Electric bills are a monthly part of life. Unfortunately, as long as we use electricity to power our lives, there’s no way around it.
And in a time when the costs of heating and powering our homes are on the rise, you may find yourself struggling to cover the entire balance.
Thankfully, there are several steps you can take so you can figure out how to save on your electric bill. Here’s how to get started.
If you're researching how to save on your electric bill, you’ll find that you can be proactive about having an energy-efficient home.
Consider some of the below energy-saving ideas:
Get up to $500* for your electric bill. (Or anything else.)
Whether you live by yourself or with your family, you should get into good energy-saving habits:
Some or all of these measures could save you some serious cash when it comes to your electric bill if usage is your problem. As many of us that pay utilities know, however, fees and other billing details can crank up costs beyond how much electricity we use.
If you believe your electric bill is too high or inaccurate, get in touch with your electric company to come out and check your energy usage through a meter reading.
If the representative from the company is unable to access your meter for any reason, then the company may send you an estimated bill. Be aware this could result in a higher bill than what you're disputing.
Once the representative comes out and is able to get a reading, the company will then send you your real bill based on that reading. If you believe that your bill is not accurate, try to negotiate with your electric company to lower it.
If you have any trouble paying your bill, you will likely be able to sign up for a payment plan until your balance is paid in full.
Additionally, your electric company may have a low-income program to help offset energy costs every month. Get in touch and see if you’d qualify.
You may have to provide proof of your income, like pay stubs or tax returns.
If you live in a state where electric companies offer different plans, make sure you're choosing the right one for your usage, and that you understand if your rates can vary depending on overall usage or adverse weather conditions.
Your electric company might also offer an energy assistance program, where they give out certain items for free to help you become more energy efficient.
For example, they may provide you with LED light bulbs, which consume far less electricity than regular incandescent bulbs.
If you have an older window air conditioner unit, they might switch it out for a newer, more energy-efficient model to cut down on your cooling costs.
If you don’t qualify for such a program, your electric company may offer educational materials that show you how to reduce your energy consumption, as well as provide home energy audits.
With an audit, a company representative could come out and give you tips on weather stripping, show you how to clean out air filters in your A/C units, and explain why it’s important to use LED bulbs.
These services are usually free and could make a real difference in reducing your electric bill in the future with just a few small changes.
Sometimes saving on your electric bill means switching out some appliances and other products in your home for more energy-efficient ones.
Though you’ll have to spend money initially, the amount you’ll save over time will be worth it.
If you’re having trouble affording this, remember: you don’t have to do it all at once. Just investing in one change at a time could make a huge difference when it comes to how to save on your electric bill in the long haul.
One smaller purchase you can make is a smart thermostat such as Nest, a smart home device that will learn or allow you to customize your preferences and automatically raise and lower the temperature in your home at certain times.
There are a variety of smart thermostats on the market, ranging from simple to a more robust home automation system such as Nest. The device uses your home's wifi to connect with your mobile devices or a virtual assistant such as Google Home or Alexa to regulate temperature either on a schedule or whenever you ask it to. (No more forgetting to turn down the heat before bed, or cold toes in the morning.)
You can even control it from a smartphone app if you’re away and you forgot to turn off your heater or air conditioner.
You should also make sure that the appliances in your home are ENERGY STAR rated, usually marked with a prominent ENERGY STAR logo.
ENERGY STAR is a program run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy, and it’s designed to help customers choose products that require less energy consumption.
ENERGY STAR appliances typically do not cost more than appliances without the logo, and they are energy-efficient, meaning you’ll reduce your energy costs.
According to a study of non-ENERGY STAR vs. ENERGY STAR models, customers saved $415 over the lifespan of their washers, $160 over the lifespan of their dryers, and $100 on the lifespan of their dehumidifiers.
Whether or not you have central heating and A/C, you can always purchase some space heaters and portable air conditioning units for your home. When you turn on central heating and A/C, you’re heating or cooling your entire home–which means that your energy bill could be significantly higher.
Instead, if you buy portable units, you can move them from room to room when you need them. This can be especially efficient on the hottest and coldest days.
Just be careful with space heaters, because they are known to cause fires if used improperly.
Make sure that you place your space heater on a floor with a hard surface, as opposed to an area rug or carpet.
Plug it directly into the wall instead of a surge protector, and ensure there aren’t any blankets or other types of fabrics near it.
Never run a space heater when you’re not home or expose it to moisture by placing it in the bathroom or some other type of humid environment.
Clean your space heater by dusting the inside and outside of it regularly as well.
If you own your own home, you may have the option to install solar panels on your roof or even install a residential wind turbine on your property to generate electricity.
There are complexities to doing this, however. Adding these systems to your home counts as an upgrade, which increases the value of your home. This also can give your yearly property taxes a significant bump, so if you're on a fixed income, you will want to calculate for that, even if you're offered to add a renewable energy option to your home through a grant program.
In addition, depending on the amount of energy your home consumes, solar panels or a turbine may not produce enough energy to completely power your home. Do the math, and research thoroughly so you can feel confident this move will save you money.
By putting all or even some of these tips on how to save on your electric bill into practice, you should see your energy bill start to drop every season of the year.
Though it may take some time, money, and patience to change your habits and your home, the savings will be well worth it in the end.