Tips for Lowering Your Electric Bill

Electric bill got you down? Fight back with these energy-saving ideas.

Get an Energy Audit


Many utility companies offer a free home energy audit to customers, and it's well worth taking advantage of. If there's no such program in your area, conduct your own energy audit instead. It'll clue you into areas where you could trim your energy use.

Install Dimmer Switches

Then, only use as much light as you need.

Keep Your Fridge and Freezer Full

Food acts as insulation and lessens the amount of time that the fridge has to run to stay cool.

Install Ceiling Fans

Keep the air circulating in your home, and your air conditioner won't have to work as hard.

Line Dry Your Laundry

Set up a clothesline in your back yard, and let Mother Nature dry your laundry. If this isn't an option, consider hanging clothes on a drying rack or on the shower rod.

Eliminate Phantom Loads

A shocking 75 percent of the energy used by home electronics is consumed when they're turned off. These "phantom" users include: televisions, VCRs, stereos, computers and many kitchen appliances—basically anything that holds a time or other settings. A simple solution? Plug all of these items into power strips; then, get in the habit of turning off the strips between uses.

Install an Attic Fan

It'll pull cool air into your home, and help to remove the hot air.

Shield Your Home From the Sun

Cut down on your air conditioning use by closing curtains and blinds on the sunny side of your home. For even more savings, consider installing tinted window film.

Schedule Yearly HVAC Maintenance

Increase the efficiency of your HVAC system by having it inspected and cleaned once a year. Added bonus: cleaner air in your home.

Change Your Filters Regularly

Keep your HVAC system running at peak efficiency by changing the filter every 30 days.

Switch to LEDs

LED light bulbs use 90 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs. Switch out the most widely used bulbs in your home. Then, replace the rest as they burn out.

Landscape for Shade

Plant trees to shade your home, and your air conditioning won't have to work as hard.

Turn Off Heat Dry on Your Dishwasher

Most of the energy consumed by your dishwasher goes to heating water. Turn off the heat dry feature, and you'll minimize the drain.

Lower the Temperature on Your Hot Water Heater

13 percent of your home's electricity goes to heating water. You can lower this percentage, by setting your hot water heater to 130-140 degrees. For even more savings, install an insulation jacket, and insulate the first six feet of piping that comes off of your heater.

Take Advantage of Off-Peak Rates

Does your town offer cheaper electric rates during off-peak hours? If so, this is a great time to wash laundry, heat water and run the dishwasher.

Upgrade to Energy Star Appliances

If your appliances are 10 years old or older, consider replacing them with new, Energy Star models, which use considerably less energy

Wash Laundry in Cold Water

90 percent of the energy consumed by your washing machine goes to heating water. Turn the dial to cold, and skip the bill.

Only Wash Full Loads

Your washing machine and dishwasher uses a lot of electricity. Minimize the drain by only washing full loads.

Install Low-Flow Shower Heads

Less water flowing through your shower head means less water to heat.

Get a Programmable Thermostat

Then, set it to run less when you're at work and when you're sleeping.

Pile on the Blankets

An extra blanket on your bed in the winter months is often all it takes to push back the thermostat another couple degrees.

Clean Your Dryer Lint Trap

Remove the lint from your dryer trap after each load to maximize your dryer’s efficiency. Then, scrub it down with soapy water and a brush once every couple months to remove any additional lint trapped in the screen.

Use Dryer Balls

Toss Dryer Balls into the dryer with your clothes to speed drying time.

Install a Tankless Hot Water Heater

The next time you need to replace your hot water heater, consider going with a tankless hot water heater (also known as an on-demand hot water heater). They can cut your hot water energy cost by half.

Insulate Behind Electrical Outlets and Switches

Pick up a package of electrical outlet sealers, and place one behind all of the outlets and switches in your home.

Install Storm Doors

Storm doors are a great way to prevent energy loss. Install one on all of your exterior doors.

Clean Your Refrigerator's Coils

When your refrigerator has dirty condenser coils it has to work harder to cool your foods. Perform maintenance on your refrigerator once every three months to optimize its efficiency.

Turn Your Stove and Oven Off Early

Turn the stove or oven off a few minutes before your food is done, and let the built up heat finish the job for you.

Install Motion Sensors

Motion sensors can be installed both inside and outside the home to ensure that lights only come on when they’re needed.

Use Smart Strips

Replace you regular surge protectors with Smart Strip surge protectors, which automatically turn off power to plugs that are not in use. Then, say goodbye to those phantom energy users.

Install a Water Heater Timer

Traditional hot water heaters heat water throughout the day — whether you need it or not. Install a water heater timer, and set yours to run just when you need it. How much will this save? Expect to see a 5-12 percent reduction in your hot water heater's energy costs.

Replace Regular Night Lights With LED

LED night lights cost less than 25 cents a year to run, and are guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Switch to Solar Lights Outdoors

Harness the power of the sun by using solar lights for all of your outdoor needs. They'll absorb the sun's energy during the day, and run for free at night — a real bargain.

Don't Put Uncovered Foods/ Drinks in the Refrigerator

Condensation makes the fridge work harder and costs you more money.

Allow Foods to Cool Before Putting Them in the Refrigerator

Placing hot foods in your fridge will increase the interior temperature, and cause your refrigerator to work harder.

Keep Your Second Refrigerator in the Basement, Not the Garage

The extreme temperatures in your garage — hot in the summer and cold in the winter — will cause your refrigerator to work harder; so if you have a choice, place your second refrigerator (or freezer) in the basement, where the temperature is more constant.

Cook With the Lids On

Foods cook faster with lids on because the heat can't escape.

Don't Preheat the Oven Unless You Have To

For casseroles — and other foods that require long cook times — preheating the oven usually isn't necessary. The exception: meats and other temperature-critical foods.

Use Your Microwave Instead of the Oven

Microwaves use less electricity and don't release as much heat into your home.

Remove Sediment From Your Hot Water Heater

Sediment buildup in your hot water heater can reduce the efficiency of the heating elements. Use the valve on the side of your hot water heater to drain the sediment twice yearly.

Insulate Your Hot Water Heater

Purchase an insulating jacket for your hot water heater to prevent heat loss.

Ensure Your Home Is Properly Insulated

The U.S. Department of Energy has an online tool that can help you determine if you have enough insulation based on the region that you live in.

Install Weatherstripping

Check around your windows and doors for any gaps. Then, purchase and install weatherstripping to fill them in.

Use Insulating Paint

Go high tech, and paint your home (inside and out) with insulated paint. You can now purchase a ceramic additive that turns ordinary paint into insulated paint.

**Statistics based on U.S. Department of Energy findings**

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