Utility Savings: Electricity

How high are your electric bills?  My bills are always under $100.  The picture is a screen shot of my account history.  My highest monthly usage in 2018 was 959 kWh, and my lowest was 209 kWh.  In 2017, my highest was 905 kWh, and my lowest was 169 kWh.  There are several ways I keep my electric bill low, and I’ll explain.

Air conditioning:  This is the biggest way I save money.  Many years ago, I had an epiphany one hot summer night as I was watching a movie.  I was sitting on the couch, under an afghan, using the ceiling fan.  I love my ceiling fans.  At the time, I had my A/C set at a comfortable 75 degrees.  I wondered why I was paying for the A/C while using a blanket!  For over a decade, I’ve been setting my A/C at 79 when I’m home and 81 when I’m gone.  I had tried 81 & 80 while home, but I was a little too uncomfortable, especially in the kitchen since there’s not a fan in there.  I was too used to the cooler air, and I get hot really easily.  I’m now home more often, so I decided to try raising it again, and it turns out that I’ve gotten a little acclimated to the higher temperature.  Now, I set it at 81 during the day and 79 when I go to sleep.  When I’m having a “hot day,” I’ll turn it down to 80.  I also lower the temperature when people visit unless they’re comfortable the way it is.  If you have ceiling fans, I suggest raising the A/C by a degree or two and see if you’re still comfortable.  If so, raise it again.

Have you ever noticed the lights flicker when the A/C comes on?  That’s when it draws a lot of extra energy.  To prevent additional surges, I wait for it to cycle on before I lower the temperature at night.  In the morning, I wait for it to cycle off before I raise the temperature so I can have that extra few minutes of cooler air.

The biggest reason I bought a one-story house was so I didn’t have the extra expense of cooling a two-story house!

Lights: Are you one of those people who have all of your lights on in the house?  I’m not.  The light is only on in the room where I am.  I do have little night lights in certain parts of the house.  I have CFL bulbs in two rooms that don’t have dimmer switches, but I don’t like them.  If they ever go out, I’ll try LED (which can apparently be dimmed).  I hardly ever need to replace my lovely, regular incandescent bulbs though.

Laundry: I have a lot of clothes so I only wash one or two loads per month.  I only wash full loads.  I used to separate my clothes (lights, darks, etc.), but nothing bleeds anymore, and I combine to create a full load.  Jeans and towels are washed together since I don’t want the jeans to hurt my other clothes.  I normally use cold water which protects the clothes plus uses less electricity and gas.  I don’t put certain fabrics in the dryer so they will last longer.  The dryer is also more efficient when it’s full but not too full.  I also clean the dryer’s lint screen after every load for efficiency and fire safety.

Dishwasher: I only run my dishwasher when it’s a full load.  This is also water efficient.

Windows: During the summer, I keep the blinds and curtains closed to keep some of the heat out.  I do the opposite in the winter.  So, yes, my house is dark and warm in the summer but bright and cool in the winter.

Phantom Energy: Are you aware that some items use power when they are plugged in even when they’re turned off?  Items include chargers, computers, televisions, stereos, printers, and game consoles.  I only have my chargers plugged in when I need to use them.  I also do this for my toaster oven.  Of course, my main reason for that one is to have less to unplug when a storm rolls in.  I don’t use Wi-Fi, and I unplug my router when I’m not using the internet. (For additional security, I like being able to see what my computer is doing when connected to the internet.)  At night, I usually unplug my computer, router, and modem.  It not only saves energy, but I know they’ll be safe from storms, and they seem to like the reboot.  I’m not one of those people whose computer or internet freezes while trying to use it since I regularly turn it off (and keep the temp files cleared).

Comparison Shop: Do you live in an area where you’re able to select your power company?  I do my homework every year during my contract renewal period to make sure that the company I use still offers the best price.  Rates have been going up in recent years, but they’re still cheaper than the other companies, and the service is reliable.

Is there something you’re willing to change to lower your electric bills?

Linda 🙂

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