Electricity is essential to modern life, but it can also be costly for many households. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that the average monthly electricity bill for residential customers in the United States went up from $121 a month in 2021 to $137 a month in 2022, a 13 percent increase in one year. If you want to lower your electric bill and save money, here are some suggestions you can follow:
Install Energy Efficient Lighting
One of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce your electricity consumption is to switch to LED bulbs, which use up to 80 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs and last up to 25 times longer. LED bulbs also produce less heat, which can help you save on cooling costs in the summer. You can also install dimmer switches, which allow you to adjust the brightness of your lights and use only as much light as you need.
Adjust the Thermostat
Heating and cooling are some of the biggest culprits behind high electric bills, so adjusting your thermostat can make a big difference. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat at 78 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer and 68 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter when you are home, and lowering or raising it by 7 to 10 degrees when you are away or sleeping. Doing it this way can save you about 10 percent on your energy bills per year. You can also use a programmable or smart thermostat that automatically adjusts the temperature to your schedule and preferences.
Wash Clothes with Cold Water
Another simple way to save energy is to wash clothes with cold water instead of hot water. According to Energy Star, about 90 percent of a washing machine’s energy use is in heating the water. By washing your clothes with cold water, you can reduce your washing machine’s energy consumption by up to 50 percent and save money on your water heating bill. You can also line-dry your laundry or use a drying rack instead of a dryer, which is also an electricity guzzler.
Switch Off Appliances on the Wall
Many devices and appliances continue to draw power even when they are turned off or in standby mode. This is called phantom or vampire energy, and it can add up to a significant amount of wasted electricity over time. To avoid this, turn off appliances and devices on the wall when they are not in use, or use smart power strips that automatically cut off power when they detect no activity.
Close Doors and Curtains
Another simple tip to lower your electricity bill is to close doors and curtains when you are heating or cooling your home. This can help prevent heat loss or gain through windows and doors and create zones in your home that are easier to maintain at a comfortable temperature. You can also use curtains, blinds, shades, or window films to block out sunlight and reduce heat gain in the summer.
Insulate Your Home
One of the best ways to improve the energy efficiency of your home is to insulate it properly. Insulation can help keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer by reducing heat transfer between the inside and outside of your home. Check attics, walls, floors, basements and crawlspaces for gaps or leaks that allow air to escape or enter the home, and seal them with caulk or sealant tape. Also, add insulation materials such as fiberglass, cellulose, foam board or spray foam in areas that need more thermal resistance.
Get Energy Monitoring
If you want to know how much electricity you are using and where you can save more, get an energy monitor or smart meter. These devices can measure your electricity consumption in real time and give you detailed information about how much each device uses and how much it costs. You can also access this data online or on your smartphone and get personalized tips and feedback on how to reduce your energy usage.
By making some simple changes in your habits and home improvements, you can turn your home into a green oasis, lower your environmental impact, and enjoy a more comfortable and efficient living space.