When it comes to trimming your power bill, you think you are doing everything right. You’ve replaced tired appliances and electronics with EnergyStar® rated ones, you’ve got the kids turning off the lights and television when they leave the room, and you only wash and dry clothes when there is a full load. So why isn’t your power bill budging?
The truth is you probably aren’t doing anything wrong, but there are still a few lesser-known ways to reduce your electric bill.
Talk to the Power Company
This may seem strange – talking to your power company about ways to reduce your bill – but they, too, want to see you conserving energy. Visit their website for helpful tips and ways to conserve energy, or pick up the phone and talk to someone live. They will be able to alert you to any programs they are currently offering.
Many power companies offer reduced rates for those who use power during off-peak hours. For instance, you can use your clothes dryer after specified times of the day and save a fair amount of money, and depending on your area, these savings could really add up over time.
Most electric companies also offer “budgeted” billing, and while this isn’t necessarily a money-saving method, it does alleviate the seasonal ups and downs that can throw your household budget into a tailspin.
Use Power-Saving Technology
One way to significantly reduce your energy bill is to install a programmable thermostat. Most homeowners waste a lot of money keeping their home comfortable when no one’s home. A programmable thermostat will help curtail this practice and conserve energy. Simply program the thermostat appropriately to save money. Many thermostats have features to allow for weekday, weekend and even holiday settings. Of course, you can always manually override the preset programs, but it’s nice to know that once you leave the house, the thermostat will remember to turn the heat down even when you forget.
By now most of us have seen compact florescent lamps, or CLFs – the cork-screw-looking light bulbs. They got a bad-reputation when they first came on the market because they weren’t “bright” enough, but since becoming commonplace, they have also improved greatly. We all know replacing traditional bulbs with CFLs will save you money, but don’t feel like you have to replace all of the lights in your home with CFLs at one time. Perhaps you have lamp in the hallway that you keep on in the evening because it is soothing to the children, or other lamps that are more for ambiance than functionality. Start by replacing those … and seeing the savings.
Finally, invest in a new-and-improved power strip (or two). Over the last few years, we’ve learned that even when small appliances and chargers aren’t in use, they are still drawing electricity. It’s called stand-by power. In fact, some reports go so far as to say that we waste 40% of our electric bill on stand-by power. Plug groups of these small appliances or electronic items into power-strips, and then you only have to unplug one item, making it easy to save money on your electric bill.
Taking the usual actions to cut back on energy usage in your house will work to lower your bill; instituting a few of these lesser-known tips and you’ll really start seeing the savings.