8 cost-effective ways to reduce your power bill
We all face the same question at the end of each month: how did I manage to use so much power, and how can I reduce my power consumption? According to Energy Star, the typical family spends over $2,000 per year on utilities. However, many homeowners, especially those with large homes or big families, may pay substantially more each month.
If you’re struggling to find a solution to your expensive electric bill, we’re here to help. Let's take a look at some effective ways to reduce your power bill without it costing you an arm and a leg.
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How much are you paying for electricity?
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average price of electricity in the U.S. is 10.60 cents per kWh as of January 2022.
The price you pay for electricity depends on numerous factors, such as your location, the time of year, utility provider, and how much electricity you use.
Of course, these numbers are just averages. Your power bill could be higher or lower depending on which state you live in and the size of your home.
8 cost-effective ways to reduce your power bill
With the cost of electricity not going down in the foreseeable future (it is estimated the price will continue to increase at the rate of 1.8% per year), it's important to do all you can to try and reduce your energy consumption without negatively impacting your standard of living.
Here are eight easy and affordable ways in which you can move closer to reducing your energy bill.
1. Check that you are on the best rate plan for your needs
Are you on the cheapest electricity plan offered by your utility provider? You would be surprised if you checked to see all the different plans that are available, and how much you could potentially save each month.
For example, you could change to a Time of Use plan which charges a higher rate from 9 AM to 5 PM. If you are usually out of the house during working hours, this type of plan would suit you and potentially save you money.
2. Use window coverings
According to the Department of Energy, you can lose approximately 30% of your home heating through your windows in winter. In turn, 76% of the sunlight that hits your windows in the summer enters your home and heats it from within.
With the clever use of curtains, window films, or drapes, you can greatly reduce this impact and keep your bills in check.
3. Weatherize your windows and doors
Insulating your windows and doors can provide huge benefits to your comfort level and your monthly energy bill. While insulation cannot transform a poor window into an excellent window, it can still make a difference.
Installing storm windows with a low-E coating is a cost-effective way to upgrade existing energy inefficient windows. Storm windows are easy to install and cost a fraction of replacement windows.
According to Energy Saver, installing a low-E storm window over a single pane window can lower your heating and cooling bills by 10%-30%, which is as much as you would get by replacing the window with a new energy code-level window for a fraction of the cost.
For a low cost and only a few hours of your time, you can seal air leaks around your windows and external doors with weatherstrips and save 5%-10% on your heating and cooling bills.
4. Replace lighting
Lighting accounts for around 15% of an average home's electricity use, and you can save as much as $225 per year by simply switching over to energy-efficient lighting.
You can replace your existing incandescent light bulbs with two types of energy-efficient bulbs: light-emitting diodes (LEDs) or compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs).
CFLs use 25%-35% less energy than traditional incandescent light bulbs and last longer (8,000 hours compared to 1,200 hours). While they are more expensive to buy ($1.00 compared to $2.00), you come out on top.
LEDs, on the other hand, use 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs and last longer than both incandescents and CFLs. While you will pay more for LEDs (prices start at around $4.00), you are getting way more bang for your buck.
5. Insulate your ceiling or attic
Insulating your home is one of the most cost-effective ways to stop overspending on your energy bill.
According to Energy Star, homeowners can save an average of 15% on heating and cooling costs (or an average of 11% on total energy costs) by air sealing their homes and adding insulation in attics, floors, and crawl spaces. Your savings potential could be even greater with insulation, especially if you are in an older home.
6. Keep up with HVAC maintenance
You depend on your HVAC system to keep you comfortable year-round, which is why it's the appliance that uses the most energy.
Regular maintenance helps your system produce and distribute the warm or cool air more evenly and steadily. Regular HVAC maintenance is said to reduce the risk of costly breakdowns and can help keep your system running at peak efficiency, saving you as much as 40% on your energy bill.
You can help your HVAC perform more efficiently by doing some simple DIY maintenance every 3-4 months. Keeping the unit clean and dust-free, clearing any debris that may have built up on the outside, and washing the fins on the outside unit are just a few easy ways to keep your HVAC system running smoothly.
7. Change your energy habits
By simply changing some of your day-to-day habits, you can cut back on your energy usage. Here are some easy ways to reduce your bill.
- Only use the dishwasher on a full load, and at night
- Turn off the heat dry option on your dishwasher
- Turn down the temperature on your hot water heater
- Take shorter showers
- Use ceiling fans instead of running your air conditioner
- Wear more clothes to stay warm on cold days
- Raise the temperature on your refrigerator
- Keep your refrigerator and freezer full
- Turn off and unplug appliances when not in use
- Wash your clothes in cold water
- Line dry your laundry
- Install light dimmer switches
While all these suggestions are small improvements individually, as a whole they add up and can reduce your energy bill by a significant amount.
8. Consider installing solar panels
If your home is suitable for solar, it's one of the best ways to save money on your electric bill.
For homeowners in many states, it's possible to install a solar panel system that can offset 100% of your electric bills.
Solar panels have gone up in efficiency and down in price. Incentives and rebates are readily available, and financing a solar installation is more doable than ever before.
- Make sure you are on the utility rate plan that best meets your needs.
- Windows can be a major source of energy loss in your home, but window treatments can help resolve these problems. Plus, unsealed doors and windows will make your home less energy efficient.
- Replacing incandescent light bulbs with LEDs will greatly reduce your power consumption.
- Insulating your attic and ceilings will save you up to 15% on your energy costs.
- Keeping up the maintenance of your HVAC will save you money in the long run.
- Simple changes in your daily habits can save you money on your energy bill. When done right, solar panels can offset your entire electricity usage and offer a quick payback on your investment.