Saving a set amount of money from your utilities each month is one of the best ways to cut expenses from your budget. Save energy and help the planet, as well as your wallet.
Why it saving on utilities great? You can save that amount each month with just a bit of work you do once. Cutting down on recurring expenses is one of the best uses of your time.
1. Test Your Electricity OutPut With This Energy Monitor
We’re going to go over the most common ways to save energy below, but you might have an unusual electronic we don’t cover. I’d suggest using an electricity measurement gadget to see how much energy all your electronics and appliances use. You can find them for around $20. You plug the gadget into the outlet and then plug the appliance into the gadget. It then tells you how much energy the electricity it uses and decide if you want to replace or simply unplug it.
The ultimate hack is just using a special energy monitor gadget for your circuit breakers to check the circuit breaker box. Each circuit connects to an outlet or appliance hookup so you can check them all and see which ones are costing you the most on your electrical bill. It’s like the Nest Thermostat, but for saving energy. Unfortunately, these are still quite pricey at a few hundred dollars, so stick with the $20 electricity measurement gadget if this is too much. They both do the same job, one is just a little bit more manual!
If you and a group of your friends are trying to save money, don’t all buy the gadget, share it! After, you can sell it on eBay so your cost of the gadget is low.
Side Hustle Idea: Ask your friends if you can take your trusty gadget and create a checklist of things for them to do to lower their electricity bill. Word of mouth will get around and you can offer to buy them a gift card or something if you get a referral. You’d be shocked at how much people spend on their electricity bill each month! Save energy and spend less.
2. Eliminate Vampire Electricity
This one is an easy one to save hundreds a year on. It just involves unplugging all the appliances you’re leaving on all the time. You don’t even realize it!
Vampire electricity is such a weird concept. Even when your appliances and electronics are off, if they’re still plugged in, they continue to consume electrical energy. These include things like the oven, fridge, washer, dryer, microwave, computer etc.
Some appliances also have the time of day showing. Yes, that costs you in energy!
I used to never turn off my computer. The oven, dryer, washer, and microwave would also never get turned off either.
The easy hack to turn these off is to turn them off via the circuit breaker box. This is usually located in your basement or next to/in the laundry room. Switch the circuits off of the electronics that you don’t use and are not using at that second. Usually there are little stickers with a description of what each switch is connected to. If there isn’t a sticker, stick some stickers on and write a description of what each circuit controls. You’ll be thankful the next time you come back to the circuit breaker box!
If there are electrical outlets you don’t use, you can turn those off too, as they can save energy as well.
Unplug the electronics you’re not using as well, as they’ll suck energy. Yes, that includes your phone charger that is plugged in 24/7!
3. Cooling and Heating
Get A Fan Instead
Air conditioning uses 10 times the amount of energy that a ceiling fan does. If you use a ceiling fan or even a normal fan just some of the time, you’re going to save an insane amount of money during the summer days.
In our own home, one month we used the AC all month and our electricity bill was 2-3 times as much as usual! It’s insane how much energy the air conditioner uses!
Get a smart thermostat so it knows what temperature you like in your house. It can tell when you usually leave for work and come back. Ever come home to a super hot house in the summer or a bone-chillingly cold one during the winter? The Nest knows when you are on your way home or leaving so even if your schedule is irregular that day, it can anticipate better temperature settings for you.
In our apartment, we tend to turn the temperature down a few degrees when we’re getting ready for bed and then turn it back up in the morning. The Nest basically anticipates your temperature wishes so that it can save energy by gradually changing the temperature so you never touch the thermostat. Gradually changing the temperature saves more energy than a human changing it all the time.
You can also change the temperature of your home from just your phone. If you’re on your way home because you’re sick, just toggle the temperature so you can crawl in bed cozily.
Central Air HVAC
If you’ve been saving energy over the years and can’t figure out why your bill is going up, check out your HVAC system. There might be holes or clogs, and if this is true, your electricity system won’t be efficient and you’ll spend more electricity cooling or heating your house. If you’re going to go this route, get a professional.
While you’re at it, be sure to put your thermostat in the right position. If you’re putting the thermostat on a wall that gets a ton of sunlight, it’s going to turn on more often because it will think the temperature is hotter than it is.
Newer homes have windows with a light-reflecting film, so that heat doesn’t penetrate easily during the summer months. In the winter, they protect heat from leaving. If your home doesn’t have it, you can install it yourself. You don’t have to buy a new window, just the film, which is not super expensive. Be careful on any high windows though! Make sure you’re on a ladder and have someone spotting you!
Also, you can consider blinds to block sunlight during the day.
Wear Layers Or Less Clothing In The Winter
Generations before us “survived” the heat and cold by varying their clothing. In winter, they wore cozy jackets and slippers. In the summer, they wore shorts and breathable shirts. Consider changing your clothing instead of touching the thermostat!
4. Your Hot Water Is Sucking Up Electricity!
The hot water you get comes from a water heater — it’s basically a large water tank appliance that keeps your water hot 24/7. That means it’s using a lot of energy.
The way to save money here is to make sure your water heater isn’t on 24/7. You can manually turn the heater on and off in order to save energy. There’s a better option, though!
Get a water heater timer. Your water heater makes sure there is hot water in there 24/7. For people who are working 9-5 and sleeping at night, you probably only use hot water for a few hours a day. If you know what time you use hot water everyday to take baths, showers, or wash dishes, get a water heater timer to automatically turn your water heater on and off, so you’re not heating water 24/7. This also makes the life of your water heater longer because you’re using it for fewer hours per day. Water heaters are expensive (close to four figures!), so replacing it less often is a win for you.
5. Save Money With LEDs And Other Lighting Hacks
LEDs use up to 80 percent less energy and last up to 25 times as long. Not only will you be saving money on the cost of electricity, you’ll also be spending less on buying light bulbs since they’ll last so much longer now!
Try to reduce the amount of light bulbs you use as well. Try and position your desk or furniture near windows with sunlight so you don’t need as much artificial lighting.
Use small direct lights for when you’re at a desk or focusing on a task. A lot of lights have 2-5 bulbs, so if you get a small lamp, you can switch out your 2-5 lightbulbs for just a lamp instead.
Lastly, if you always forget to turn off your lights when you leave a room, consider installing a motion sensor so the lights will automatically turn on and off. But really try to make it a habit to turn off your lights!
Or consider installing a dimmer. Save money on energy and also make certain rooms in your house more romantic!
6. Laundry Energy Saving
Washing your clothes on cold saves a ton of money so you don’t waste electricity heating the water.
Also, washing your clothes on cold is simply better for your clothes. If you have laundry detergent, there’s no reason you also have to wash your clothes on hot. Also, stains are easier to get out when the water is cold!
Your dryer is a money pit. Really, it is.
Not only does it cost a ton to heat that tiny box of air, it makes your clothes not last as long either.
Instead of drying your clothes in the dryer, buy a clothes drying rack or hang a clothesline in your backyard. Drying your clothes by hanging them or laying them across a rack doesn’t take that much extra time and will save you a ton in energy and dollars every year.
Your clothes will also last much longer. If you’ve ever taken the lint out of the lint pocket in the dryer, that’s your clothing’s fabric coming off! There is so much lint in there each time, and I’ve noticed drying my clothes by hand makes them last longer. Each time you dry your clothes, a tiny bit of fabric comes off, and over time your clothes will get holes and warp much quicker than if you dried your clothes on a clothesline or drying rack.
If you don’t want to air dry your clothes on a rack, you can try putting in a small dry towel or two in the dryer to save energy. This makes your clothing dry faster because the wet clothes can make the towel moist — it takes less energy to dry fabric if they are less wet, even if they hold the same amount of liquid in the drying tumbler.
Also, make sure to empty out the lint in the dryer each time. The lint blocks some warm air from entering the dryer tumbler, so it takes more energy to dry your clothes if the lint compartment isn’t emptied.
7. Save Energy In The Shower/Bath
The average bathtub holds 35-50 gallons of water while the average 10 minute shower only uses 25 gallons of water if you’re using a 2.5 Gallon Per Minute (GPM) water shower. This means 2.5 gallons flow out of the showerhead every minute. Previous ones use more than double the amount of water.
Save energy from heating up your water by taking shorter showers and changing out your shower head. Get a 2.5 GPM shower head so you can feel incredible water pressure without having to use as much water. Ever put your thumb over the end of a hose to aim water when you were a kid? That’s what the new shower heads do in order to use less water and increase shower pressure.
The ultimate way to save energy would be to take cold showers. Some people can handle that, but I’m unfortunately not one of them right now! I just use a shower head with a low GPM.
Isn’t it weird that we love to swim in cool water, but we take baths in hot water? I’ve always wondered why that is.
8. Save Energy In The Kitchen
The kitchen holds most of the large appliances that consume energy. That’s ok! We can still save energy here.
Have you ever realized how much heat the pots and pans hold even after the heat has been turned off? Try turning your burner off a few minutes before your food is ready and your food will continue to cook, but you will be using much less energy.
Fridge & Freezer
Keep your freezer and fridge full so it has to work less hard at keeping cool.
I’m not saying you should go out and buy more food, you can simply fill it up empty jugs or bottles of water and put it in the freezer and fridge.
Also, make up your mind before opening the fridge and freezer. Don’t stand there for minutes debating what you want, make up your mind before you get there!
However, its dryer function is something you can eliminate. All that hot air uses a ton of electricity, remember? Just crack open the dishwasher door and allow it to air dry when you’re done.
Just like how you want to keep the fridge full to save energy, keep your oven full when you’re using it.
Instead of baking, roasting, etc on different days, save your oven use for one day and put all the dishes inside it. Obviously, if the recipe calls for different temperatures, you’ll have to convert that to different amounts of time in the oven.
Stop opening the oven door whenever you want to see how something is going. Turn on the light instead. Turn off the light when you’re done looking.
Microwave > Oven
There are times when you’ll need to use the oven, but realize that the microwave uses 4 times less energy than the oven. If you want to crisp up your food at the end, you can put it in the oven for a few minutes instead of the full time and still save energy that way.
9. Turn Off Electronics When You Leave The Room!
This one is super simple, but something you never think of. Just turn off all the electronics if you’re going to leave the room for a long time! Unplug all electronics, no matter how weird it is.
The TV, surround sound speakers, and desktop computer will continue to sap electricity even if you’re not using it. Save energy by just turning things off.
A good hack is to get an power strip so you can simply unplug that instead of having to unplug them all one by one.
Don’t forget the phone chargers and hair dryers either!
10. Use Green Energy
The government gives tax credits for solar and green energy appliances and electronics. Consider getting solar panels that will pay for themselves, and get a tax credit for part of the cost to them.
FYI, though this post is about saving energy in your home, if you buy a car on electric energy, you could get tax credits as well. Check each car brand though, because the government only gives out so many tax credits for each brand or type of car.
11. Insulate Your Home & Protect The Walls!
A lot of heat and cool air escape your house through small cracks between the walls and windows or doors. Be sure there isn’t room for air to leak out of the house by caulking those areas. Basically caulk is really fast-drying glue the comes out of a tube. It’s super cheap to buy and easy to use.
If you’re more advanced, you can put clear sheets over your windows to control the temperature better, install insulating fabric so air doesn’t escape through the attic, etc.
Plant A Tree On The South/West Sides Of Your House
Having your home face the south or west side is the best, because you can take advantage of natural light. However, this might overheat your home in the summer, so you might want to plant a tree or overhang to shade part of that heat.
12. Replace Your Old Appliances With Energy Saving Ones
This one is going to have a large upfront cost, but if you have appliances that didn’t come with the energy efficient tag, then you might want to consider getting a new appliance. You don’t need to buy a new one — if you can get a used one in great condition under warranty, that might be a good option as well.
I would say if your appliance is at least 7-10 years old, you should consider getting a new one. Measure your appliance’s electricity output with the gadget, then see how much you’d save per month. Multiply that by the life of the appliance and see if you’d save money over the life of the appliance!
Any other energy saving tips to save money on your electric bill? Let us know!
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