Let’s face facts: right now, the US economy is struggling to make a come back and people are turning to whatever resources they have available to save money. There are no magic tricks, wishes or spells that will help you cut the costs of your bills but with some educated decisions you can reduce them. And today we’re talking about an extremely important expense and how to reduce it, mainly how to reduce your electric bill, both during the winter, as well as the hot summer days.
The tips I have to offer are not a one size fits all but they worked for me as well as other family members and it’s all reduced to managing your finances smartly. As well as adapting your needs and expectations.
Since winter is fast approaching, we’re all getting ready to start cranking up our furnaces or getting the fireplace lit. And although I won’t tell anybody to brave the cold weather to save money (since there’s the risk of spending a lot more on hospital bills), I do have some tips and tricks for reducing your electrical bill. So let’s start with that:
How to reduce your energy bill during cold weather
Fireplaces are great resources to generate heat and those that are caged in are even better as you can leave them lit throughout the night. If you live out in the woods, you have the option of cutting your own firewood. Most people prefer to cut their firewood several months before winter hits as it allows the wood to dry out and they have enough supply to keep them going through winter.
Proper insulation is a must for any dwelling. Poor insulation can literally costs you thousands. Good insulation allows you to keep the heat in and the cold out and vice versa during the hotter months. If your furnace or fireplace is putting out heat, but your home never seems to maintain it, this can be a bad sign of poor or improper insulation.
Window Winter Film is a great and cheap alternative and simple solution for some quick insulation fixes. It often comes in a kit that contains double sided tape and a large sheet of translucent specialized film. You basically outline the border of your windows with the double sided tape, then attach the plastic. From there you use a common blow dryer to create a seal around the window which prevents cold air from leaking in. These are available online or at any local home retailer.
Placing these on a good amount of windows in the house not only lets you trap heat but gives you an idea of which windows are leaking air the most.
Towels or blankets placed at the threshold of a main door can offer a great buffer from offending cold air. This is usually more effective with wooden floors or doors that have a high cut bottom. It can be a minor inconvenience but make a great alternative for trapping warm in a room.
But there are other methods as well, which are not directly related to energy consumption. For example, you can keep yourself warm by wearing layers of clothes. As you do more physical tasks in the house, you will get warmer and you will be able to remove one or more of the layers, then add more as needed.
Also, trying to get used to lower temperatures helps. One, two degrees less in the room won’t matter that much in terms of personal comfort, but they could mean a lot in terms of energy consumption.
How to reduce your energy bill during hot weather
Proper insulation for warm weather is just as important as it is for cold weather. With the right kind of insulation, your home will properly keep the cold air inside and the heat outside.
Floor fans make for an OK alternative to air conditioning. I especially like floor fans as they allow for a larger amount of air flow throughout the rooms. If you are not at home or not in the same room as the fans it is best to turn them off or set them to the lowest setting. Fans can circulate air but actually have very little air cooling effects such as an air conditioner.
Keep all windows and shades drawn during the day time especially on bright sunny days. Doing this prevents the suns rays from entering into your house and does not give it the ability to heat it up as much as it would if it was exposed. Draping blankets or sheets over windows also offers you a few more degrees of relief.
Open windows at nighttime when it’s cooler. During the night, you can let fresh air in without having to worry about the temperature rising in your house.
Air-conditioning units are great but can be costly if constantly ran. I have had my share of very expensive bills so I know the pain. I found it best to try the above methods first and then run my air conditioning unit at certain intervals throughout the day. If you must have the unit running all the time, many experts believe it’s best to set the thermostat between 70-76 degrees. I normally ran my A/C on 65 degrees but was able to cut my bill in half just by switching to 72 degrees the next month.
Now that I have touched on some methods that may help you save when dealing with temperatures lets talk about saving some more money in other areas:
Unplugging electronic devices that are not in use has actually been shown to reduce energy consumption within a household. Take a look around your house and look at the items that are plugged in but not on. How many of those have little lights glowing on them right now? Walk over to your wall socket that has a power brick plugged into it, my guess is it’s warm to the touch right? It takes power to power those little LED lights and displays and if you have enough electronic gadgetry plugged in it adds up. Not a lot, but it does add up!
Electric washer and dryers can also be a money source that could be costing. Try to plan out your laundry loads so your not overloading your machines. If the washer is overloaded it will not properly clean your items and will have to be rewashed. Overloading the dyer results in uneven drying of the clothes or requiring more than once cycle. Also make sure to empty the vent of your dryer after every use and occasionally check the exit ducts for any buildup or blockage. Blockage in a dryer duct can prevent drying but is also a very serious safety risk as it can result in a fire.
Even more, during most warmer days, you can even line dry your clothes! This is a common practice in many countries in Europe and throughout the globe. Just imagine how much money you’d save energy-wise from simply letting your clothes dry naturally in the sun!
If you have a water heater try and conserve what items you use throughout the week and never run all water usage items at the same time such as a dishwasher the washer and shower or bath. This not only taxes the water heater but it requires a large amount of energy to run all these at the same time. You can conserve water heater usage by taking showers instead of baths and washing your dishes by hand instead of using the dishwasher.
So these would be my tips and tricks for lowering your electric bill throughout the year. Do you have other tips and tricks to keep costs low? Let us know by commenting below!