Electricity prices are constantly rising, and finding ways to lower your electric bill can save you an impressive amount of money in the long run. In this article, we’ll talk about a few ways you can lower your bill through behavior changes, energy-efficient products, and larger home upgrades.
Key takeaways: how to lower your bill
- You can save on your electric bills by upgrading your home, choosing energy-efficient appliances, and even changing your daily habits
- To get started saving, invest in an energy audit to understand your current electricity costs
- Going solar can lead to the biggest electric bill savings in the long run – visit the EnergySage Marketplace to get started
Lowering your electric bill: three main tips
If we had to categorize the best ways to lower your electric bill, they would be home upgrades, buying energy-efficient products and appliances, and changing your daily behaviors.
The best way to hone in on which changes you should make is to perform an energy audit. Whether you do it yourself or have a professional come in, taking stock of your energy situation will help you find the highest impact changes to make. Luckily, many utilities, nonprofits, and governmental organizations offer free or reduced-cost energy audits. Make sure to contact your utility company to see if they have an energy audit program – for example, National Grid offers a no-cost home energy assessment that you can even do virtually!
Tip #1: Home upgrades
If you’re looking for a larger, long-term way to meaningfully reduce your electric bills, it might be time for a home upgrade of sorts. Here are a few to consider prioritizing:
Install a programmable thermostat
Programmable thermostats connect to your heating and cooling system in ways traditional thermostats aren’t able to. Perhaps most importantly, they can intelligently increase or decrease the temperature in your home to save you money. For example, you can program a smart thermostat to raise or lower the temperature of your home throughout the day to avoid using electricity when you don’t need to. You might want to turn the heat down at night in the winter automatically, or set your air conditioning to only start running once you get home from work in the summer.
Re-seal your windows and doors
Especially if you live in an older building, faulty seals on windows and doors can lead to a lot of unnecessary electricity use. The better the seal, the more effectively your home will stay at the temperature you set your thermostat to, and the less you’ll have to pay to run your heating and cooling system.
Insulate your home and air ducts
Similar to sealing your windows and doors, it’s a good idea to check the insulation on your entire home. Insulation is the protective layer in the walls of your home that helps maintain a constant temperature inside – warm during the winter, and cool during the summer. The more effective your insulation, the lower your electricity bills will be.
One less common area to focus on when checking insulation is your ductwork. Ducts are the pipes that move warm or cool air throughout your home from your air conditioning and heating units. The better insulated those pipes are, the less energy you’ll need to heat up or cool down your home.
Bonus: keep it clean!
While not technically a home upgrade, it’s worth your time to clean specific parts of your home. A few examples:
- Clean your refrigerator coils. Refrigerators use lots of electricity, and you’ll want those coils to perform as efficiently as possible.
- Replace the air filter in your heating and cooling system regularly. This helps keep the system running smoothly and reduces the work it needs to do to push air through your home.
- Clean off your windows in the winter. When it’s cold out, you can rely on the sun for some natural heat. Just make sure your windows are nice and clean so as much warmth can get in as possible.
Tip #2: Buy energy-efficient products
These days, there are all sorts of energy-efficient devices and products out there to help you use electricity more carefully and save money. Here are some easy ones to start out with:
LED light bulbs
Did you know that light bulbs made with LEDs use 75 percent less energy than traditional bulbs, and also last longer? Don’t go throwing away any incandescent light bulbs that are still usable, but an easy upgrade to make to your home is to replace incandescent bulbs with LED ones when the old ones go out. You’ll save money on electricity in the long run, plus you won’t have to replace the bulbs as often down the line.
Smart power strips
Smart (or advanced) power strips can automatically detect when appliances plugged into them are being used, and when they’re not, the strip can shut off power to some or all outlets on it. This reduces “vampire loads” (also known as “phantom loads”), which is when electronics or appliances that are turned off still use a trickle of electricity that they don’t actually need.
Energy Star appliances
For a bigger change, look into replacing your electric appliances with certified Energy Star appliances. Energy Star appliances are government-certified products that meet certain energy efficiency standards that average appliances don’t. As with anything else on this list that gets plugged in, the lower the electricity demand of those appliances, the less money you’ll spend on your bill.
Tip #3: Change your daily behaviors
There are even ways you can reduce your electric bill by simply changing some of your habits. Forget spending extra money on upgraded appliances, insulation, or a cleaning service – here are some easy actions you can take right now to lower your electricity bill:
Dress for the occasion
This one might sound obvious, but it works! One way to rely less on your heating and cooling system is to simply dress for the weather. In the winter, throw on a sweater and don’t set the heat as high. In the summer, wear shorts and a t-shirt around the house and set the thermostat a few ticks higher than you usually would. Over time, you’ll save money and still be comfortable in your house.
Use less water
There are a few ways to strategically reduce your water usage around the home, which will save you money on water heating costs (which can be gas-powered or electric). Taking shorter showers is an obvious example, but did you know that dishwashers actually use about nine times less water than hand washing your dishes?
Use appliances strategically
You can also take steps to use the existing appliances you own (Energy Star certified or not) more strategically. For example, if you dry loads of laundry back to back, the dryer doesn’t need as much electricity to warm up the second time, because there will still be heat leftover from the first load. And to our point about dishwashers above, you can also make sure to fill the dishwasher completely when you do run it.
The bottom line: you’ve got options
At the end of the day, there are plenty of ways you can reduce your electricity usage, and in turn, cut your electric bills and save money. Want to do even more? Going solar is one of the most effective ways to reduce or eliminate your electric bill, and you should make sure you are getting several quotes from reputable installers before you decide to move forward. Visit the EnergySage Marketplace to get quotes from installers in your area and begin comparing options.