Do you cringe when you see your electric bill every month? Start using some of my tips below and see if you can save a little. Every penny counts!
Check with your local electric company and ask if they offer a discount for using less electricity during peak service times. You may be able to find this information online or possibly on the literature that comes with your electric bill. It’s a little known fact that power companies generate roughly the same amount of electricity 24 hours a day. If the demand for electricity is unusually high at a particular time of the day, they may not have enough to meet that demand and will need to purchase the necessary power from a secondary source. When they do, that additional cost is passed on to you, the consumer.
Not all companies offer the discount, but it is worth it to check with your provider. Peak demand is normally during business hours and when air conditioners are running – generally mid-afternoon to early evening. If you can take advantage of the discount, you can reduce your monthly electric bill considerably if you adjust your schedule so as to bathe, do laundry and perform other tasks that require electricity during early morning or late evening hours when the demand on energy is not as severe.
On the flip side, if the excess electricity produced during non-peak hours is not utilized, it is wasted, as there is no efficient way to store electricity. Even if your electric provider doesn’t offer a discount, you will be helping the environment by effectively using the bulk of your electricity during non-peak hours.
Here are a few other time-honored tips:
Flip the Switch
Turn off lights when you leave the room – an old standby, but it counts!
Get Out of Hot Water
If you’re going to be gone for a day or more, turn off your water heater. There is no sense wasting electricity to keep the water hot when no one will be home to use it.
Wash Day Blues
Use cold water for laundry instead of hot for another major savings.
Install a clothesline or use drying racks instead of your clothes dryer. You can always put them in for a quick tumble to help soften and reduce wrinkles.
Make sure to clean your lint filter after every load so that air can flow freely. This will also lessen wear and tear on your clothes dryer.
Make the Switch
Fluorescent bulbs may be more expensive initially, but because they are more energy efficient, they cost much less to operate and last a lot longer than conventional light bulbs. They also don’t give off any heat, so your house will remain cooler in summer.
Take a Nap
Your computer, that is! When you’re not going to be using it for a while, put it in ‘sleep’ mode. Some have a timer, but if it still shows a screen saver, you are still using electricity. Put it to bed.
If you are using a window air conditioner, make sure to clean your filter regularly, and close off rooms that you’re not using.
Using a ceiling fan will cut A/C use considerably (make sure the blades are turning the right way!). Use fans when you’re home and turn the air conditioner down a few degrees. You probably won’t notice the difference.
Turn off the A/C when you’re gone for more than an hour or two or use a timer. Leaving fans on when you’re not home will keep the air circulating, but won’t cool the house, so turn them off when you leave too.
Keep curtains closed to help block afternoon sun.
The Heat is On
But does it need to be?
Turn down the thermostat when you go to bed. If you’re accustomed to 68-70 degrees during the day, set it to 55-60 overnight. Most people sleep more comfortably at a cooler temperature anyway.
Use rugs on bare floors and wear a sweatshirt and socks or slippers. Snuggle on the couch with your spouse or kids under an afghan to watch TV.
Open the blinds to let the sun in, but keep heavy curtains closed to help insulate when it’s not shining.
I challenge you to try some of these tricks and see how much you can save. Look at previous electric bills and see the kwh used per month (I was able to view my past bills online). Keep track of what you’re using now and let me know how you did!