How to Lower Your Electric Bill

utility meter

Summer is coming and the months of hot temperatures and increasing electricity use are nearly here. The day of writing this, it was almost 90 degrees. It was remarkably early in the season to be in the high 80’s and it has left me wondering just how hot it will get this summer. As a result, I have wondered how much more electricity I will use in the coming months. While I do care about saving the environment, the place where we often see this is the power bill. Finding creative ways to save money on your electricity bill can help you stay in the black on your budget.

  1. Delay Any Use of A/C Units: If you have window A/C units, delay as long as possible to install and/or use them. While it may be painful for the first days of 80 degree weather, it will reduce your energy use. More importantly, it will allow you to truly enjoy the weeks of warmer weather.
  2. Keep A/C Unit at Higher Temperature: After you have started to utilize the cherished A/C unit, force yourself to keep it at a degree or two warmer than usual. The only noticeable difference will be in your energy bill.
  3. Keep Blinds Closed: Make sure to keep your blinds closed during the hottest part of the day. While you may enjoy the view, failing to properly shut out the sun can allow extra heat to permeate your windows.
  4. Enjoy the Outdoors: While it may not be possible everyday, getting outside can help keep your mind off the heat and perhaps expose you to a cooling breeze. The summer activities like taking a walk or hike, going for a bike ride, playing Frisbee are great alternatives to watching TV, a huge energy usage during the winter months.
  5. Unplug Unused Appliances: Another popular tip these days is to unplug appliances that are not being used. The phantom charge can account for up to 10% of your energy bill.
  6. Turn off Computer(s): I am one of the first people to be guilty of this. It is much easier to keep my computer on over night (in sleep mode though) because of the convenience factor. It is much easier to open up the computer and login rather than wait for the computer to boot up. Computers are a big source of energy usage in homes today.
  7. Ensure Windows/Doors are Properly Insulated: Insulation is not just for the winter months. Making sure that seals are functional and windows/doors are up-to-date can go a long ways to preventing cool air to escape.
  8. Eat Cold Food: While I enjoy grilling in the summer, I also make a point to eat some cold food. This serves two purposes. It keeps my body temperature lower and prevents any unnecessary cooking.

Lowering your energy bill in general is all about being aware of the cause of increased energy use and finding creative ways to overcome it. These will help you get started and I am sure you will think of many other tips to help you save money so that you can enjoy the things you really care about.

13 Responses to How to Lower Your Electric Bill

  1. One option in between turning the computer off and letting it go to sleep in Hibernation mode. It saves the active state to your hard drive and turns the computer off. My wife is pretty bad about turning her computer off, too. So I set hers to automatically hibernate after three hours of inactivity.

    • 20sfinances says:

      That’s a great compromise. It’s important to find something that you can commit to – trying something and then giving up a day or two later won’t do any good.

  2. Christa says:

    Great points! I like to wait until the last possible moment to turn on the AC, but the hubby’s last possible moment comes a lot sooner than mine(he’s hot blooded, and I’m cold-blooded). So we compromise and turn it on but at a warmer temp.

    • 20sfinances says:

      I understand that – my wife and I are pretty close to the same. We both try to hold out as long as possible.

  3. With the exception of running central AC in summer, electricity is one of our lowest monthly bills. In winter, it comes to a little over a dollar a day. However, these are great tips to keep in mind.

  4. I definitely try and follow the “blinds closed during the day, windows open at night” rule to help with climate control. Luckily, we live in Washington state and our summer hover around 70 to 80 degrees, so we hardly use our A/C unit. One thing we do as well is to turn off lights and shutting off all electronics when leaving a room.

    • 20sfinances says:

      Ah, yes. I have family in WA. It’s nice in the summer, but I can’t handle the rainy Fall, Winter, Spring. 🙂

  5. Upgrading to a solid state drive will also reduce PC power consumption. Unfortunately, prices are still pretty high, but dropping rapidly. I have my chargers plugged into a power strip. When I’m not charging anything, I power down the strip.

  6. I try to use appliances at low usage times. Our dishwasher has a delay wash function and even if we are ready to go at 5pm, we will put it on delay for 3 hours so that it uses less energy during non prime usage times.

  7. Sid says:

    I too follow the keeping the blinds closed as well as the turn on the A/C at the last possible moment policies. However I do offset not running the A/C by keeping the ceiling fan on during the hottest part of the day. Unfortunately I’ve got skylights in the family room where we spend most of our time. Cool architectural feature to have, not so cool during the Floridian summer months!!!!

  8. It’s hard to get into the habit of turning the computer off. I can tolerate higher temperatures, but unfortunately, my wife likes the house cold. Plus she’s a teacher and will be home through the summer, so I predict a high electric bill for my house this summer.