Cutting Electricity Used in the Home
Lowering the monthly utility bill is a goal for every homeowner unfortunately for many of us it is not always easy to know what steps to take to lower energy usage. By following these suggestions you can make a smaller electric bill a reality.
Plant Deciduous Trees for Shade in Summer and Sun in Winter – Planting deciduous trees outside east and west facing windows can provide summer shade while letting in the sun once the leaves drop in the fall. Planting trees not only improves the curb appeal of your home, it can add to your home's value while lowering your air conditioning bill up to 35%.
Maintain A/C Unit – Maintaining your a/c unit will extend it's life and allow more efficient operation. Replacing the air filters and furnace filters at least once every three months prevent air flow restriction that can make the a/c unit work harder. By using a programmable thermostat you can reduce your electric bill by $180 per year.
Use Natural Light When Possible – Simple changes like rearranging furniture so that your favorite reading chair is near a sunny window can save on electricity usage. By opening blinds and drapes and letting indirect sunlight in, you can save money by turning off the lights and enjoying free natural light.
Get Rid of Heat Producing Light Bulbs – Replace incandescent bulbs if used more than one hour per day and replace heat producing halogen bulbs with CFL or LED bulbs. CFL and LED bulbs use up to 75% less energy and last 10 times longer while LED bulbs last up to 25 times longer.
Reduce Phantom Energy Use -Contrary to popular belief, modern flat panel TVs with an Energy Star 3.0/4.0 rating use less than 1 watt of energy in standby mode costing about $1 annually. The electronics connected to that flat screen TV are a different matter. The original xbox 360 uses 187 watts while a PlayStation 3 uses 197 watts. A DirecTV DVR uses 33 watts while a Slingbox can use 9 watts continuously. Use power strips for components that use phantom energy and simply turn off when not using. You can purchase equipment that will help you identify which appliances are energy hogs. One such device is called Kill-A-Watt® meter which measures the amount of electricity used and the operating cost of connected appliances.
Lower Electricity Usage in the Kitchen –
- Clean refrigerator coils monthly
- Use Energy Save Dishwasher Cycle or Air Dry and run only with full load to cut electricity use up to 20%
- Preheat oven only when necessary and do not open oven door while cooking
- Use Exhaust Fan to Vent Stove during Summer Months
- Try using a crock-pot once a week instead of your oven.
- Use smaller toaster oven when possible
Turn Up the Thermostat – Perhaps the easiest way to lower your household electric bill is to turn down your thermostat to 68 degrees in the winter and raise it to 78 degrees in the summer. For every three degrees you raise your thermostat in summer months you can save up to 20% on your electric bill. Using ceiling fans allows you to feel cooler while raising the room temperature. Your electric utility and gas provider will be able to provide valuable resources and tools to help you decide how to lower your household energy costs.
What strategies do you use to lower your electric bill?