For 2015, the average monthly residential electric bill was $114.03, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). By taking a few steps to be more energy conscious, many homeowners can lower their electric costs significantly:
1. Turn Off Unused Lights: Leaving on lights when you are not home or in a different room can be a costly habit. Break this bad habit by making sure that the lights are off when leaving the house or using a timer to set how long the lights should be on.
2. Hang Dry Clothes: Using a dryer for clothes, blankets and towels can really increase energy usage and cost you more on your monthly electric bill. If possible, purchasing a clothesline or drying rack to hang dry your clothes can help cut down on your electric costs. This tip can also be used when it comes to drying dishes.
3. Close Doors: When heating or cooling your home, make sure the doors are closed. There is no need to heat and cool the outside and with the doors open, heating and cooling systems will continue to run. Also, make sure weather stripping isn’t falling off on doors as any little space can let heat and cold escape from your home.
4. Use Energy Efficient Light bulbs: Replace old incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. This will save you not only on your energy bill but also the cost of constantly replacing light bulbs (compact fluorescent bulbs can last up to 12 times longer than a incandescent bulb).
5. Invest in Shades: The more sunlight that comes through windows, the more the air conditioner runs. Adding blinds or shades to windows will help cut down on sunlight and will give your AC a break.
6. Purchase Energy Efficient Appliances: Getting a hand-me-down dishwasher as a housewarming gift might seem great at the time but can be costly in the long run. Old appliances that are not serviced regularly use a lot of energy. When buying or upgrading appliances, look for the Energy Star symbol which signifies a more efficient and energy saving product.
7. Use Cold Water to Wash Clothing: As noted before, washing and drying clothes uses a lot of energy in a home. Using the cold water setting on the washing machine will still clean your clothes effectively while not needing your water heater.
8. Unplug Unused Appliances: Similar to turning of lights that are not used, this tip can be done very easily. Whether it is an unused toaster, lamp, microwave or even a laptop or phone charger, unplugging these items can save you money monthly.
9. Be an Efficient Energy Chef: When you are cooking something tasty for dinner, you can also be cutting down on your energy costs. If you thaw food before using it in a recipe, use energy efficient cookware such as glass pans and use lids to cook, you will cut down on the amount of heat needed while still making a delicious meal.
10. Keep Up with Routine Maintenance: Schedule appointments to make sure appliances such as fridges and air conditioners are running efficiently and effectively.