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How To Cut Your Electric Bill In Half
In my household, saving electricity is important, since it tends to be one of the larger bills each month. After receiving the bill after a particularly hot month this past summer, and me almost having a heart attack when I saw how much it was, we decided it was very important to try and cut down our electricity usage as much as possible.
I'm not talking about 'going green' or any of that here, just some simple reminders that may slip your mind until you receive that huge bill, too. It's really easy to cut your electricity bill without much effort and little to no extra money out of your pocket.
Tip 1: While I can't afford to re-insulate my house or buy energy efficient appliances, something I have been able to afford is energy saving lightbulbs. They are on the expensive side compared to normal tungsten filament bulbs, but they are well worth the money. We bought 2 bulbs a month until each room had a new bulb. We went with the GE 1-Pack 40-Watt Replacement LED Multipurpose Light Bulbs from Lowe's that are $34.98 each (more than I think any light bulb should cost). These have an average of $85 in energy savings over the life of the bulb, and a 25,000 hour rated life. I love the light these put off, everything is so bright in my home now, they make such a difference.
Tip 2: Handwash your dishes! Fill up a single sink of hot water and wash all your dishes, not rinsing until the other sink is full of sud covered dishes. I used to not fill up the sink, and just let the hot water run, which not only used up electricity, but all the hot water. Dishwashers eat up electricity, they are very expensive to run and shouldn't be used unless absolutely necessary. If you only have a few dishes, take 5-10 minutes out of your day to wash those up by hand.
Tip 3: Check to make sure all your appliances are in working order, faulty appliances can eat up electricity, using more than they need. Check to see that you have your refrigerator at the correct settings so that you aren't running it colder than necessary.
Tip 4: Wash clothes in cold water! Washing in hot water uses considerably more electricity, and hot water isn't always best for clothes. I used to be under the impression that hot water was better to eliminate bacteria, which is true, but isn't necessary for barely soiled laundry. Tide has a great detergent out that is strictly for cold water washes.
Tip 5: Probably the easiest thing to do, and of course everyone knows this, but a lot of us are just too plain lazy to follow through, is if you aren't using it, turn it off and unplug it! Anything plugged into an outlet can continue to draw energy even if it is turned off, be sure to do a walk-through of your home and unplug everything such as TVs, computers, stereos, microwaves, coffee pots, lamps, and anything else that isn't in use. It takes literally seconds to lean over and unplug something, and the same amount of time to turn it on. Keep that in mind and you could save a lot of money.
Tip 6: If you are in a position where you can replace your appliances, do so. You can save upwards of $100 or so a year for each appliance you replace.
Tip 7: If anyone is interested in knowing just how much you are spending, you can purchase an energy meter from almost any electrical store, which will measure in kilowatts the exact amount of electricity your home is using. They can also display how much your electricity bill is to date. This comes in handy if you are on a budget and don't want to be surprised or stressed about the upcoming bill.
I know most of this is common sense, like not letting the water run while you're brushing your teeth, but these things really do add up. Our electric bill went from running anywhere from $400-$500 a month to $190-$250 a month. That is literally being cut in half! It is even lower in the winter months since where I live it doesn't get very cold, and most electricity is used during the summer months when it is excrutiatingly hot outside.