8 Ways to Save Money on Your Electric Bill

Man changing the temperature in his home.

You've heard the old adage "time is money," right? While that's true, we'd argue that that phrase should be expanded to say, "time and energy are money." Especially right now with the rising costs of electricity in the United States.

While you can't do anything about the rising costs of electricity overall, there are a few steps you can take to lower your own electricity bill. Even something seemingly small like switching lightbulbs can add up to big savings you'll notice when the monthly power bill comes.

Get started on lowering that bill and keeping a little extra money in your pocket by integrating these 8 energy-saving tips and tricks into your house or apartment.

Get Energy-Efficient Appliances

Your appliances are one of the main culprits of high-power bills in your home. The older your appliance, the more energy it will use. When it's time to purchase a new fridge, dishwasher, or water heater, be sure to check that it has an ENERGY STAR rating, which means the appliance meets government standards for energy efficiency.  

Other than assessing the age of your appliances, another way to learn which appliance is using the most energy is to have a professional energy audit run in your house to see how much power each appliance is using. If there is one that is extremely inefficient, it may be time to consider replacing it with one that uses far less power. Your auditor should be able to pinpoint which appliances need to be replaced.

In addition, your energy assessor will be able to point out other ways to make your home more energy efficient other than replacing appliances.  

Install a Smart Thermostat to Save Power 

No one wants to come home to an uncomfortable house. Too hot, too cold – we've all been there. But to have the house be the right temperature all the time often means leaving the heat or air on for long stretches at a time – even when we are not home. This is a waste of money. The costs to heat and cool your residence when you are gone adds up considerably.

One way to save money on your heating and air conditioning bills is to install a smart thermostat. These are thermostats that can be controlled with a smart device. That means you can turn your temperature up or down from an app on your phone right before you're ready to return home or right after you leave.
It can also learn your habits (like when you're home or not) and learn to program itself to the temperatures you have preset in order to be more energy efficient.

If you do not have a smart thermostat, you can still save on energy costs by turning down the temperature a little in the winter or up in the summer when you are not around. The Department of Energy recommends a setting of 68 degrees in the winter when you are awake and lower when you're asleep. In the summer, keep your house warmer, setting it to 78 degrees when you're away. 

Check Your Refrigerator Temperature

Many people keep their refrigerator much colder than necessary. Even a couple of degrees difference could add hundreds of dollars to your power bill every year since your refrigerator is one of your biggest costs of energy each month.

The correct temperature for keeping your food fresh is between 35-38 degrees Fahrenheit. However, many refrigerators are pre-programmed several degrees lower right out of the box. All you need to do is turn it up a couple degrees to save money and keep your food fresh.

Use Electricity During Off-Peak Hours

Did you know nighttime is the best time to save money on your power bills? That's because the electric company raises the price during the day when everyone is trying to use power. Using electricity at non-peak times can be considerably less costly. Tasks you can consider doing at night include laundry, charging your phones and other devices, showering, drying your hair, and watching TV.

Check Your Windows

This step may require some investment, but your windows are one of the biggest culprits of energy usage in your home. Especially in the winter, warm air escapes from your windows, causing you to use much more electricity to heat your house. 

To help your windows be more efficient, check the area around them for any gaps or cracks that could cause heat to escape. Consider caulking around these gaps to seal any air leaks. 

You can also install plastic to seal your windows in the winter. When it comes time to replace your windows, remember that while this is an expensive update, new windows also increase the value of your property and lower your electricity bills. 

Change Your Bulbs to Lower Electric Costs

Incandescent lightbulbs are old-school. They drain power in an unnecessary way. LED lightbulbs are the way to go when you want to save money. They use only about a quarter of the power that incandescent bulbs do and last about 90% longer. Check all the lightbulbs in your home today and replace them with LED bulbs to begin saving money immediately. 

Take Care of Your HVAC System 

Your HVAC system is one of the biggest sources of electricity inefficiency in your house. The problem happens when your filters and ducts become clogged and dirty. This will force your HVAC system to have to work much harder to heat and cool your residence. Inefficiency could lead to expensive power bills. 

The first thing is to make sure that you perform all scheduled maintenance on your HVAC system. Also, make sure to regularly change your air filters as dirty filters will increase the work and energy load on your unit. Finally, you should clean the ducts every once in a while, as dirty ducts force the HVAC system to have to power through debris and dust to push air into your home, which, in turn, requires extra power.

Have a Green Home

Plants inside of your house and trees on your property can cut your electric bills by up to 20%. Trees create shade that keeps your property naturally cooler during the winter. This means that you would need less electricity for air conditioning. When the leaves fall during the winter, you would then get sunlight in your home, lowering your power usage for heating. Even having a portion of your house tree-covered can save you noticeable amounts of money.

Plants inside of your home also save electricity. For example, when you have plants by the window, they help take in sunlight, keeping your house cooler. Plants keep heat out of your home in the summer and reduce the amount of dust in the air, lowering your electric bill. 

While the fact is you'll always need electricity to power your home, you can take steps to reduce the amount of power that you use, thus saving you money in the long run. Energy bills are an area where you can and should feel empowered to make necessary changes to help your budget.