SAVE ON YOUR ELECTRIC BILL
Ok out of all the articles on this website, this is probably the least technical but one that contains some popular information. With electricity prices increasing over 5% last year (2008) and an expected increase of 9% + this year, learning to save on your electric bill is a popular subject these days. Like the subtitle of this website, “it just makes sense” to be energy conscious. Now of course this entire website is actually on this subject and by far one of the best, if not THE BEST ways to save on your electric bill long term, is through either a home solar power system, homemade wind turbines, or both.
SOME SIMPLE TIPS TO FOLLOW
This article covers some of the more popular energy saving tips that will help you decrease your electric bill and can be used to simply be more “energy conscious. The idea of becoming energy conscious to where its second nature is a good habit to develop if you’re considering the idea of eventual off grid living.
The biggest culprit in high electricity bills comes from the heating and cooling. According to the Department of Energy this accounts for around 44% of the total power used by a home. Fortunately there are some simple things that can be done to minimize wasted energy in this area.
To start, programmable thermostats are a great investment because you can really dial in the times and temperatures that you want your home heated or cooled at. A simple yet effective tip is to lower the temperature a few degrees while you’re at work everyday. This can actually reduce your overall bill by around 10%.
Ceiling fans are a fantastic way to keep a room cool. Actually, I’ll take that back. Ceiling fans actually only cool people not rooms. Be sure to turn them off when you leave a room. A ceiling fan can make a room “feel” about 2-4 degrees cooler by simple air circulation. This goes back to the concept of wind chill factor on a smaller scale.
Water heating, whether provided by gas or electric water heaters, comprises around 17% of your total energy cost and both systems have pinch points where energy can be saved. To start with, hot water jackets for your water heater are a simple and effective way to preserve energy especially in colder climates and winter months. Now as a side note, for a long term fix to saving money on your water heating, the idea of solar hot water systems are very practical and are becoming more popular every year. (See articles on this site which discuss this topic if interested)
A popular alternative these days around the subject of lighting are the compact fluorescent lamps (CFL’s). This design of a bulb uses up to 75% less energy than an incandescent bulb. Another great thing is that these bulbs can last up to 10x longer. This will offset the increased cost of the bulb making it an overall great investment.
Another way to save on your electric bill is to slowly replace your appliances with energy saving units. The “Energy Star” appliances are specifically designed with an energy saving backbone and are heavily promoted by the US government through tax savings, discounts and incentives to purchase these units.
The final energy saving tip, and less obvious one, is to simply UNPLUG things when they are not in use. This is especially critical when it comes to power supplies and chargers. These have transformers in them which will stay energized while plugged in and waste electricity in the form of heat.
All in all, common sense and a little forethought can go a long way in this area. Simple things that our parents used to yell at us for, such as turning lights off lights in rooms when we leave them, not standing with the refrigerator door wide open as we would stare looking for food, or keeping windows and the doors closed when the AC is running. Again, this subject “just makes sense”, and after all its your hard earned money in the form of electricity that is actually being wasted; or saved depending how you look at it.