You get an electricity bill every month that you live in a home, whether renting or owning. This is just part of the realities of growing up, and for some that’s all the thought that they give it. This is a mistake.
Your electricity bill is variable, not fixed. You can do things to improve it. They can only charge you for the amount of electricity you use, so if you’re finding your bill is rather high, why not work to maximize your use of electricity to lower it? Heck, even if your bill isn’t currently high, why not maximize your efficiency to see if it can go even lower?
So what do we do?
Look, using electricity is vital, I know that. I’m not going to tell you to abandon all electronics, or go the winter without heat. Instead, I’m going to recommend some simple tips and tricks to make sure you’re only paying for electricity that you’re using, and that you’re getting the best deal possible on it by using it at the right time of day.
Air conditioning assessment
Air conditioners are wonderful, and wonderfully expensive to match. Use your air conditioner only on the hottest days. Other than that, you can likely get away just by opening the windows, taking a swim, or using other natural ways of cooling off. The savings you’ll see will be significant, and quick to appear.
Be mindful of electrically heated hot water
If you’re working off of an electric hot water heater, be aware of this. Use your hot water only when you need it. Decrease the default temperature of your hot water, even decreasing it by five degrees can help lower your bill significantly. Turn down the thermostat, only use hot water when you need hot water, and shorten your showers. 65 degrees is a safe temperature.
If you’ve done all of that and you’re still paying through the nose, contemplate the upgrade to gas heating, as it may be a way to save money in the long term even with the upfront cost.
Efficiency of appliances
Take a look at the appliances in your kitchen right now, and ask yourself if they’re really running at maximum efficiency. A new, efficient fridge can cost as little as $10/month to use, but an older model can cost five to six times that amount – every single month! This too is a great time to look at things like the dishwasher.
Look at how you’re using lighting
Could you be using candles in the evening? Are all your bulbs energy efficient? Do you really turn the lights off every time you leave the room? By considering these simple factors related to your relationship with lighting, you’ll already be a long way to saving on your electricity bills.
Use the heat you need, and no more
The house needs to be kept at a decent temperature. It doesn’t need to be tropical. Turn down your thermostat to room temperature (decreasing it by just one degree can reduce your bills by up to 15%!) and leave it there. Additionally, consider using a programmable thermostat that doesn’t heat the house when you’re not in it, there’s no need to heat an empty house after all.
Related to our tips about your washer are our tips about the dryer. Instead of using an electric dryer, why not consider using a clothesline? Or drying them on a wrack next to the heater? This kind of efficiency is exactly what’s going to save you so much on your next electric bill.
Washing full loads, nothing else
Your washing machine is a host of the centre of tips for saving on your electricity bill. First of all, only run full loads. This reduces water consumption, which is another way to save money. Second, and in terms of electricity, contemplate the temperature you’re washing at – there’s often no need to be using hot water, and it’s a waste of electricity (particularly if your water heats electrically like we talked about earlier).
This is also another chance to make sure your appliance is as efficient as it should be, and is merely a cost and not a drain on your household expenses.
BONUS: Seasonal tips
Okay, we’ve looked at some general tips to help you lower your electricity bill. Now as a bonus we’re going to take some time and walk you through ways of controlling your temperatures throughout the seasons, without touching that thermostat.
Ready? Here we go.
Staying cooler in the summer
- Ceiling fans are a cheap way to cool down the house, and cost considerably less than the expensive air conditioning alternative.
- Close the curtains throughout the hot periods of the day to avoid heating the house inadvertently and creating a need to cool down.
- Examine your insulation. Insulation is a tip for both staying cool in the summer and warm in the winter, as it impacts your house’s ability to retain its temperature. See what you can do to improve your insulation by sealing gaps, ensuring insulation is present, and so forth.
- Go with lighter colours in the summer, darker in the winter. Yes it matters. The colours (even of the home itself) control surfaces’ ability to retain heat, for better or worse. Be aware of this.
- Set the temperature to 23. This is a comfortable temperature that won’t kill you, but also won’t inflate your bill with unnecessary cooling charges.
Staying warmer in the winter
- Close the door to empty rooms to give the heater a more concentrated target
- Insulation, insulation, insulation (just like discussed above)
- Layer your clothing
- Seal the chimney
- Use an extra blanket before cranking the thermostat
- Use heavier curtains to prevent heat from slipping out
- Window coverings should be on all of the windows, not just some, and be mindful of skylights.