While you may notice inflation more often at the grocery store, it often hits hardest in your utility bill. The cost of electricity has risen dramatically for many people across the country. If you recently experienced some sticker shock with your electric bill, there’s a good chance that you’re asking yourself how to lower your home electric bill. Good news on that front. You can do many things to help drag that bill back down to a more reasonable level. Keep reading for some key tips and tactics.
One of the easiest things you can do to lower your bill is to change your lighting. While most homes have moved on from the highly inefficient incandescent light bulbs, compact fluorescent light bulbs or CFLs are still pretty common. While CFLs are a big step away from incandescent bulbs, they’re still much less efficient than LED bulbs. Your average LED lasts three times as long and is almost twice as energy efficient.
You can take things a step further and install dimmer switches to reduce your lighting energy consumption even more. You can also look into smart light bulbs, which give you almost granular control over your lighting level.
Lower the Temperature
Many modern water heaters are purely electric, and electric heating is still pretty common in many apartment buildings. You can save yourself a lot over the course of a year by lowering the temperature in your home even a few degrees. You can take things to the next level with a programmable or smart thermostat.
Your water heater probably came preset at 140 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s much hotter than most homes need and can even scald your skin. The Department of Energy recommends keeping the temperature at around 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This reduces the energy you use to heat water and your bill.
Most dishwashers include a heated drying option. That option soaks up the electricity. Turn that option off and open the dishwasher to let the dishes air dry.
Laundry might not sound like an area where you can save money on electricity, but there are a few ways to save. Take a pass on the hot water cycles. Unless you work in a particularly grimy job, most clothing can be adequately cleaned in a cold-water cycle.
When drying clothes, dry them at night. This can save you money if you live in an area with peak electricity pricing. Drying during off-peak hours makes it less expensive. Dryer balls can also make your drying process more efficient. Less drying time means less electricity usage.
Also, make sure you always empty the lint trap in your dryer. A clogged lint trap makes drying less efficient, which means running the dryer longer than necessary.
Of course, line drying is the most efficient method of drying in terms of energy use. Consider line-drying some or even all of your clothes if you have room.
Seal Things Up
Few, if any, homes are completely airtight. Yet, most homes are much less airtight than is ideal. Any time you feel a draft, it costs you money. There are a few main culprits on that front. Door and window frames are often sources for drafts because they moved as the house settled. You can often fix those drafts with some caulk.
If you feel drafts from around the window or door itself, you can typically fix those problems with some weatherstripping. You can also use a draft guard on the bottom of entryway doors to cut down on warm or cold air getting inside from under your doorways.
You should also look around for spots where pipes or other utilities enter your home from the outside. Not only are these prime areas for heat or cold to get into your home, but they can also let in pests. Seal up around these entry points with expanding foam.
Ductwork isn’t a part of the home that most people give much thought to, but leaky ducts can end up costing you in the long run. Clean, properly sealed ducts are substantially more efficient than clogged or poorly sealed ones.
Limit Phantom Loads
Many electronics and even small electrical appliances still use electricity when they go into standby mode. Many coffeemakers, for example, have a clock on them to set a timer. That clock keeps using up electricity. A computer or gaming system in standby mode isn’t off, which means it’s still using electricity.
You can limit these phantom loads in a couple of ways. You can plug a bunch of small appliances or electronics into a single power strip and turn it off when you leave the house. You can also embrace smart power strips that will turn off the electricity to appliances or electronics that aren’t currently in use.
Another area many homeowners overlook is the amount of insulation they have in the attic. The recommended amount of insulation has changed over the years, yet many older homes still have the amount recommended at the time of home construction. Adding insulation in your attic can help reduce your overall HVAC and electricity costs.
Update Your Appliances
While most people aren’t in a hurry to replace all of their major appliances all at once, you likely will replace them periodically. New appliances are often more efficient than older ones simply because they lack the same level of wear and tear. You can take boost your electricity saving by looking for Energy Star-rated appliances.
Suppose you're like most homeowners wondering how to lower your home electric bill. In that case, you should consider going solar. This is often a very effective way to limit your total electricity usage from the local grid. There are a couple of ways you can get a solar power system.
One option is to buy a complete system outright. For that, you work with a solar installation company, design the system, and get it installed. You must pay for these systems upfront, either out of pocket or through financing.
Another option for going solar is with a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) from a solar provider. With a PPA, a solar company installs the solar panel system on your home, and you, in turn, agree to pay them for the electricity the system generates at a rate that is typically lower than what you are currently paying your electric utility. Another important benefit of PPAs is that the provider will cap the annual rate increases, which are significantly lower than the 5-10% annual rate increases your electric utility charges you now.
The upside to a PPA is that you can go solar today with $0 dollars out of pocket because the solar provider fronts the costs of the system, and they recoup their investment with the monthly payments you make for the electricity the system generates. Plus, 24/7 monitoring and maintenance are usually included in the agreement.
How to Lower Your Home Electric Bill
The question of how to lower your home electric bill is, fortunately, something with many answers. You can do a lot simply by adjusting thermostats. You can also use electricity-intensive appliances like clothes dryers during off-peak hours. You can make your home more energy-efficient by sealing up gaps and cracks and ensuring your ducts are well sealed. Some extra insulation in the attic and energy-efficient appliances also help with that. A little strategic use of power strips or smart strips can reduce the phantom loads in your home. If you want to take things up a notch, consider going solar.
Not sure where to start? Schedule a call with Ivan The Solar Guy for more information and no-cost consultation.