If you’re getting more and more frustrated by your rising electricity bills, you’re not alone. The average home in the U.S. pays between $120.00 and $1,500.00 per month, meaning millions of Americans share in your frustration. But even if the rising energy costs seem to be out of your control, there are some basic steps you can take to reduce your bill each month.
The first step is to understand which home appliances and electronic devices use the largest amount of your electricity each day. There are many items throughout your home that put a huge drain on your electric energy.
As you’d imagine, your larger appliances like washers and dryers, refrigerators, freezers and dishwashers take the biggest portion of your home’s energy usage. And the more you use them, the more you drive up your electric bill.
Here’s something else to consider: depending on the age and energy rating of your appliances and devices, you may want to replace them with new, more efficient models. As you learn what’s causing your electric bills to soar, you can begin to significantly lower them for good!
Tame Those High-Usage Items in Your Home
This may surprise you, but your home electronics are right up there with those large appliances when it comes to being an energy hog. That includes your DVR, cable box, desktop computer—even that charging station you leave plugged in for your cell phones, tablets and other electronic items.
They continue to suck up energy even when you think they’re “off.” That’s because modern electronics are always in a “standby mode” when plugged into a power source. Just look around – your DVD, DVR, microwave and kitchen appliances all have clocks that display the time. Well, they need to be connected to power in order to do so. And that uses power.
Light fixtures and their bulbs can put a big drain on your electricity, too. Outdated HVAC, water heaters, windows, doors – even insulation, all impact the drain on your home’s power and increase your electric bill.
Here Are Some Money-Saving Steps You Can Take
Now that you know what’s using the most electricity in your home, here are some basic steps you can take to gain control over your rising electric bills.
- Schedule doing your laundry one day per week, and always fill your washer to capacity. Use a drying rack for some of your clothing, but if you must run your dryer, try damp-drying some items. Just put a dry towel in with your wet clothes and put the dryer on the lowest setting. The dry towel helps absorb some of the water, making the drying time go much faster.
- Limit running your dishwasher to full loads only. Use your no-heat drying mode, or turn off the heated dry function and let your dishes air-dry.
- Upgrading your appliances, especially if they’re more than 5-10 years old, can have a huge impact on reducing your electricity bill. When replacing appliances, look for the highest Energy Star rating available. The Energy Start program began in 1997 and helps identify appliances that protect our climate through superior energy efficiency. If you own refrigerators, dishwashers, washers and dryers built before 1997, replacing them will save you a significant amount on your electric bills.
- Eliminate the drain on your power from electronic devices by connecting them to budget-friendly power strips. That way you can really be sure that when you turn them “off,” they’re off and not continually using power.
- Your savings can really add up by replacing lightbulbs. A 60-watt incandescent light bulb costs $12.92 to operate over the course of a year. By replacing that bulb with a 14 watt CFL, the cost drops to $3.01 – saving you nearly $10.00! And if you choose a more environmentally friendly 12-watt LED, your operating costs drop to an incredible $2.58! These numbers are for each bulb – so you can see how much you can save.
- Want to lower the cost of having a warm or cool home? Just be sure to perform regular maintenance and change your furnace and air conditioning filters every 6-weeks to 3-months. If your HVAC system is over 10 years old consider replacing it. Replacement may seem costly initially, but you’ll recoup your investment fairly quickly – in some cases by more than $100 a year.
- While replacing windows and doors can be a huge investment, the savings will be significant. If you can’t afford to replace them with more efficient models, you can still lower your costs. Just replace weather-stripping, purchase insulating window treatments and caulk all of those areas where heat and air-conditioning can escape.
Take Charge with Solar Energy
As you can see, making some changes to your home can have a major impact on your power costs. But if you really want control over your electric bill, going solar is your best choice. Solar energy is the most cost-effective way to power your home. Depending on where you live, going solar qualifies you for many significant money-saving incentives. In addition to a lower cost of operation, some states now offer tax incentives to homeowners switching to solar energy.
For more information on how you can take control of your electricity bill today, check out our FAQ page!