Don’t Get Shocked by your Electric Bill
Some household appliances and gadgets use electricity even when they are not on. Last month we talked about six ways to save money on your water bill. Another bill that comes rolling in every month is your electricity bill. Being aware of your energy consumption can save you money all through the year. Here are some tips to help you out.
The best way to improve your electricity bill is to know your appliances. Energy Star appliances have to adhere to certain energy usage guidelines and are designed to save you up to 30% or more each year on your electric bill. These products go through rigorous testing by the EPA to earn their sticker, so you should take it seriously when looking for appliances. The EPA also requires that a product will recoup your extra money spent on it within five years from the money that you will be saving, so replacing older model appliances can really help to cut costs. For example, Energy Star Standards were changed for refrigerators in 2008. So if you have a refrigerator in your house that was purchased prior to 2008, it will use more energy than those purchased recently. The Energy Star label isn’t just for major appliances anymore. Over 60 items from light bulbs to furnaces can now carry the sticker, so check your options when you head out to purchase.
When you are done charging your devices, be sure to take the chargers out of the wall socket. Chargers are constantly drawing energy, so leaving them plugged in when they are not connected to your gear is just a waste. This goes for laptop cords, tablet and e-reader chargers, cell phone chargers and more. Take the extra three seconds to unplug your cords.
Energy Vampires and Standby Mode
With all the nifty things gadgets can do today, a lot of them use phantom power when we aren’t looking. Don’t know what an energy vampire is? It is the gadgets in your home that use energy when they are plugged in but not turned on. Everyday items such as your microwave, your Blu-ray player, and your video game consoles all are energy vampires. Many exist in standby mode and never truly turn off. The best way to combat this extra power usage is to plug your gadgets into a surge protector. Flip the switch when you are finished and you’ll kill their ability to drain the extra energy. Be sure you pay attention to what gets grouped where, and to what items are better off left plugged in (ie computers and wireless internet routers).
Programmable thermostats are a great way to save on your electric bill. Enter in the times when you will be home to enjoy the heat or the air conditioner in your home, and then when you leave, your thermostat will take care of lowering or raising the temperature. No more will you leave the house and remember halfway to your destination that you forgot to turn down the heat. They also have thermostats that can be controlled directly from your smartphone. This is handy if you want to let your thermostat know exactly when you are coming home and what temperature you’d like the house to be when you get there.
Have Your Furnace Serviced
Have someone come out to look at your furnace once a year. Making sure your furnace is running to the best of its abilities will help you save on your electric bill. If your furnace has dirty filters or broken parts, it will need to work harder and will have to draw more power. No matter your type of furnace, ask a trained professional to check it out each year and give you tips on the best practices for your system.
The debate is still on whether it is better to spend time turning off the lights, or to just leave them on. The life of a CFL bulb is determined by how many times it is turned on and off. If you are planning to leave a room for more than 15 minutes, Energy.gov recommends turning off the bulb. However, if you are leaving and coming back in under 15 minutes, it is recommended to leave the bulb on. This will extend the life of your bulb and save you money in the long run.
While all of these may seem like you are saving pennies, pennies do amount to dollars. So the more small savings you can make, the bigger the savings you will see on your bill at the end of the month. Do a sweep of your house before you go to bed each night and turn off any unnecessary devices. See how many changes you can start putting into your daily routine today, and you’ll start to notice the savings adding up!