How many times have you taken a deep breath before opening your electric bill? When you consider the services that you pay for on a monthly basis, your utility bill is generally the one that fluctuates the most. And when the bill is high, your first thought is how to make it lower in the future (after, of course, getting over the initial shock).
Here are 8 surefire ways that you can consistently keep your bill low on a month-to-month basis.
1. Make Sure You’re Getting the Lowest Rate Possible
Let’s consider other services and goods we pay for on a regular basis. Food. Gasoline. Clothing. TV services like cable or satellite. If you realize you’re probably paying too much for any of these services, your first action is to find comparable yet less expensive services.
The same can be said about energy providers. In just a few minutes you can do a little research and find lower rates. And for most consumers, they don’t even realize that they have the ability to switch energy providers.
Interestingly enough, over half of the population in the U.S. can change their electricity provider. And to date, over 17 million people have successfully done so.
And according to research, 68% of consumers say that they would switch providers if they could find a cheaper rate.
2. Lower That Thermostat While You’re Sleeping
During the eight overnight hours, dial your thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees. At the end of the year you could see an overall savings of about 10% which roughly equates to around $130 for a majority of families.
You should also look into purchasing a smart Wifi thermostat that can sense which rooms are being occupied. There’s nothing worse than heating or cooling rooms in the house that aren’t being used — and it’s a total waste of money.
Having a smart Wifi thermostat can save an additional $130-$150 per year in energy costs.
3. Find Those Energy Hogging Devices or Appliances and Get Rid of Them
Take a look at the appliances in your home. Do you have an older model refrigerator? Or what about your washer and dryer?
For every type of appliance you purchase in the future, make sure it’s EnergyStar compliant. The money you save on electricity over the first 2-3 years with the new appliance would more than make up for the overall purchase cost.
Do you own a top-loading washing machine? Did you know that a front-loader uses 50% less energy and 33% less water? And switching to a natural-gas water heater will lower the electricity costs for the appliance by 50%.
You can find EnergyStar devices ranging from the appliances mentioned above to dishwashers, televisions, cable boxes, DVR systems, audio systems and portable telephones.
4. Turn Off the Lights!
As obvious as this tip may sound, people still continue to do it. But it bears repeating — when you leave a room, turn off the lights.
Sometimes we get too lazy to get up and turn off the lights in another room (admit it, you’ve thought that). In that case, it might be a worthwhile investment to purchase a smart lightbulb that you can turn off with the sound of your voice.
Another option would be to use timers that automatically turn the lights off and on.
5. If You Hardly Use It, Unplug It
Take a walk around your house and look at all the devices that are plugged into outlets. For each of these devices, ask yourself when was the last time you actually used them? For example, in the kitchen is your electric can-opener plugged in? Or in the family room is the DVD player (that you haven’t used in months) plugged in?
These devices are still drawing power and should be unplugged if not used on a regular basis.
6. Take Steps to Ensure Your Home is Well Sealed
Are your windows letting in a draft? Is your fireplace flue totally closed and not letting in cold air? Is there a slight draft coming through your doors?
Look up tips on how to better seal your home to help save on monthly energy costs.
7. Do More Big Chores Less Often
How often do you run the dishwasher? Or do the laundry?
Here’s are a couple of tips. Don’t run the dishwasher until it’s full. And don’t do laundry until you have a full load.
If you’re in the market for a new dishwasher, the most efficient models only use about 33% of the water that you would normally use for hand-washing.
And when doing laundry, try to do it all at once so that you can dry the loads on back-to-back sequences to take advantage of the already heated dryer.
8. Stop Opening and Closing the Fridge All Day
Did you know that the more you open and close your refrigerator, the harder it has to work to keep the food inside cold. So the next time you open the fridge and stare at the contents for 30 seconds, take a moment to realize just how much energy you’re wasting.
If you are serious about lowering your energy bill in the months and years to come, these 8 steps will get you well on your way. Some of the items above may cost you some money initially (like purchasing EnergyStar appliances), but you are guaranteed to save money in the long run.