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How to Save Money on Your Electric Bill

Updated on March 28, 2012
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Make Energy Saving Choices

If you start with good energy saving choices from the get-go, you will be ahead of the game. When you purchase or build a house, make sure the structure and insulation are sound. Check windows and doors to see if they are sealed properly. To save money with your water heater, make sure the heater and pipes are insulated. Though the original setting may be higher, you should be able to keep the temperature setting at 120o F. Do you really need a water bed, pool, or hot tub? These luxury items will have additional costs to run, so it is something to consider.

According to the US Department of Energy, household appliances account for about 20% of a typical US home's electric bill. When selecting appliances, consider energy saving brands that have earned the Energy Star rating. For example, Energy Star refrigerators are more efficient because they are better insulated and have more precise temperature control than standard models.


Saving Tips on Your Electric Bill

  1. Keep your hot water heater at 120o F
  2. Line-dry laundry instead of using the dryer
  3. Hand wash dishes
  4. Wash hair at night and air dry instead of using hair dryer
  5. Use compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs)
  6. Keep refrigerator and freezer full and defrosted
  7. Install ceiling fans 8-9 feet above the floor for best results
  8. Remember that trees shade the house
  9. Light fixtures with dimmers or timers save money
  10. Wash full loads of laundry, but don't overload the washing machine

The Biggest Electric Cost in Your House

Your heating and air conditioning system is probably the biggest energy user in your home. In the US, it accounts for more than 50% of the total electric bill in most homes. Some tips for saving on these costs are:

  • Turn off unit and open windows when the weather is nice
  • Keep thermostat set at the lowest comfortable temperature for winter and highest for summer.
  • turn thermostat up in summer and down in winter when you are not home
  • have unit properly maintained
  • replace air filters regularly

*My special tip: When vacuuming the house, don't forget the vents and air returns that collected dust and impede the unit's efficiency.


How Much Electricity Does Each Appliance Use?

Appliance
Watts of electricity
Clock radio
10
DVD
20-50
Laptop
50
Aquarium
50-1210
Electric Blanket
60-100
Ceiling Fan
65-175
Radio
70-400
Television 27"
113
Flat Screen Television
120
Water Bed
120-380
Computer CPU
120
Computer monitor
150
Water pump (deep well)
250-1100
Washing machine
350-500
Refrigerator
725
Microwave oven
750-1100
Heater (portable)
750-1500
Dehumidifier
785
Toaster
800-1400
Coffee maker
900-1200
Vacuum Cleaner
1000-1440
Iron
1000-1800
Hair dryer
1200-1875
Dishwasher
1200-2400
Toaster oven
1225
Dryer
1800-5000
Water heater (40 gallon)
4500-5500

Day to Day Choices to Save on Your Electric Bill

The refrigerator is another big energy drainer. In addition to investing in an energy-saving model, you can save money by keeping the fridge full which reduces the amount of energy needed to keep food cool. Another cost saver is to keep the fridge and freezer defrosted. Frost build up interferes with efficient cooling.

If you run your dishwasher every day, you may want to consider cutting back by washing pots and pans by hand, or even washing plates and silverware by hand every other day. I actually find washing dishes therapeutic for some down time! Or, if you have a helper to dry, it it a great time for family conversation. Be sure to rinse in cold water. When you do use the dishwasher, use the shortest cycle and do not use the dry cycle, which uses a lot of electricity. Just open the washer and let the dishes air dry.

Hair dryers have always gotten a bad rap for eating up electricity. They use between 1200 to 1825 watts, which is more than your microwave. You may want to consider washing your hair at night and letting it air dry some or part of the way. This may not work for every hairstyle, but try it if you can.


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    • ChaplinSpeaks profile image
      Author

      Sarah Johnson 5 years ago from Charleston, South Carolina

      That is good to know that those easy steps are making a difference, Amanda. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Amanda Martin profile image

      Amanda Martin 5 years ago from Bethlehem, Georgia

      Turning off the air when we can, line drying clothes, and switching our light bulbs have been are largest savers. We are now looking into upgrading our appliances and hot water tank to better energy efficient models. Love the chart showing up much wattage items use.

    • ChaplinSpeaks profile image
      Author

      Sarah Johnson 5 years ago from Charleston, South Carolina

      Thanks, teaches12345. There were some surprises for me on the list as well. The iron, the coffee maker. And I am sure there is a phantom cost running on the coffee maker and other appliances that stay plugged in all day even when not in use. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Interesting information and facts in this hub. I may have to cut back on using my coffeemaker as I see it uses a lot of electricity. Good video post as well. Thanks for the energy saving suggestions. Voted up.