How-Tuesday: How to Save Money on Your Electric Bill
You’ve likely heard these energy-saving tips before, and it might be hard to believe that they can save you hundreds of dollars a year, but it’s true. Think of it like fixing a gas leak or a slow tire leak in your car – sure, you don’t have to do anything about it, but dedicating a little time and attention now means big savings in the long-run. Plus, you’ll also save on potential future damages and prevent dangerous situations.
Consider these tips for keeping a healthy, energy-saving home. Your electric bill will thank you!
In the Kitchen
- Cook with smaller appliances when you can. A toaster oven doesn’t take nearly as much time or energy to heat up and provides the same results.
- If you’re living alone, get an apartment-size refrigerator instead of a large one. You’ll still have more than enough room and cut energy costs.
- Your refrigerator is most energy-efficient when it’s not completely full, and your freezer when it’s totally packed! Also, try to keep it away from sources of heat, like vents and ovens so it’s not working overtime to stay cool.
- Make sure the seals on your refrigerator and oven are in good shape so they’re not silently leaking away dollars.
- Turn off the oven or stove top a few minutes before your food is finished, the leftover heat will be sufficient for finishing the job – so long as you don’t keep opening the oven door. Seriously, STOP PEEKING, it will bake the same way whether you’re watching or not. Promise.
- Run the dishwasher at night to save on peak energy costs. And only run it when it’s totally full.
- It’s okay to use cold water when washing dishes and running the garbage disposal (actually, it’s better at removing grease and fat) as long as you’re using soap. Plus, doing so saves energy since the water doesn’t have to heat.
- If you have a choice, select gas appliances, which use less energy.
In the Laundry Room
- For certain lifestyles, it may cost you less to make a trip to the laundromat than owning your own washer and dryer. Consider where the nearest one is, their prices, and how often you do laundry to make that decision.
- Run your washer and dryer at night to save on peak energy costs. Doing this will also help warm your home in the colder months and keep it cool during the hot months.
- Adjust the load level accordingly. You don’t need an “Extra Large Load” setting for a pair of jean’s and two day’s worth of socks. And try to do full loads as often as possible.
- Use the cold setting on everything but towels, undergarments, and kitchen rags – which harbor harder to kill bacteria and require a hot wash.
- Make sure your dryer vent is clean so it’s working efficiently (this also lessens the risk of a potential fire), and don’t over-dry clothes.
- Clean the lint filter after every load.
- Line dry what you can. Have a makeshift clothesline in your place that you can easily string up when needed, or invest in a drying rack. Get rid of the crunchy feeling that comes with line drying by tossing them in the dryer for five minutes with a damp rag after they’ve fully dried on the line.
In Sleeping + Living Quarters
- Invest in a humidifier – this isn’t only great for your health, but you can also find hot humidifiers and cold, so that you can benefit from warming or cooling your room without adjusting the A/C or heat like crazy.
- Get an electric blanket, which takes much less energy to warm up than your entire apartment, so you can turn the heater down.
- Close vents and shut doors in rooms you never venture into, and seal off attic, basement, and exterior doors as well as drafty windows with a draft stopper (or improvise with a sheet/towel) to avoid heating or cooling these rooms when it’s not necessary.
- Use energy-efficient light bulbs. They may cost a tad more from the get-go, but they last way longer and they’re better for the environment. Win, win.
- Make use of natural lighting. See what opening your blinds and pulling back your curtains can do before investing in a ton of unnecessary electric lighting. Take some time to figure out where you’d actually benefit most from a light fixture before buying one for every nook and cranny.
- Turn off your lights when you’re not in the room.
- Keep your heater and air conditioner turned off when you can. This is especially doable in the late Spring, on those cozy Summer days, and in the early Fall. Open the windows and take advantage of the breeze and warmth Nature has to offer.
- If you decide to get a small, room air-conditioner (or heater), get an energy-efficient one in the right size. You wouldn’t get a size XXL if you’re a size Medium… it’s a waste of fabric. Instead, consider the amount of square footage you need to cool off and buy an appropriate unit. Just because you get one with more BTUs doesn’t mean it will work any better for a small space.
- Unplug and turn it off. Our lives kind of revolve around things that are plugged into outlets. TVs, game systems, DVD players, phone chargers, computers, printers, coffee makers, hair dryers, battery chargers… need we go on? But if we’re not using them and they’re still plugged in or turned on, they’re sucking a lot of energy – sometimes even more than when they’re actually on and in use! Make it easier by investing in power strips so you can take care of multiple appliances at once – turn off the power strip connected to five different things attached and unplug it from the wall. Even if you don’t do this on a daily basis, do so when you leave for a weekend or a vacation.
Doing just one of these things probably won’t save you gobs of money on your next electric bill. You’ll have to incorporate a lot of them into your lifestyle, and it might be a little difficult at first. But the payoff in savings – and in knowing that you’re doing your part for the environment – are totally worth it. Think long-term, readers!