Do you suffer from sticker shock when you see your monthly electric bill? No matter what your financial situation, paying bills is about as much fun as a root canal. Read on for simple ways to lower your electric bill.
▪ Close the curtains. Close curtains on the sunny side of your house during the day. Conversely, if the weather is cold but the day is sunny, leave them open.
▪ Don’t forget annual heating and A/C maintenance. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heating and cooling your home uses more energy than any other system, typically making up 54 percent of your electric bill. Ensure your systems are running at their highest efficiency by getting annual cleanings and checkups. Also, be sure to change out your air filters.
▪ Consider unplugging. You might think your appliances aren’t using energy when they’re turned off, but this isn’t always the case. To avoid using what’s called vampire power, unplug devices when not in use. If the outlets aren’t easily accessible, plug devices into a power strip that you can switch off and on when needed.
▪ Upgrade outdated appliances. If your systems are old, consider updating to more energy efficient products. The energy savings and tax rebates available prove the investment’s worth.
▪ Change your light bulbs. Switching to compact fluorescent or light-emitting diode bulbs provides drastic energy savings. In fact, LED bulbs are 80 percent more efficient than incandescent lighting, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
▪ Program your thermostat. Set your thermostat at a comfortable temperature in the winter and summer, but program it to raise and lower the temperature when you’re away from your home or sleeping to save on heating and cooling costs.
▪ Keep your HVAC unit clear of debris. Shrubbery, branches or debris on or near the system can hinder its overall performance. However, an awning or tree over the unit provides shade, which cuts energy consumption.
▪ Plant a tree. Not only are you helping save the planet, but the shade can provide relief on cooling costs.
▪ Check for air leaks. Make sure no air is getting through the weatherstripping around the windows or doors. Seal any areas where you find leaks.
▪ Turn down the heat. Lower your water heater base temperature to 120 degrees. Wash your clothes in cold or warm water when possible, and only wash when you have a full load. Turn off the heat dry option on your dishwasher.
Consult a highly rated, licensed electrician if you have questions about reducing your electric bill. You may also want to consider an energy efficiency home audit to see if additional home maintenance might be needed to save on future energy bills.
Stephanie Figy is a reporter at www.angieslist.com, a provider of local consumer reviews and an online marketplace of services.