No matter how much you pay for electricity each month, getting a lower electric bill would make anyone happy. The good news is that it’s a lot simpler than you might have thought. Here are some ways you can reduce your energy costs with minimal effort.
- Knowledge Is Power
The first step in taking control over your energy consumption is determining which items in your home are the most power hungry. One simple way to identify what might be driving up your monthly bill is to plug any electronic device into the Belkin WeMo Insight Plug, and you can then monitor its usage on your smartphone with the app to learn what it’s costing you.
- Run Appliances at Night
One of the easiest ways to save money on electricity, if you are not on a fixed rate plan, is to run your appliances at night. Electricity rates during peak demand hours (typically business hours) are usually higher than off-peak hours (nights and weekends), so running your dish washer, washing machines and dryers during off-peak hours will save you some money.
- Stick to a Schedule
Another effective way to lower off-peak electricity rates is to put suitable electronics or appliances on an outlet timer. You may have used a similar device in the past to set your home’s lighting or watering system on a schedule, but you can use the same strategy to save money within your home.
- Pick a Smart Roof Color
Homeowners who are considering updating the roof should strongly consider giving white and lighter colors a chance. Research has shown that black roofs do indeed attract more sun. “Homes with white roofs tend to have a smaller air conditioning bill – up to 20 percent less than those with black roofs – in the hot, sunny weather” [source: Bob Vila].
- Change Your Filters
In order to perform efficiently, your home’s filters need to be maintained regularly. Not only can a dirt-clogged filter potentially cause damage to a system as a whole, but it also causes the system to work harder to circulate air throughout the house. Changing the filter about once a month will help reduce the energy needed to run your furnace, hence cutting down on your energy bill.
- Wash in Cold Water
The trick to not washing energy dollars down the drain, is to use the cold setting on your washer. To save even more money, line-dry when you can. If you need to machine-dry your clothes, don’t overfill the dryer. If you don’t leave enough space for the hot air to circulate, your laundry will take more time to dry, resulting in a pricier laundry cycle. Make sure you empty the lint drawer before each cycle to keep your dryer operating at its highest efficiency.
- Maintain an Efficient Fridge
For starters, set your temperature to the recommended setting of 37 degrees Fahrenheit for the fridge and 0 degrees Fahrenheit for the freezer. Any colder than that and you’re just wasting power. Your fridge should be about three-quarters full –to allow enough room for the cold air to circulate. If you can, clean the coils on the back of the fridge several times each year – and resist the temptation to store things up top as these items can prevent hot air from escaping and will cause your unit to work overtime.
- Watch Your Wash Cycle
Wash dishes the smarter way: Use short, eco-friendly cycles for all loads, except for the extremely dirty ones, and try to hold off starting a wash until the load is completely full. Make sure to set your dishwasher to air-dry rather than heat-dry to cut the appliance’s electricity use by 15 to 20 percent. If you don’t have the air-dry option built in just simply set the dishwasher to turn off after the final rinse and open the door.
- Install a Solar Water Heater
One of the easiest ways to save on your energy bill is to install your own solar hot water heater. Water heating is the second biggest consumer of home electricity, so it makes sense to invest in installing your own system now. This solar upgrade is designed to supplement your existing electric system, so even in cloudy weather, you can still enjoy a hot shower.
- Get an App
There’s just about an app for everything you can imagine these days. If you don’t have one already, you can install a whole-house energy monitor to control appliances and electronics in and around your home. You’ll get real-time energy usage stats sent right to your phone with an app like Bidgely. You’ll even be able to compare how your energy usage stacks up against your neighbors’ and get tips on reducing energy usage tailored just for you.