I can’t remember how many times my parents yelled at me when I was a kid for raising the temperature from 60°F to 70°F during the winter in New England, leaving my bedroom lights on, and making sure that my room was cold during the summer by keeping the air conditioner on throughout the day. My father used to say to me, “Are you trying to heat (or cool depending upon the season) the whole city?!” After getting my first electric bill, now I know why they used to get mad. Electricity can be expensive!
Unfortunately, a lot of children don’t understand the cost of electricity. You can tell them that it costs an average of .15 cents per kilowatt, but they’ll probably just say, “kill what?” and just walk away with a confused look on their face. Good luck trying to get your children in the habit of shutting down everything that they are not using. The earlier you teach them, however, the sooner they will remember to turn off the lights!
Aside from kids, spouses, roommates, or the bogeyman forgetting to shutoff the lights when they leave the room, what are the best ways to save money on your next electric bill? Below are 5 steps that you should take if you want to save money!
1) Replace those older light bulbs with energy efficient ones!
Changing your older light bulbs into $5 energy saving fluorescent light bulbs will save you at least 75% of the energy consumed per older bulb that you replace! The fluorescent bulbs only use 14 watts, but they can dish out the same brightness as an older 60 watt bulb. Easy replacement, easy money saved!
2) Update older appliances with newer, energy efficient models.
Replacing your dishwasher, oven, and refrigerator can save you up to 60% on the energy used by older models. Before you go out and buy out the store, make sure that you do your homework! Double check to see what you’re consuming now, then go online and find energy star certified appliances. Appliances that are energy star certified are 10% more energy efficient than those that aren’t certified.
3) Change your water heater.
If you have an older electric heater unit, somewhere around 20+ years old, it’s time to replace it. My apartment complex was nice enough to give us an energy efficient electric water heater. I can’t imagine how much electricity older models use. My advice is the same advice listed above. Check to see what your water heater is consuming and shop for more energy efficient ones. Expensive? Yes. Will it save you money in the long run? Yes!
4) Weatherize your home! This means that you might have to replace older windows and doors, re-insulate your home, or if you‘re on a budget, then install plastic window covers and door drafts during the colder months.
It’s estimated that older windows and doors (20 years or more. We just weren’t as efficient back then) will suck in cold air, which would increase your heating bill by 25 percent, depending upon how drafty your home is. After I installed my plastic window covers and door drafts, I saw my electricity consumption drop by 20%. I’m not comparing it to money saved due to the fact that some electric companies charge different rates each year. As far as re-insulating your home goes, it is estimated that you can save up to $1,500 per year, and I stress the term up to. If you’re interested in re-insulating your home, please check out Energy.gov to see which options are available to you.
5) Turn off, unplug, and sleep all electronics that you’re not using!
I can’t stress turning this enough, make sure that you turn off or sleep/hibernate your appliances, light switches, TV’s, or your computers! You saw the math. If you leave it on, then it consumes electricity. Everything that’s plugged into a socket still consumes electricity, even if it’s not turned on. It doesn’t consume as much, but electricity still runs through it. Unplugging the power strip, unused appliances, and shutting down the computer at night saved us 10% on our monthly electric bill. That adds up!
Let’s Hear From You!
Do you try to save as much money as you can on your electric bill? What are some ways that you save money on your electric bill? Have you switched companies? Have you tried different heating methods and switched from using electricity to gas? Which method of saving money do you think (or know) works best?
I noticed that some of my family and friends switched from using electricity to gas in order to heat their homes. They all say that they save a lot of money on their electric bill. On the other hand, my parent’s house used oil to heat our home, and I remember how expensive those electric bills were. From my personal experience, we saved at least $15 each month for unplugging the TV and PC, which doesn’t sound like much, but it definitely helps when you’re living on a very tight budget! Also, when our landlord decided to replace some of the older windows with energy efficient ones, as well as re-insulated our apartment, we saw a huge drop in our electric bill.