Now that many of us are at home more often, it’s likely you’ve seen an increase in your electricity bill. By making some simple changes and being aware of habits, you can actually lower your electricity bill each month. Try out the following recommendations to lower your energy consumption and your electricity bill.
1. Get a Home Energy Audit
A great first step in lowering your electricity bill is having an inspector perform an energy audit of your home. They will do a full inspection of your home and look for spots where you’re losing energy, such as areas with air leaks. Air leaks can cause your AC unit to work harder as cool air escapes your home while letting hot air in. The inspector may suggest updating your insulation or replacing some windows as both of these projects will help stop air leaks. Some home inspectors will offer this service for free, so be sure to connect with a pro to find out.
2. Switch to Dimmers & LEDs
You’ve probably heard that switching to LED light bulbs can help lower your electricity bill, which is true. LED bulbs use about 90% less energy than other bulbs. Switching out your light bulbs as they burn out is a great first step, but you can do more. For your next step, connect with an electrician to install dimmer switches in your home. By installing dimmer switches, you’ll only be charged for as much light as you use. In addition to lowering your electricity bill, you now have the option to adjust your lights to fit your mood and budget.
Tip: Keep the lights off in rooms you’re not using. Make it a habit in your household to turn the lights off when you exit a room, this way you won’t accidentally leave your lights on and increase your bill.
3. Load Up the Laundry
You might think that being at home more would result in less laundry because there are fewer outfit changes. For many of us, being at home more has increased how much laundry we do and how frequently. If you find you’re doing more laundry than usual, an easy way to lower your electricity bill is to line dry your laundry. Take advantage of the summer heat and let your clothes dry naturally.
When washing your clothes, make sure you are washing a full load every time. By only washing a couple of items, you’re actually wasting energy. Instead, make sure you have a full load every time you wash. In addition, if you can wash in cold water you’ll also save a good deal of money. This is because heating up the water in your machine actually accounts for 90% of the energy used. By switching to cold and only washing full loads, you’ll see a lower electricity bill.
4. Banish Phantom Energy
Phantom energy isn’t as scary as it sounds but it can be shocking to see how much it costs. Did you know that up to 75% of home electronic energy is consumed when they’re turned off? This means that long after you’ve finished your movie marathon your TV is still consuming energy and costing you money. And it’s not only your TV. Your desktop computer, printer, stereo and microwave can all be sources of phantom energy.
The easiest way to stop paying for energy that you’re not using is to plug these items into a power strip and simply turn the strip off at night. While you may have to reset the clock on your microwave, this will take 2 seconds and the money you’ll be saving is worth it. Try plugging all of your home office or media electronics into a power strip and watch your phantom energy disappear into the night.
5. Shade from the Sun
The hotter your house gets, the harder your AC system will work to cool it down. One way to cut down the amount of heat getting into your home is to actively try and shield your home from the sun. This can be done in a couple of ways. First, make sure you keep your curtains or blinds pulled during the day in rooms where the sun beats down. If having the curtains drawn all day isn’t for you, speak to a pro about installing a tinted window film (similar to those found on car windows). This way you can keep your drapes open and still get light in without heating up your whole home.
Another option is to landscape with shade in mind. If you have a particularly sunny side of the house, think about having some trees planted along that side. This way the trees will help shade your home from the sun keeping your indoor temperature down. Your AC won’t have to work as hard and you’ll save money as a result.
As we all spend more time at home, our routines and habits change. Don’t let yours end up costing you more money. By keeping these tips in mind, adjusting your habits and connecting with pros to help with simple projects, you’ll see savings and ultimately lower your electricity bill.