The #1 question I receive is how I get my grocery bill so low averaging $400 per month for 5 people. But the #2 question I get is how we keep our electricity bill so low. You already know to turn off the lights when you leave the room, but there are some things you can do to have a much bigger impact on your electric bill. Here are the 20 BEST electricity saving tips for lowering your energy usage and saving money!
Electricity hacks – Heating & Cooling
1. For every degree above 78◦ F, you can save 3% or more on your monthly cooling costs in the summer.
Consider getting a programmable thermostat and set the A/C 10◦ higher for 8 hours per day, which can save up to 10% on your cooling costs.
Consumer reports recommends that in the summer, set your air conditioner:
- 78◦ F or higher when you are at home
- 85◦ F when away
- 82◦ F when asleep
I live in a hot, humid area of the United States. At our house, there is someone at home all the time. We started off keeping our AC at 78◦ F. Each year, we raised it one degree. Now, we keep our house at 83◦ F when we are home (and sitting under fans). We lower the temperature to 78◦ F when we have guests, and raise the temperature to 85◦ F when we leave or go in the pool.
For people who need to sleep in a cold house, try lowering the temperature at night, then raising it during the day (and keeping the windows and blinds closed).
2. In the summer, don’t heat your home with appliances.
Run the dishwasher at night. Minimize the use of the oven and stove (an electric pressure cooker is quicker, easier, and uses less power).
Don’t keep lamps or anything that puts off heat by the thermostat.
3. Change the air filter on your AC every 3 months, and use a good quality filter. Also check that your register (i.e., the grate that covers the air filter) is clean.
4. If living in a cold climate, use a humidifier and keep the humidity at 50% during the winter.
5. Set ceiling fans to turn counterclockwise in summer & clockwise in the winter.
6. Turn off fans when leaving the room. Fans cool people, not rooms.
7. Incandescent lights put off heat and use a lot of energy relative to other lightbulbs. LED lights are best, followed by CFL.
doors and windows
8. Put weather-stripping on doors and windows.
9. Bubble wrap windows. Use the kind with the large bubbles and cut it to fit your windows. Spray water on the window. Put the flat side of the bubble wrap onto the damp window (it will stick).
I haven’t tried this trick yet because I still have little kids, but I am so excited to do it as soon as my youngest is old enough to not eat it!
I plan to put bubble wrap on the windows that face neighbors houses (which are also where the sun shines in). It will provide insulation and add privacy.
10. Keep South & West facing blinds/curtains closed (to keep heat out) during the summer months and open (to let heat in) during the winter.
Electricity hacks – Appliances
refrigerator and freezer
11. If your freezer is empty or nearly empty, fill a couple jugs with water & keep them in there.
(This serves the double purpose of having jugs of water already filled for hurricane season or in case of a water outage.)
12. Keep plenty of food in your refrigerator, but do not pack it full. There needs to be room for air to circulate.
13. Check the seal on the refrigerator door.
If the door gasket is dried and cracked (thus not sealing), you can use petroleum jelly & a hairdryer to fix it. I haven’t tried this myself, but there is a YouTube tutorial by Missouri Wind and Solar.
14. Keep fridge at 40◦F and freezer at 0◦F.
15. Clean coils under and behind your fridge. You will be surprised how much dust builds up, which prevents air circulation!
Take a look at mine. (We used a leaf blower to clean it. Yes, it made a mess!)
miscellaneous power sucks
16. Beware of phantom power (items that draw electricity 24 hours a day, 7 days per week). Many of the items that have digital clocks, soft buttons, or can be turned on with a remote control are constantly pulling power.
Plug appliances that use phantom power (e.g., televisions) into a power strip and turn off the power strip when not in use.
To know how much power something is using, you can use a Kill-A-Watt.
Also keep in mind that if it’s hot, it’s using power. I was surprised when I felt how hot the alarm clock was that I’ve been using for the past 15 years. So I turned the dimmer switch on, and no more heat!
water heating costs
17. Your water heater can be one of the biggest users of power in your home.
Some people recommend turning off your water heater when you’re not using it, but I advise against this due to the possibility of bacteria.
Instead, set your water heater to 120 ◦F. Every 10◦ F you turn it down saves 3-5% in water heating costs.
18. Wash and rinse clothes with cold water.
19. Using a dishwasher is more efficient than washing dishes by hand (just be sure to run full loads).
20. Short showers are best.
But if you are like me and hot baths are one of your vices, you’ll be happy to hear that a long hot bath (if not filled to the brim) may use less hot water than a long shower.
For more on saving on your water heating costs, visit Energy.gov
What are your best electricity saving tips?