Our electric bill is our highest utility bill. In the winter it rises with heating costs and in the summer the air conditioning has it hitting the ceiling too. Here are a few tips on how to save on your electric bill!
Check out all of our frugal posts and learn How to Save on Everything!
Change your light bulbs! This is a quick and easy way to cut your electric bill! CFL light bulbs are not only more energy efficient, but they last about 15 times longer than regular bulbs. You not only save on energy, but you don’t have to buy light bulbs as often! Our household saves over $100 per year just from this switch alone.
We purchase our light bulbs on Amazon (they are usually on sale!).
Install smarter lights. Install solar powered lights outside. You can purchase solar walkway lights, solar lights to put on your porch steps and motion sensored solar lights for porch lights. And lights are just the beginning! There are solar powered address signs, water fountains, and not to mention, just solar panels for your home! The sun is there - and it’s free! Take advantage! :)
(Photo Credit - I thought this was funny!) :)
Your Refrigerator is Running. Your refrigerator is a big part of your electric bill! Twice a year you should clean your refrigerator coils. This will improve the efficiency by 30-50%! You can pick up a coil cleaning brush for cheap! They really help you get into the small spaces! Keeping your coils clean mean your refrigerator runs longer and it eliminates about 70% off repair calls. Cleaning your refrigerator coils is really easy. Pull out the refrigerator and unplug it. Pull off the toe grill and using your coil brush and vacuum get all of the dust and dirt out. When you are done just put the grill back, plug in and push your refrigerator back. Keeping your coils free of dirt means that it has to work less. That means a lower electricity bill (and a longer lasting refrigerator!) Spending 10-15 minutes twice a year can make a big difference! If you have pets that shed a lot you may want to clean your coils every 4 months.
You should keep your freezer full and set 0-5 degrees. Your refrigerator should be set between 35-37 degrees.
Test the seals around your refrigerator once a year. The seals can easily wear out. To test if your seals need to be replaced, close a dollar bill in the door. If you can easily pull it out then it is time to replace the seals.
When you replace your refrigerator make sure it is an Energy Star models. If you are using a refrigerator that was made before 2001 it is using up to 40% more energy than an Energy Star model would! An insufficient refrigerator could cost $250-300 per year so if you are thinking about placing your old refrigerator into the garage or basement you may want to re-think it. You can find out how much a new refrigerator (or getting rid of an old one!) will save you here.
Energy Star appliances can save you up to 30% compared to non-Energy Star appliances. Now, being frugal I don’t replace my appliances just to make the switch, but when the time comes look for the Energy Star seal to help make your decision.
Check your air conditioner. Air conditioners that sit in direct sunlight use 10 percent more electricity. To help keep your air conditioner from having to work harder, plant tall shrubs or shade trees nearby. Make sure that you don’t enclose the area or impede the airflow, but rather just shade your unit. Each year , spend a little time and spring clean your air conditioning unit. Make sure that you clean your unit, change the filter and other regular maintenance checks.
Get rid of the ‘Energy Vampires’. Electronics use energy if they are plugged in and many still use electricity when they are turned off or not. When an electronic sucks electricity while being turned off it’s referred to as an Energy Vampire. DVR’s are estimated to cost American’s 2 million dollars each year, a figure that could easily be reduced by plugging into a power strip and turn them off! Plugging your electronics into a power strip and then turning off the power strip eliminates the power of these Energy Vampires.
There are different kinds of power strips to choose from to help meet your needs. Some can turn off by a remote control, some will automatically turn off and some turn everything off except whatever is plugged into the main plug.
Plugging into power strips could save you around $100 a year.
Replace your filters. Replacing your filters helps protect the life of your furnace and it helps it runs efficiently. You should replace your filter once a month during the heating season (or full year if your filter is used for the A/C as well).
Check to see if your local company offers Smart Metering Programs. Smart Metering Programs vary from company to company but the overall idea is the same. The utility company installs a ‘smart’ meter and if the grid nears its capacity the power company can shut off major appliances in your home for short period of times (for example, turning off a refrigerator for 15 minutes per hour). What do you get? You get compensated! Smart Metering makes sense, especially if you are away from your home during the day. Call your local utility company to see if they offer a smart metering program and what their benefits are. You could save up to 7% off your bill!
And don’t forget a few basic (but important) tips!
- Turn off the lights
- Close the doors behind you (this includes the freezer/refrigerator!)
- Turn off the AC and open the windows
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