7 Ways to Save on Your Electric Bill

by Team eLocal
external electrical meter

With so many things increasing in price these days, the trip to the mailbox on the day your electric bill arrives can be a scary one.

It might not seem like leaving on a light here or there adds much, but it can make a big difference on your utility bill. Learn how to save on an electric bill with these methods.

How to Save Money on Your Electric Bill

Figuring out how to save money on an electric bill really just comes down to using less electricity, but you can accomplish that in many ways. Using appliances and electronics less often does the trick. Another option is making your house more efficient to reduce your heating and cooling costs.

Try the following tips to decrease your energy consumption, and thus, your bill.

1. Seal Up the Gaps

If your home is full of gaps and cracks leading outside, your heated and cooled air can escape easily, and the heat or cold from outside can come in. Your HVAC system will run a lot longer to keep your home comfortable in this situation. Poke around windows, doors and any things that enter your home, such as pipes or wires, to check for gaps that need to be sealed. Your foundation is also a common source of cracks.

2. Bulk Up on Insulation

Another way you can give your HVAC system a break is by increasing insulation. Insulation holds the heated or cooled air inside your home and creates a barrier against the outdoor air that is too hot or cold, depending on the season. Adding insulation to walls and in your attic can offer energy-saving benefits.

3. Maintain Your Heating and Cooling Systems

Regular HVAC maintenance helps your climate systems run optimally, which reduces the demand for energy. Clogged air filters can put more strain on your system, making it work harder to heat or cool, which uses up more energy. Even if your HVAC system is gas-powered, it likely uses electricity for some functions, such as lighting the pilot light and pushing air through your home. In addition to changing or cleaning your filter regularly, you also need to schedule yearly inspections with an HVAC professional.

4. Use More Natural Light

Keep your lights off during the day as much as possible when deciding how to save money on an electric bill. Clean your windows and open your window coverings to let in as much natural light as possible. Position your desk or reading chair near a window to give you lots of light for tasks that require lots of illumination. When you need supplemental lighting, use only the lights necessary — like lamps instead of overhead lights — and turn them off when you’re done.

5. Improve Energy Efficiency

If you're on a limited budget, replace incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient LEDs or CFLs. If you have a bigger budget, replace older appliances that are inefficient. Energy Star-rated appliances typically offer the highest efficiency for the greatest savings. Many utility companies offer rebates for these updates, so save your receipts and check on these options.

6. Time Your Activities

Appliances consume a lot of energy, so plan your household activities accordingly. Many utility companies have peak and off-peak hours for electricity, with peak hours having higher rates. Contact your electric company to determine the off-peak hours, and run things like your washer, dryer and dishwasher during those times. Waiting until you have full loads of dishes or laundry also helps since you don't need to run your appliances as often.

To help your HVAC system out, consider when you run heat-generating appliances. Dryers and ovens heat up your home significantly while you use them. In the summer, avoid using them during the hottest parts of the day, as they can increase your AC usage. Cook outside on your grill or stick to cool foods like salads on the hottest days. In the winter, using those appliances during the day can help heat up your home and reduce your furnace usage.

7. Watch Hot Water Use

If you have an electric water heater, make adjustments to reduce its electricity consumption. Lowering the temperature setting can save on electricity. Use cooler water for washing laundry. Shortening your showers can also help. Tankless water heaters typically use less energy than traditional tank water heaters, so installing a new tankless water heater can also cut your electric bills.

It All Adds Up

Every action you take to reduce your electricity usage helps. Stacking multiple energy-saving methods maximizes your savings. Evaluate your current electricity usage, habits with items that use electricity and home condition.

Some utility companies offer free energy audits, which can help you identify improvement opportunities. Make simple changes first and determine which bigger changes you want to invest in over time. Monitoring your electric bill helps you see how your efforts are helping.