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Have you ever looked at your electric bill and had a mini heart attack? Wondered, how in the world are you going to pay it? Frantically looking online for “How to Save Money on Your Electric Bill?“
Families around the world, now more than ever, are looking for ways to save money in every aspect of their lives.
If the recent pandemic taught us anything about money, it’s that very few jobs are recession proof and can be gone in an instant, emergency funds are a must-have, and living below your means is essential.
So, if you want to save for your first emergency fund, start to pay off your debt, save for larger items, or just work less, you’ll need to decrease some expenses. And one of the biggest utility bills to tackle is your electricity bill.
In this massive article, I will be sharing with you over 60 ways to save money on your electric bill. Some are very simple to do and easy to implement, others take time and effort to see results, and yet others are investments that pay off in the long run.
I suggest starting with a few tips to master, then come back to implement more tips.
How to Save Money on Your Electric Bill
Heating and Cooling
Install a Programmable Thermostat
Having a programmable thermostat like Nest, makes controlling the temperature easier for you since it is automatic. In AZ, a decent setting would be 69 degrees in the winter and 75 degrees in the summer. Keeping your temperature regulated will lower your energy bill.
Avoid Large Changes to your AC or Heat
If you leave your home and turn your AC off in the summer, then return home to a scorching home, your instinct would be to crank up the AC. Don’t do this!!
You want to avoid large changes in temperature to avoid overworking your AC in the summer or Heater in the winter. So instead of turning your HVAC off when you leave, just turn it down a few degrees instead.
In the Summer, Set Thermostat to as High as You Can Tolerate
We live in AZ so this is hard because we use so much AC. It gets really hot here and so I understand keeping our homes cool.
If you can, keep your AC as high as you can tolerate.
My husband has a tendency to crank up the AC to 68 degrees in the summer sometimes, which is not ideal. I would keep it at 75 degrees if I had my way. We settled on 72-73 degrees.
In the Winter, Set the Thermostat to as Low as You Can Tolerate
In AZ we don’t have really cold winters compared to other parts of the country so turning on the heat when it’s 50 degrees outside is the norm.
Try to keep your heat as low as you can tolerate to lower your electric bill.
Ideally, if you can keep your temp at 68-69 degrees, that would be optimal. I am always freezing so I admit that this is hard for me so we have settled on 70-71 degrees. Sure we could save more money, but we don’t want to deprive ourselves of all comfort.
Bottom line: don’t overwork your HVAC.
Change Your Filters Regularly
This needs to be done on a regular basis. At the very least, you’ll need to replace these every 3 months.
When your filters are clogged with lint and dust particles, your HVAC has to work harder to overcome the airflow through them.
By having clean air filters you can expect to reduce your energy bill by up to 15%. You don’t have to get the fancy ones either, we buy these ones.
Don’t Cover Vents with Your Furniture
If you have vents on the floor, don’t place your furniture over them. It reduces the ability of the vent to cool or heat your home, which then makes your heating and cooling system to work harder.
So if you have furniture covering your vents, consider rearranging the room to let the air flow.
Install Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans can help move and circulate the air in the room, making it feel cooler. This allows you to turn down the AC a few degrees.
The breeze felt from ceiling fans helps cool your body, not the room, so make sure to turn them off when you leave the room.
Flip the Switch on Your Ceiling Fans
In the winter, flip the switch to allow your ceiling fan to turn the opposite direction. By turning clockwise, it creates an updraft which can move the hot air around without creating the breeze effect.
Fix the Drafts
Do you feel cold or hot breezes of air every now and then when you walk by a room or entry way? That’s a draft. That shouldn’t happen.
Maintain the HVAC Unit
If you notice dirt, leaves, or other debris on or in your unit, you’ll need to clean it in order for it to work efficiently. Open the hatch and take a vacuum to the unit and vacuum all around to make sure all debris is out.
If you feel more comfortable hiring a professional to do this, please do.
Add More Insulation
When the insulation in your home is poor, your HVAC system has to work harder to heat and cool. A poorly insulated home cannot retain heat or cooled air.
Consider adding more insulation in your home. You can visit Energy.gov to see where insulation can be added and how to get started. Please seek out a professional to do this.
Lower Your Water Heater Temperature
Lowering your water heater temperature to 120 degrees can significantly reduce your energy usage and save you money on your electricity bill. You’ll hardly notice the difference.
Install a Water Heater Timer
By installing a water heater timer to turn off when you go to bed and on just before you wake up, and off when you leave, you can save energy by not having your water operating 24/7. In this article, water heater timers are explained in detail.
Basically, we only use hot water about 3 hours of the day. It only takes about 30 minutes to heat a tank of water and the water will stay heated for about 3-6 hours.
You can reduce your energy bill and save over $200 per year on your energy bill by installing a timer.
Insulate the Water Heater Tank
Insulating your water heater tank is a simple solution that can help keep the heated water hot and reduce the amount of energy lost within the tank.
In freezing temperatures, adding a water heater blanket like this one can prevent damages caused from cold temperatures.
Insulate the Water Heater Pipes
In addition to insulating the water heater tank, you can insulate the pipes as well to ensure no heat is lost. This will also protect the pipes from bursting.
Use the Vacation Mode When on Vacation
When you will be gone for a weekend or several days at a time, it is a good idea to place your water heater in “vacation” mode. This keeps your temperature at about 50 degrees Fahrenheit, keeping your water flowing and preventing pipes from freezing.
If you will be gone during the summer, you can go ahead and just turn off the water heater since there is no chance of freezing temperatures in the summer, especially in AZ.
If you will be gone in the winter months or live in cold atmospheres, please don’t turn off the water heater. That could result in bursting pipes and damage to your water heater.
Repair Leaky Faucets
Not only do leaky faucets waste water, it also wastes electricity. If your leaky faucet is leaking hot water, that means that your hot water heater was working to heat that water for nothing.
In addition, chances are that your water is being pumped to your house which uses electricity and if you don’t use that water, it was for nothing.
Install or Replace Faucet Aerators
Faucet aerators control how the water comes out of the kitchen sink. By switching out the old rusty aerator for an eco-friendly aerator like this one, you can use less water in the same amount of time.
Instead of water coming out quickly for a simple task (like rinsing fruits and vegetables), the rain option on the aerator is perfect for rinsing since less water will be used.
Use High-Efficiency Toilets
High efficiency toilets use less water to dispose of waste. By using less water, you use less electricity by pumping less water to your home.
Use Efficient Shower Heads
Investing in energy efficient shower heads will allow you to use less water. More effectively, it will allow you to use less hot water. The less hot water you use, the less your water heater will have to work, the more money you save.
Increase Your Refrigerator and Freezer Temp
Many people keep their refrigerators colder than they really need to be. Are you seeing icicles on your lettuces? Yeah, too high. Drop it down a degree or two.
Same goes for your freezer, drop it down if you can. The recommended temperatures for your fridge is 40 degrees Fahrenheit and your freezer at 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
Don’t Put Hot Food in the Fridge
Putting hot food in the fridge will force your fridge to work more in order to bring down the temperature. It is best to let your food cool down to room temp before placing in the fridge.
Make Sure Your Fridge Closes Properly
Have you heard of the dollar bill test?
Place the dollar bill between the door opening and the seal (the rubber). Close the door on the dollar bill. Pull on the dollar bill. If you meet resistance in order to pull it out, then you’ve got a good seal.
If the dollar bill falls out, the seal needs to be replaced.
Replacing a seal is something you can do yourself. Don’t go buying a new fridge if you don’t need to.
Clean Refrigerator Coils
If your refrigerator coils are covered in dust and lint, then your fridge is working way too hard.
That layer of dust is acting like a blanket to those coils and your fridge will need to overcome that heat.
So take the time to clean those coils at least every year. Here is how you can clean the coils yourself!
Thaw Your Food Before Cooking
Cooking frozen food takes longer and uses more energy, especially on the stove or oven. Take the time to naturally thaw your food before cooking. It will use less energy thus helping you save money on your electricity bill.
Cook with Lids On
When you cook with the lid off, you lose heat, which can result in it taking longer to cook, using more energy. Cook with lids on to help conserve the heat.
Cook Outside of Peak Hours
Take a look at your electric company website and see when the peak hours are. If you can cook outside of those peak hours, then cook at that time.
Sometimes, we make dinner early since our peak hours are a few hours in the morning and a few hours in the evening.
Cook in Bulk
Cooking in bulk using a pressure cooker like the Instant Pot or slow cooker can help save you money on your electric bill.
First, the pressure cooker or slow cooker uses less energy to cook than an oven or stove.
Second, by cooking a large batch of soup, beans, casserole, or chicken you can freeze it for later, reducing cooking time in the future.
Avoid Using the Broiler
The broiler works by increasing the temperature really high really fast. You can imagine how much energy this uses to get your oven this hot. Try to avoid using the broiler and use a grill or regular oven instead.
Use the Dishwasher Instead of Handwashing
You actually use more water by handwashing than you do by using the dishwasher. By using less water, you can reduce your energy bill.
Run the Dishwasher Outside of Peak Hours
When appliances are used during the peak hours, the charges are usually higher since the demand is higher. More people are using electricity at the same time.
If you can, run your dishwasher outside of peak hours.
In my town, peak hours are 6-9am and 6-9pm. So if you have a 9-5 job, run your dishwasher right before you go to bed after 9pm. If you are a stay-at-home-mom, then you can run the dishwasher between 9am-6pm.
Run a Full Load of Dishes
Each time you run your dishwasher, it uses energy. Don’t waste a cycle by just washing a few items. Wait until you have a full load to run it.
Obviously, you don’t want to overfill it either or else your dishes won’t get clean.
Try to Avoid Using the Dry Heat Setting on Dishwasher
The dry heat option puts more demand on your water heater. The harder your water heater has to work, the more energy it uses, the higher your bill. Instead, towel dry your dishes once they are done or let them air dry.
Unplug all Appliances that Are Not in Use
Unplug that coffee maker, the toaster, the blender. Unplugging your devices can really make an impact if you commit to the practice.
I did a case study back in 2018 and found that I was able to save $11/mo simply by unplugging. But when I received my new budget billing assessment, my payment went from $174 to $139 which equals a savings of $420 for that year.
The following assessment 4 months later went down further to $105. Here’s how I was able to save over $420 by unplugging my devices.
Switch to Energy Star Appliances if Possible
If it is time to purchase a new device, make every possible effort to purchase one with the Energy Efficient Star.
These devices are made to use less energy in order to do the same job. If you make the investment now, it will pay off in the long run.
Use LED Light Bulbs
It’s no secret thatLED lights are energy efficient. Everyone always tells you to make the switch. But how much can switching to an LED really save you? This post really breaks it down by comparing LED, CFL, and Incandescent bulbs. You’ll see the savings over 2, 5, 10, and 40 years of use.
Use Natural Light
Natural light allows you to save energy by not turning on the lights. In the summer, especially in AZ, it’s best to keep the window coverings closed though so the sunlight doesn’t warm your home. But in the winter, open those bad boys up!
Turn Off All Lights Not in Use
If you aren’t in the room, the light needs to be off. Period. Get in the habit of turning off all the lights not in use. This is a super easy habit to implement, it could be fun to get your kids in on it too.
Install Dimmer Switches
Dimmer switches are a really good purchase to make if you don’t need much light in a certain room or at a certain time. Perhaps you just need a small light in the living room at night to see where you are going but a full light is too much.
Install a dimmer switch to control the amount of light you need. It will save money on your electricity.
Install Solar Panels
Solar energy is becoming increasingly popular for those who want to decrease their energy bills, reduce their carbon footprint, and go green.
The investment can be costly up front but the benefits are worth it in the long run. Once your solar power panels are paid off, your energy costs will be slashed dramatically.
Close Window Shades/Curtains in the Summer
Sunlight that comes through the windows and glass doors in the summer can heat your home making your AC work harder to keep cool. In the summer, consider using window shades or purchasing curtains to keep the heat out.
Open Window Shades/Curtains in the Winter
Contrary to the above recommendation, you’ll want to open the window shades or curtains in the winter. This allows the sunlight to warm your home, allowing you to run your heater at a lower temperature.
Clean Windows in the Winter
Make sure that your windows are clean and free of oils and residue. This can reflect the sunlight and prevent the heat from entering your home. In the winter, you’ll want to be able to take advantage of free energy like the sun.
Seal Any Leaks
This is super important. If there is a draft or leak in your windows, your energy usage can increase upwards of 10%.
When you do your spring cleaning is a good time to clean your windows to inspect them for damages and imperfections that may lead to lost energy efficiency.
Invest in Shade Screens
In the summer, the shade screen (indoor or outdoor) can help prevent the sun’s rays from entering your home and heating your home when it doesn’t need to be heated.
It can also protect your windows over long term as well increasing your window longevity.
Replace Windows When Needed
Check on your windows to make sure they are doing their job correctly.
They should be easy to slide up and down or open, they should not have condensation that turns into frost, they should not have moisture between the panels, they should have intact frames with no leaks, and they should not have thermal damage inside the panels.
If any of the above is not true, you’ll need to remedy the issue by either replacing the window or fixing the damage.
Upgrade Your Single-Pane Windows
Single-pane windows are not energy efficient at all. If you can afford it, switch to double-pane or even triple-pane. You can start a sinking fund now to pay for this in the future. Get a quote and start saving so that you won’t have to put in on a credit card.
Wash Your Clothes in Cold Water
To save money on your electric bill, cold water washes are your go to. Many detergents are becoming cold water efficient, meaning they can combat stains in the cold water setting.
The only reason you would use hot water is if you absolutely need to disinfect. For everything else, cold water is just fine.
Wash and Dry Your Clothes Outside of Peak Hours
Similar to above, peak hours charge you more since the demand is higher.
Try to wash and dry during off peak hours, this is usually when everyone has gone to bed.
Don’t just forget the wet clothes in the wash overnight. I may have done that a time or two.
Run Full Loads of Laundry
The less you run your washer and dryer, the less energy you will use. That turns into savings for you and dollars in your pocket.
Now, you don’t want to overload your washer or dryer either, that would negate the savings and will damage your washer and dryer.
Follow the manufacturers guidelines on what a full load is.
Line or Air Dry Your Laundry
If you have the space, consider line drying or air drying your clothes. We purchased this line dryer to install outdoors for our cloth diapers and ended up using it for our towels as well.
If you are short on space, consider purchasing one of these clothes drying racks.
Invest in Wool Dryer Balls
Wool dryer balls are placed in your dryer with the wet clothes to help separate the clothes which allows for increased airflow. The heat can then dry more effectively reducing dry time.
They also absorb some of the wetness which further reduces the time it takes to dry time. Less drying allows you to save money on our electricity bill.
Keep Your Dryer’s Exhaust Ducts Clean
Keep up with the maintenance of your dryer. Clean out the ducts regularly. Not only can it allow your dryer to work optimally, it’s a safety hazard if it’s clogged.
It’s very easy to do yourself! Here’s a video on how to get it done.
Another note: always empty out your lint trapper after each use.
Unplug All Devices Not in Use
Vampire Energy or Phantom Power are terms to describe energy being used from a device that is not on but still plugged in.
The biggest energy vampires are Cable boxes, Microwaves, TV sets, Routers, Gaming Consoles, and PCs/Laptops that remain plugged in.
In an example above, I mention a case study that I performed over time to determine if unplugging was really effective.
In short, I was able to save over $420 per year by doing this one thing.
Use Smart Power Strips
Smart power strips are super convenient so that you don’t have to move furniture constantly to unplug the TV, router, cable box, ect.
Smart power strips work by turning the power source completely off to that specific device that is not demanding power.
When you leave the home, turn off the power strip and you’ll be able to turn off all the devices on the strip with one touch.
Use Manual Tools Instead of Powered Tools
Anything you don’t need to plug into an outlet will save you energy. Will a manual saw work as opposed to an electrical saw? Do you need a leaf blower or a rake?
You pay for convenience. If you are willing to put in some effort and manual labor, you can save a few bucks.
Plant Shade Trees
Shade trees will prevent the sun from shining directly in your home. This is helpful in the summer.
Shade trees can also cool the backyard depending on how many you have and how big they are. Ever feel the coolness of shade on a hot day?
Use Solar Lighting
Do you have lighting outdoors? Perhaps you have lighting at the entrance or near the garage doors. Or maybe you have some decorative lighting.
Consider using outdoor solar lighting. This is a great way to save money on your electric bill.
Create a Compost for Gardening
Compost is a great fertilizer and retains moisture well. As a result, you’ll use less water which then reduces your energy costs.
Save the Rain
You can purchase rain buckets to save the rain water to use for outdoor water use such as gardening or driveway washing.
Recycling water is also a great way to save money on your electric bill.
Use Reflective Roofing Materials
If you want to take it a step further, your roof can play a big role in reducing your energy bill. If your roofing is not energy efficient, consider placing reflective material.
Substituting your existing shingles with Cool Roofing can help reduce energy costs.
Painting your metal roof white can also help reflect the sun’s rays.
I understand that painting your roof may not be an option if you have an HOA that prohibits it so it’s not always feasible.
If you want to save money on your electric bill, start implementing some of these tactics today. Again, some are easy to do, others require time and effort, and others are investments that pay off in the long run.
But every single one of these tactics will help you save money on your electric bill.
If you want to learn more ways to save money, check out these posts: