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Cut Your Electric Bill Without Really Trying

Updated on August 15, 2016
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You Don't Have to Make Big Changes to See Results

My electric bill for July 2011 was $41.20, for August it was $40.62, and for September it was $42.00. I don't have solar power, nor do I live in an apartment. I live in a 1300 sq. ft. house. My family and friends were amazed when I told them how much my electric bill was. "How'd you do it?" they asked. My response? "It really is the little things that make all the difference."

  • First, I hardly ever use my clothes dryer in the summertime. (Sure, there are emergencies, but for the most part, it sits in the cellar collecting dust...poor thing.)

Clothes dryers are energy hogs, even if they are "energy efficient". It's free to use a clothesline. Or if you don't have that (which I actually don't), you can tie a rope around a tree and hook it to something else. But, I am addicted to the scent of fresh-smelling, sun-kissed clothes warmed by the sunshine. And I have blocked out any embarrassment I might have from the neighbors looking at my underthings hanging on the line.

  • Second, my hot water heater is covered with an insulating sleeve.

For about $20, you can get this at the hardware store; it looks like opaque bubble wrap (though not the same thing!). It's easy to install yourself. It helps to keep water from cooling down too much in the summer and helps keep water hot in the winter. That saves a good amount of energy because the heating element doesn't have to work so hard at keeping the water at a constant temperature. While you're at it, turn the hot water down on the temperature gauge. It costs more money to heat water to a higher temperature, so don't keep it on too high a setting.

  • Next, I take short showers.

I LOVE my showers, but I like having cheap electric bills even more. By taking five-minute showers, the hot water heater isn't working too hard, the water pump to the house isn't constantly pushing water through AND I'm conserving water. I'll admit, though, that I'm not above the occasional long shower as a reward for a long, hard day, but generally I try to keep my showers short.

  • Plant shade trees.

Lots of people have air-conditioning. I, fortunately, don't. I don't need one. No, I don't live in the North, I actually live in the South. It can get quite hot. But I have so many shade trees around the house, they significantly reduce the ambient temperature. In the winter, those same trees have no leaves, letting full sunlight hit the house and help to keep it warmer. Sure, there are some days in the summer when it is exceptionally hot. On those days, I run the overhead fans and mist myself with a water bottle from the refrigerator. It's refreshing and cooling at the same time.

  • About a year ago, I got a new roof on the house. It is light in color and is an Energy-Star approved metal roof.

It really reflects the sun's rays in the summertime that do get past the shade, thereby cooling the house even more. The roof cost about $1500, and if you have a really handy person around the house, there's no labor cost to install it. Just be sure to fix a nice meal for him or her and maybe give them a nice massage for the hard work.

  • I have energy-efficient CFC bulbs installed throughout the house.

The longer days in the summer mean that you don't spend as much time lighting the house in the evenings. They use a fraction of the energy of a regular light bulb. But, I try to conserve even more than that. I try only to have a light on when I am occupying a room. When I leave, I immediately turn it off. A good rule of thumb is that there should be no more lights on than people in the house. When multiple people are in the same room, one light should be sufficient unless someone's reading or doing a similar activity.

So, doing common-sense activities and consciously trying to not use much electricity helps keep that bill down. These energy-saving measures carry over into the wintertime, too. But in another article, I will have some more ideas for helping to keep energy costs down in the wintertime, when energy needs can be at their greatest. Plus, all these easy ideas help keep that carbon footprint smaller.

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    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

      Natashalh - you are absolutely right!! Great idea - I forgot to include that one here. I have a power strip connected to a lot of things and switch that off, but unplugging is a great way to save power. Thanks so much for sharing. Hubhugs!

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

      Tammy - haha, the Queen of Green. The term is catching on - I LOVE it! Hehe. And...you gave me some ideas for future hubs. You did that on purpose, didn't you. Hehehe. Thanks so much for stopping by. I could reach out through the screen and HUG you. ;)

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

      Jeannie - with your style and artistic flair, I have no doubt that you have the coolest apartment, the most awesome sweaters and it has to be cozy-warm with all your wonderful friends and family stopping by. :) You are a gem! Thanks so much for stopping by on another of my hubs. Hubhugs!

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      I unplug everything when not in use. Basically all appliances draw current, even when turned off. Simply put your TV, DVD player, etc on a power strip and turn it off when you leave the house or go to bed for the night. You will see the difference in your power bill!

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Wow.. I couldn't live without air conditioning, especially in home in SC. It broke once for a week and it was 113 degrees inside. Talk about a crabby household, you sweat in a cold shower. These are great tips from hubpages Queen of Green. Excellent!

    • Jeannieinabottle profile image

      Jeannie InABottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      Luckily, I live in a small apartment, so I don't have to worry too much about my electric bill in the summer. I don't get much sun, so it is great in the summer, but not so great in the winter. I basically wear a lot of clothes in the winter. :-)

      A very helpful hub and voted up!

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

      Thanks, rajan. I appreciate your feedback. :) I definitely care about being kind to the planet.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Excellent hub. We all need to conserve energy, to save money in the first place and then to sustain our ecosystem.

      Thanks for sharing these tips.

      Voted up and useful.

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

      Thanks, tirelesstraveler. :) There are sooo many ways to save! I might have to write another article with more tips. :) Those HD flat screen TVs do indeed use a lot of electricity. Those, electric stoves, electric heating, and electric dryers are biiig energy hogs.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 5 years ago from California

      Agree with you on everything. I have a gas H2O heater so reducing showers has no effect on my electric bill. Updating computers made a huge difference in electricity. My son and a friend moved home with 2 47 inch TV's and the electricity went through the roof. I can't believe how much electricity TV's use. Hanging laundry is so therapeutic and you get vitamin D too. Voted up and very useful

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

      Thanks for the feedback, K9. And, when we switched, we didn't do it all at once. At the older bulbs burned out, we replaced them so it didn't make a big dent in the pocketbook. Thanks for the welcome. :) And I enjoyed reading some of your other articles - very informative!!

    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 5 years ago from Northern, California

      I found the switch to cfl bulbs a pretty helpful way to save a few sheckles here and there. The extra cost to buy them is well worth the longevity and reduced energy usage they offer. Thanks for some good electric bill savings tips!

      Welcome to HubPages!

      Cheers~

      k9

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

      There are SO many more ways to save!! I'll be posting more - I'm passionate about saving...almost to a fault. Hehehe...

    • mljdgulley354 profile image

      mljdgulley354 5 years ago

      Great tips and they really do work. Our neighbors were surprised at how low our electric bill is. They also complain that our house is so dark when we only have 1 light on and the tv

    • HeatLoss profile image

      HeatLoss 5 years ago

      If you use electric heat to heat your home then make sure you minimize your areas for heat loss. This can save up to 31% on heating bills.

    • scsunshine profile image

      scsunshine 5 years ago from sc

      Great tips. I just switched my whole house to the cfl bulbs but now I plan on getting the water heater cover.I voted up.