The mail arrives. The electric bill is right on top. Shove it to the bottom of the stack. Finally, hands shaking, open it, knowing you’ve been negligent. Lock eyeballs with the amount due. Higher than it has ever been. Sure, rates are skyrocketing; everyone is being impacted. But that does not make this easier to swallow.
If you’re facing high utility bills that rival the rent or mortgage payment — or just need to cut costs — these tips can help you get started cutting your electricity bill.
NO. 1: CHANGE AIR FILTERS
The filter(s) on your HVAC (heating ventilation air-conditioning) system should be changed every three months to keep the system in tip-top shape. Set an alarm; mark it on the calendar. I may not be the only homeowner who had to learn this very expensive lesson the hard way.
NO. 2: KEEP VENTS CLEAR
It’s understandable to want to hide vents with furniture to improve the appearance of a room, but it’s crucial to leave enough space around them so that air can circulate properly. Blocking vents can cause your HVAC system to work harder and even break down.
NO. 3: ADJUST THE THERMOSTAT THROUGHOUT THE DAY
Lower the thermostat a bit when you are not at home and at night during the winter. Be mindful not to set the temperature too low while you’re away as it can cause your heating unit to work harder, increasing energy bills and putting stress on the unit.
Invest in a programmable thermostat for your home. Set it to adjust the temperature automatically according to your schedule.
NO. 4: ADJUST WATER HEATER TEMPERATURE
While adjusting your thermostat, consider changing the temperature of your water heater as well. The Department of Energy states that setting a water heater to 140 F is the default, but this can result in annual wasted costs of $36 to $61. It is safe for most households to set the temperature to 120 F instead.
NO. 5: INVEST IN BLACKOUT CURTAINS
An inexpensive way to cut costs is to invest a few bucks in blackout curtains. Found at stores like Walmart and Target, they block light, noise, and temperature fluctuations. In winter, thick curtains can also help retain heat inside the room.
NO. 6: USE ENERGY-SAVING LIGHT BULBS
Switching to energy-efficient LED light bulbs from incandescent, compact fluorescent and halogen bulbs can save you approximately $225 per year on your energy bill.
Although these bulbs may have a higher initial cost, there’s no need to replace all the light bulbs in your home at once. Instead, replace them as they burn out.
NO. 7: CUT DRYER TIME WITH DRYER BALLS
Dryer balls are commonly known for preventing static and wrinkles, which is true, but they also have additional benefits, like significantly reducing drying time by up to 25%, saving you money on utility bills and time on your chores.
NO. 8: USE CAULKING TO CUT ELECTRICITY BILL
Applying caulking around windows and doors can help retain warm air inside during the winter and cool air inside during the summer, according to the Department of Energy. This easy home repair project can be completed in a couple of hours, costing as little as a few dollars.
Caulking can help fix minor air leaks, but if you find that your utility costs are particularly high in the winter and summer, more extensive upgrades such as a new roof or storm windows may be necessary to prevent major air leaks. A home energy audit can help determine your home’s most effective energy-efficient upgrades.