature at the most energy efficient level. You may not think the door is open often, but if you have children that love to gaze into the fridge when they are hungry, that’s an energy waster. (A see-through fridge would work in my house!)

Buy a programmable thermostat: Your home thermostat does not need to be at the same temperature all of the time. A programmable house thermostat is a great way to lower your electric bill. You can save as much as $100 per year if you use a programmable thermostat. This can help keep your home cool or warm when you are home instead of all day when you are not there.

Tip: You may qualify for a Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) grant. Find out more about this government program here.

Buy energy star appliances: Buy products marked with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Energy Star rating. These appliances, such as air conditioners and refrigerators, are made in accordance to the strict energy saving standards of the EPA and the US Department of Energy.

Follow these steps and you will begin to see savings on your electric bill every month.

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