Lowering your electric bill not only saves you money but also protects the environment by ultimately helping to reduce emissions at the plant that generates your power. You can achieve this goal with complicated and expensive remodeling that includes installing solar panels on the roof and replacing your traditional water heater with a tankless one. Or you can start toward your goal by following these five easy tips.
When our nearly perfect Florida temperatures vary by a few degrees, you may be used to reaching for the thermostat to turn on the air-conditioning if it's hot or the heater if it's cold. Rather than relying on technology that uses electricity, dress appropriately for the weather. When temperatures drop, throw on a sweater and scarf and when it gets warmer, shed your layers until you're in a t-shirt and shorts. For extreme heat, change into a bathing suit and hop into your pool or head for the beach. If it's getting too chilly, put on your shopping togs and spend the day at your favorite climate-controlled mall.
Take advantage of natural cycles to keep your interior at a comfortable temperature. In the summer during the early morning and all night, open the windows and doors, if you can, to let cooling air through the house, which can help lower the temperature during the warmest parts of the day. In the winter, keep the windows shut but open all window coverings to let in the maximum amount of light and heat. Trim any foliage that may be blocking sunlight from entering certain windows.
Just about the simplest thing you can do to lower your electric bill is to turn off lights and any appliances that are not in use. If your kids keep forgetting to switch off the lights when they leave the room, consider installing motion-sensing switches that will do the job automatically.
Keep in mind that even if they're unplugged, many appliances still draw standby power so that they come on quickly when switched on. To avoid this “phantom load,” unplug any appliances that are not in us.
Using appliances wisely can minimize their electrical use. Keep your refrigerator and freezer full. Stored food acts as insulation, which reduces the time your fridge runs to keep cool. During the hot summer months, turn off the dishwasher before it starts drying. Then open the dishwasher door to air-dry what you've just washed. Lower the temperature on your water heater to 130 or 140 degrees. You'll minimize the chances of scaling and save on the electricity used to keep it hot.
Large appliances and small devices typically detail ways to save energy in their instruction books. Give those documents a quick read for more ideas.
Appliances and devices that you do not maintain or clean require more energy to function correctly so make sure to take of them. Clean your oven, microwave, washer and dryer, and refrigerator regularly, particularly in areas you don't normally see, such as the rear. Keep the lint trap in your dryer free of debris and clean your vacuum cleaner filter as needed. Change the filters in your window air-conditioners and HVAC system as specified by their instructions. Have your HVAC system inspected by a professional at least once a year.
By themselves and done only once, these methods don't seem to add up to any measurable energy savings. But doing them consistently can put a dent in your electric bill over the course of a month and a year.