Learn Simple Tips for Decreasing Your Electricity Bill

Electricity is a vital part of everyday living. It provides power for kitchen appliances, lighting throughout the home, and many different electronic devices. It also powers air conditioners, heating units, central air, and hot water heaters. The more power is consumed, the higher the electric bill becomes. There are many ways to cut back on electric usage, thus cutting back on electric bills. Simple steps can be taken, like turning the heat or cooling down by a few degrees, to lower costs while still being comfortable. There are also various energy efficient products that save money and use less power. Changing all lighting from traditional bulbs to energy efficient lights can effectively lower energy consumption. Performing a home energy audit or having a professional energy auditor assess the home can result in savings for home owners by reducing any energy loss. Even something as simple as cleaning filters and vents can result in savings on the electricity bill. The following are the best hacks for lowering your bill without costing you a lot of money.

Information About Home Energy Audits

A home energy audit, also called a home energy assessment, can be performed by a professional service or a do-it-yourself (DIY) audit may be done by the resident of the home. Performing an audit should be the first step to saving energy in order to determine what home improvements are needed. Most Utility companies will do this for free.

Learn About Professional Energy Assessments

Professional energy assessments tend to go into very detailed examinations of each room inside and the entire exterior of the building. They also use numerous tools and devices that many home owners and renters do not have. Residential home energy audits can be somewhat expensive, but many utility companies or local governments in your state offer subsidized costs for those who qualify.

Learn About Do-It-Yourself Home Energy Audits

Do-It-Yourself (DIY) home energy audits can be conducted by the resident of the home without additional cost, but will require that the resident be diligent about looking for issues. When conducting the energy audit, look for any lighting or appliances that may be consuming too much energy, air leaks, lack of insulation in the building, and heating and cooling systems.

Find Out About Energy Efficient Lighting

Traditional light bulbs use only 10 percent of energy to produce light while the remaining amount is dispensed in the form of heat. Light emitting diodes (LEDs) and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) use 80 percent less energy than traditional bulbs. Using energy efficient lights reduces the amount of heat given off by the bulb, which in turn lowers the cost of cooling the home in warmer months. Choosing energy saver bulbs does cost more at first for the purchase of the bulb, but saves money over time. Most also last far longer than traditional bulbs.

About Thermostat Control

A simple hack for decreasing electricity is to turn down the temperature. If using a programmable thermostat, set the temperature to adjust according to the time of day. When planning to be home, set the thermostat to a comfortable setting. When the household is scheduled to be at school or work, set the temperature on a lower setting. At night, set the temperature back seven to 10 degrees below normal. How significant the savings will depend on how harsh the climate is. When home during extreme winters, reduce heat to 68 degrees Fahrenheit while raising the air conditioning to 78 degrees Fahrenheit in hot summers. For anyone with radiant floor or steam heating, electric resistance heating, or heat pumps, review the manufacturer manual to confirm whether lowering the thermostat is recommended or not.

Learn About Window Treatments

Use window blinds or high reflectivity films on the windows in the summer to block the sun and reduce heat entering the home. In the winter, heavy draperies can help to prevent heat loss through the windows by up to 10 percent. A better option is to install dual shades, which are dark on one side to absorb heat while the other side is reflective to block out heat. Dual shades may easily be reversed according to what season it is.

About Draft Reduction

There are many areas in which drafts find their way into the home, increasing the cost of electrical heating or cooling systems.

  • Tape clear, heavy plastic sheeting to the inside of window frames inside the house to reduce drafts coming in through the windows.
  • Seal air leakages with caulking and weather-stripping wherever there are cut-throughs for plumbing. Other areas that often have gaps are frames around doors and windows, electrical outlets, phone lines, cables, and around dryer vents.
  • Fireplaces are notorious for heat loss. Keep dampers closed when the fireplace is not in use. If the fireplace is used fairly often, install glass doors made from tempered glass and a heat-air exchange system device to blow the heated air back into the room.
  • For larger gaps by the baseboards, windows, and other areas, apply foam sealant.

How to Check the Insulation

With the exception of homes constructed specifically for energy efficiency, most homes can benefit from additional insulation. Any walls, attics, or floors that are adjacent to unheated areas such as the basement or garage, need insulation. Check these areas to find out if there is any insulation and, if there is, what type it is. Different types of insulation give different levels of thermal protection. Mineral wool and fiberglass insulation may be installed by following instructions on the materials whereas others may require a professional installer.