Knowledge Is Power
If you're really serious, then your first step is to determine which of the items you own are the most power hungry. Air conditioners are notorious energy hogs, but what else in your home might be driving up the monthly bill? There's more than way to do this detective work, but here's an easy approach: Plug any electronic device into the Belkin WeMo Insight Switch, and you can then monitor its usage via smartphone app to learn what it's costing you.
Run Appliances at Night
One of the easiest ways to save money on electricity is to run your appliances at night. Because everyone's awake and using their stuff during daytime hours, utility companies tend to charge more during these peak times. Rates are usually significantly lower during off-peak hours. Check with your utility company to find out your local peak and off-peak rates.
Stick to a Schedule
One effective way to capitalize on lower off-peak electricity rates is to put suitable electronics or appliances on a simple $10 outlet timer like this one. You may have used a similar gizmo in the past to put your home's lighting on a schedule, perhaps before leaving on vacation. Consider this strategy just another way that an outlet timer can keep you from getting robbed!
Think About Your Roof Color
Homeowners who are considering updating the roof should give white and lighter colors a good, long thought. Research has shown that black roofs do indeed attract more sun. Homes with white roofs tend to have a smaller air conditioning bill—up to 20 percent less than those with black roofs—in the hot, sunny weather.
Change Your Filters
In order to perform efficiently, your home’s furnace needs regular maintenance. Not only can a dirt-clogged filter potentially cause damage to the system as a whole, but it also causes the furnace to work harder to pump air throughout the house. Changing the filter about once a month will help reduce the amount of energy needed to run the furnace, hence cutting down your energy bill.
Wash in Cold Water
Don't wash your energy dollars down the drain! To save money, wash clothes on the cold setting and line-dry when you can. If you do need to machine-dry your clothes, don't overfill. If you don't leave enough space for the hot air to circulate, your laundry will dry more slowly, resulting in a pricier laundry cycle.
Maintain an Efficient Fridge
Keep your energy usage low by running your fridge at maximum efficiency. For starters, set your temperature to the recommended setting of 37°F for the fridge and 0°F for the freezer—any colder and you're just wasting power. Your fridge should be about three-quarters full—it takes less power to keep a full fridge cold, but you need to allow enough room for air to circulate. Clean the coils on the back of the fridge several times each year—and resist the temptation to store things up top as these items can prevent hot air from escaping and cause your unit to work overtime.
Watch Your Wash Cycle
Wash dishes the smarter way: Use short, eco-friendly cycles for all but the very dirtiest loads, and try to hold off starting until the load is full. Then, when the wash cycle is finished, set the appliance to air-dry rather than heat-dry—this easy move can cut the appliance's electricity use by 15 to 50 percent. Don't have the option built in? Simply turn off the dishwasher after the final rinse and open the door.
Without proper insulation, all the money you spend heating and cooling your home could escape through windows, doors, or the roof. Time spent weatherstripping and insulating is well spent!
Install a Solar Water Heater
One of the easiest ways to save on your bills is to install your own solar hot water heater. Water heating is the second biggest consumer of home electricity, so it makes sense to install the system now. You can complete this project for as little as $300 to $2,000, depending on materials, if you do the job yourself. This solar upgrade is designed to supplement your existing electric system, so even in cloudy weather, you can still enjoy a hot shower.
Related: Solar Hot Water
Get an App
Need more personalized recommendations? Consider an app like Bidgely. Once you install a whole-house energy monitor, you'll get real-time energy usage stats sent right to your phone. You'll even be able to compare how your energy usage stacks up against your neighbors' and get tips on reducing energy usage tailored just for you.
Sign up today to get crucial reminders and good-to-know tips for maintaining and improving your home!