25 Ways to Save Money on Your Electric Bills This Winter

Posted by Matt Hermes on Tuesday, October 13th, 2020 at 11:04am.

As much as you wish, electric bills are something that can’t be avoided. During the snapping cold winter months, your electric bill can climb up to insane heights, sometimes blowing your entire month’s budget.

Want to learn how to lower your electric bill sticker shock? We got you! Follow this list of things you can do to help you save money on your electric bill.

25 Ways to Save on Your Electric Bill

1. Use Your Dishwasher

Dishwashers may use electricity, but using one regularly can save more energy, money, and time rather than hand washing. Using a dishwasher instead of hand washing can save you, on average, 5,000 gallons of water and $40 in utility costs each year, not to mention 230 hours of your time.

2. Use a Smarter Bulb

If you haven’t switched your light bulbs to LED lights, now is the time! The US Department of Energy says that LED bulbs use at least 75% less energy (and last 25 times longer) than your regular incandescent lighting.

3. Keep Your Oven Closed

Whenever you’re baking, it’s better to keep the oven door shut and peek at your baked goodies using the light and window. Every time you open your oven door, the internal oven temperature can drop 25 degrees. Then, your oven has to use more electricity to bring the temperature back up.

4. Use Cold Water When Doing Laundry

Next time you go to do a load, consider using cold water instead of hot. Why? Because 90% of the electricity used to wash clothes goes toward heating the water.

5. Switch Out Your Shower Head

Switching to a low-flow showerhead and timing your showers to 10 minutes, not only saves you 5 gallons of water over taking a bath, it also saves up to $145 each year on your electricity bill!

6. Lower the Temperature on Your Water Heater

Not only does heating your water too hot create the danger of burning yourself every time you turn on the water, but it can also cost you cash. According to The Environmental Protection Agency,  a heater set higher than 140 degrees can waste $36 to $61 annually in standby heat losses to keep water at that high temperature, and more than $400 to bring fresh water up to that standard.

7. Change the Filter in Your HVAC System

Waiting a long time to change your filter makes your HVAC system less efficient and costs you more in electricity. If you can afford it, get a reusable filter you can simply wipe off when it gets clogged up with dust and other particles. Using a permanent filter, you’ll save money on your electric bill and prolong the life of your HVAC unit.

8. Get a Programmable Thermostat

“Simply put, install a Nest thermostat,” Nick Anderson, the founder of ProTip, says. “They’re easy to install yourself, and they have some great automated ‘eco’ options to save electricity, saving you money.”

9. Do Chores at Night

If you really want to save money on your electric bill, consider doing your chores after the sun sets. Most utility companies will charge more for energy that’s being used during peak times. Plan to run your dishwasher and washer and dryer when costs are cheaper.

10. Invest in a space heater.

“This year, with more people than ever working from home and using energy, be specific with your heat distribution,” recommends Shaw. “Instead of using your HVAC system to heat an entire home you can use an efficient space heater to just heat your office or workspace.”

11. Clean the Lint Screen

Regularly cleaning your dryer’s lint screen could save you up to $25 a year. In addition, a clogged lint screen or dryer duct reduces the efficiency of your dryer, whether it’s gas or electric!

12. Install Motion Sensors 

Motion sensors are the perfect solution for the places where lights are always left on, like the hallway or the bathroom. They automatically turn lights on and off so you only get light when you need it. Using motion sensors can save you $100 per year.

13. Do an Energy Audit 

Stumped on how you can save on your electric bill? Give your provider a call and ask if they can do an energy audit. They will often conduct a home energy audit, sometimes for free, and can identify additional ways to reduce your energy usage.

14. Check Seals on Windows, Doors and Appliances

One of the best ways to save money on your electric bill is to check the seals on your windows, doors, and other appliances like your fridge and freezer. A bad seal allows energy to seep out, draining your wallet in the process. “Make your home’s air barrier airtight! Using a relatively inexpensive temp gun, you can identify zones and even specific areas where your home may be losing heat in the winter or cool air in the summer,” Shaw says. “Oftentimes, windows and doors are the greatest culprits of costly drafts that keep your HVAC system working extra because of the loss through these areas.”

15. Install Dimmer Switches

Dimming your lights reduces wattage and output, which helps save energy. Some dimmer switches can even be controlled by an app on your phone, making them even better at saving electricity.

16. Use Dryer Balls 

Skip the dryer sheets and opt for wool dryer balls instead. They can be used to decrease drying time for and allow you to skip fabric softener, saving you even more money. Low on funds? An easy fix is to use balls of aluminum foil instead of wool.

17. Turn off unused devices.

“Use surge protectors to make it easy to turn off power to devices you don’t use very often,” Anderson suggests. “Most devices like TV’s and computers use ‘standby power’ when they’re plugged in, but not actually in use. Surge protectors are nice because you can flip the master switch off when you’re not using it, so you’re not wasting money on standby power.”

18. Air Dry Your Clothes

If you live in an area where the sun is constantly shining, consider air drying your clothes instead of throwing them in the dryer. They might take a little longer but the saving costs will be worth it!

19. Unplug Appliances When You Are Not Using Them

Get in the habit of unplugging an appliance instead of just turning it off.  Even items that are turned off pull electricity when they are plugged in!

20. Contact Your Utility Company

If your electric bill seems higher than usual, don’t be afraid to give your utility company a call. There may be some cost-savings programs available to you!

21. Install Ceiling Fans in All Rooms

Ceiling fans will help keep the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter.  Since they use less energy than the furnace or an A/C unit, you’ll be able to see the savings on your bill month after month! Just remember: “If you use ceiling fans in the winter, make sure to reverse the direction,” says Anderson. “In the summer you want to push the cool air down to keep you cool. In the winter, you want to push the air up to displace the warm air that collects at the ceiling.”

22. Get Smart Metering

Time-of-use meters will replace your existing meter and attach to the meter box. Using one will enable you to pay less for electricity when it’s used at certain times of the day. People who switch to a smart meter save up $140 a year!

23. Extra-Insulate Your Home

Insulation is the protection that enables your home to maintain its temperature, both the heat during the cold months and the cool during the summer months. Shaw says this handy window insulation kit does the job well.

24. Consider a Prepaid Electric Bill Plan

One option not often talked about is the possibility of switching from a long-term contract to a prepaid electricity plan with an electric company that gives you the option to pay only for the electricity you use. Over time, you’ll be able to track your electric usage and what causes spikes, which can better help you plan and budget.

(iStock)

As much as you wish, electric bills are something that can’t be avoided. During the snapping cold winter months, your electric bill can climb up to insane heights, sometimes blowing your entire month’s budget.

Want to learn how to lower your electric bill sticker shock? We got you! Follow this list of things you can do to help you save money on your electric bill.

25 Ways to Save on Your Electric Bill

1. Use Your Dishwasher

Dishwashers may use electricity, but using one regularly can save more energy, money, and time rather than hand washing. Using a dishwasher instead of hand washing can save you, on average, 5,000 gallons of water and $40 in utility costs each year, not to mention 230 hours of your time.

2. Use a Smarter Bulb

If you haven’t switched your light bulbs to LED lights, now is the time! The US Department of Energy says that LED bulbs use at least 75% less energy (and last 25 times longer) than your regular incandescent lighting.

Related: Get Your Money Right With These 50 Money Saving Tips From the Experts

3. Keep Your Oven Closed

Whenever you’re baking, it’s better to keep the oven door shut and peek at your baked goodies using the light and window. Every time you open your oven door, the internal oven temperature can drop 25 degrees. Then, your oven has to use more electricity to bring the temperature back up.

4. Use Cold Water When Doing Laundry

Next time you go to do a load, consider using cold water instead of hot. Why? Because 90% of the electricity used to wash clothes goes toward heating the water.

5. Switch Out Your Shower Head

Switching to a low-flow showerhead and timing your showers to 10 minutes, not only saves you 5 gallons of water over taking a bath, it also saves up to $145 each year on your electricity bill!

Related: This Is How Much Binge Watching Adds to Your Electric Bill

6. Lower the Temperature on Your Water Heater

Not only does heating your water too hot create the danger of burning yourself every time you turn on the water, but it can also cost you cash. According to The Environmental Protection Agency,  a heater set higher than 140 degrees can waste $36 to $61 annually in standby heat losses to keep water at that high temperature, and more than $400 to bring fresh water up to that standard.

7. Change the Filter in Your HVAC System

Waiting a long time to change your filter makes your HVAC system less efficient and costs you more in electricity. If you can afford it, get a reusable filter you can simply wipe off when it gets clogged up with dust and other particles. Using a permanent filter, you’ll save money on your electric bill and prolong the life of your HVAC unit.

8. Get a Programmable Thermostat

“Simply put, install a Nest thermostat,” Nick Anderson, the founder of ProTip, says. “They’re easy to install yourself, and they have some great automated ‘eco’ options to save electricity, saving you money.”

Related: How to Save Enough Money to Actually Retire in Your 30s 

9. Do Chores at Night

If you really want to save money on your electric bill, consider doing your chores after the sun sets. Most utility companies will charge more for energy that’s being used during peak times. Plan to run your dishwasher and washer and dryer when costs are cheaper.

10. Invest in a space heater.

“This year, with more people than ever working from home and using energy, be specific with your heat distribution,” recommends Shaw. “Instead of using your HVAC system to heat an entire home you can use an efficient space heater to just heat your office or workspace.”

11. Clean the Lint Screen

Regularly cleaning your dryer’s lint screen could save you up to $25 a year. In addition, a clogged lint screen or dryer duct reduces the efficiency of your dryer, whether it’s gas or electric!

12. Install Motion Sensors 

Motion sensors are the perfect solution for the places where lights are always left on, like the hallway or the bathroom. They automatically turn lights on and off so you only get light when you need it. Using motion sensors can save you $100 per year.

13. Do an Energy Audit 

Stumped on how you can save on your electric bill? Give your provider a call and ask if they can do an energy audit. They will often conduct a home energy audit, sometimes for free, and can identify additional ways to reduce your energy usage.

14. Check Seals on Windows, Doors and Appliances

One of the best ways to save money on your electric bill is to check the seals on your windows, doors, and other appliances like your fridge and freezer. A bad seal allows energy to seep out, draining your wallet in the process. “Make your home’s air barrier airtight! Using a relatively inexpensive temp gun, you can identify zones and even specific areas where your home may be losing heat in the winter or cool air in the summer,” Shaw says. “Oftentimes, windows and doors are the greatest culprits of costly drafts that keep your HVAC system working extra because of the loss through these areas.”

15. Install Dimmer Switches

Dimming your lights reduces wattage and output, which helps save energy. Some dimmer switches can even be controlled by an app on your phone, making them even better at saving electricity.

Related: 125 Ways to Earn Extra Money (Yes, Even During Quarantine)

16. Use Dryer Balls 

Skip the dryer sheets and opt for wool dryer balls instead. They can be used to decrease drying time for and allow you to skip fabric softener, saving you even more money. Low on funds? An easy fix is to use balls of aluminum foil instead of wool.

17. Turn off unused devices.

“Use surge protectors to make it easy to turn off power to devices you don’t use very often,” Anderson suggests. “Most devices like TV’s and computers use ‘standby power’ when they’re plugged in, but not actually in use. Surge protectors are nice because you can flip the master switch off when you’re not using it, so you’re not wasting money on standby power.”

18. Air Dry Your Clothes

If you live in an area where the sun is constantly shining, consider air drying your clothes instead of throwing them in the dryer. They might take a little longer but the saving costs will be worth it!

19. Unplug Appliances When You Are Not Using Them

Get in the habit of unplugging an appliance instead of just turning it off.  Even items that are turned off pull electricity when they are plugged in!

20. Contact Your Utility Company

If your electric bill seems higher than usual, don’t be afraid to give your utility company a call. There may be some cost-savings programs available to you!

21. Install Ceiling Fans in All Rooms

Ceiling fans will help keep the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter.  Since they use less energy than the furnace or an A/C unit, you’ll be able to see the savings on your bill month after month! Just remember: “If you use ceiling fans in the winter, make sure to reverse the direction,” says Anderson. “In the summer you want to push the cool air down to keep you cool. In the winter, you want to push the air up to displace the warm air that collects at the ceiling.”

Related: Want to Be More Financially Savvy This Year? Here are 100 of the Best Budget Tips for 2020

22. Get Smart Metering

Time-of-use meters will replace your existing meter and attach to the meter box. Using one will enable you to pay less for electricity when it’s used at certain times of the day. People who switch to a smart meter save up $140 a year!

23. Extra-Insulate Your Home

Insulation is the protection that enables your home to maintain its temperature, both the heat during the cold months and the cool during the summer months. Shaw says this handy window insulation kit does the job well.

24. Consider a Prepaid Electric Bill Plan

One option not often talked about is the possibility of switching from a long-term contract to a prepaid electricity plan with an electric company that gives you the option to pay only for the electricity you use. Over time, you’ll be able to track your electric usage and what causes spikes, which can better help you plan and budget.

25. Install Timers on Fans

If you have electric ceiling fans, use timers to control them so they will run for a pre-set time to air out the room and then automatically turn off.

And while following just one of these cost-saving tips can help, Shaw says you’ll save the most money on your electric bills this winter if you do them all. “Combine these suggestions for maximum results!” he says.

The reason? “Making your home’s air barrier airtight will maximize the efficiency of your Nest thermostat, which commands less activity from your HVAC system as your home will sustain desired temperature for longer periods of time. Mix in the space heater as well to control how much space you actually need heated and also reduce the mileage, you’re putting on your HVAC system—giving it a longer system service life!”

Article courtesy of Parade.com

 

Matt H.

Hermes Realty Group

Keller Williams Realty

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