As we move towards winter and temperatures have started to fall, you may have noticed your electric bill going up. And you certainly wouldn’t be the only one. HVAC can account for up to 50% of your electricity bill. The winter holidays are right around the corner. Heating systems running around the clock, holiday lights and house guests using extra energy and folks spending more time at home all help make your electric bill so high.
Global prices have risen as a result of a shortage of natural gas producers. It’s not unusual to see winter heating costs increase your electricity costs. But as global consumption remains high amid low natural gas supplies, we can prepare to see higher than normal electricity bills.
Luckily, we know a thing or two about keeping your electric bills within a reasonable price range. So, if your electric bills are getting too high for you to keep a cool head, read on! We’ve put together our best advice to save energy and bring down your bill, as well as some info on homeowner’s insurance, so you can protect your newly energy-efficient home.
Heating and cooling
As mentioned above, the amount of energy required to keep your home comfortable can really add up when it comes to cost. In the colder months, heating can have a hefty impact on your bill as well. But you don’t want to be stuck sweating or shivering in your home, either. So, how can you beat high electric bills without compromising on comfort?
Look out for leaks!
Did your parents get after you for leaving doors and windows open as a child? Does “you’re letting the heat out!” ring a bell? Well, it turns out they were on to something! According to the U.S. Department of Energy, reducing leaks and drafts in your home can save you between 5 and 30 percent in energy costs every year. To cash in on these savings and for a more pleasant electricity bill, you can:
- Use caulk and/or weather-stripping materials to seal air leaks around your doors, windows, and openings for plumbing, ducts, and wiring.
- Install foam gaskets behind outlets and switch plates that are leaking air.
- Fill in large gaps around your baseboards with foam sealant.
- Seal gaps around furnaces and water heater vents with fire-resistant materials such as cement caulk, sheetrock, or sheet metal.
Reevaluate your refrigerator
It goes without saying that you should keep your fridge cold. But, if you have it set to a lower temperature than necessary, you could be raising your electric bill without reaping any extra food safety benefits. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, you should keep your fridge somewhere between 35 and 38 degrees Fahrenheit.
Don’t forget about your filters!
Dirty air filters both affect indoor air quality and make it more difficult for your HVAC system to work efficiently, driving up your electric bill. Make sure to replace your air filter every month to keep your bills down and your HVAC system in good working condition.
Open up your air vents
Keeping all of your air vents and interior doors open can help keep air circulating properly throughout your home. Just as in the tip above, this means a lower workload for your HVAC system and a lower electric bill for you.
Consider a smart thermostat
You don’t need to be up to date on all the latest tech trends to think about the benefits a smart thermostat could have for your home. While many models do offer system integrations with your smartphone, their biggest benefit may be in bringing down your bill. Many smart thermostats can be set to a specific heating and cooling schedule, and some can even use occupancy sensors to determine whether or not you’re at home and adjust the temperature accordingly.
Water use and your electric bill
Excessive water usage can also be a big factor in why more of your utility money than usual is going down the drain. To combat water waste and keep your costs down, you have a few different options.
Let the dishwasher do the work
While it may seem counterintuitive, washing your dishes by hand actually uses more water than washing them in the dishwasher. And surprisingly, dishwashers actually work better on un-rinsed dishes. So, to save yourself some money (and some effort):
- Do use your dishwasher
- Don’t wash your dishes by hand
- Do wait until the dishwasher is full to run it
- Don’t rinse your dishes beforehand
Wash your clothes in cool
Unless you absolutely must wash specific clothes in hot water, wash your clothes in cold or lukewarm water instead. According to EnergyStar.gov, about 90% of your washing machine’s energy consumption comes from heating up the water.
Swap out your showerhead
This may come as a surprise, but the showerhead that came installed in your home might not be the most energy-efficient option. Consider a low-flow shower head for a replacement. Low-flow doesn’t necessarily mean low water pressure, either — with many different options on the market, you can still enjoy a powerful shower with fewer gallons per minute.
Reset your hot water heater
If you’re noticing issues with hot water in your home, it may be worth a shot to reset your hot water heater. This can help make sure it is working properly and efficiently, both lowering your bill and keeping your home safe.
Out with the old (appliances)
Replacing any of your appliances that are past their expiration dates is a great way to make sure you are getting as much energy efficiency as possible out of your home.
Power and Lighting
You’re probably already aware that turning off the lights when you leave a room is a good way to save electricity. But, you don’t have to stop there when cutting down on your power and lighting usage.
Light your home for less
…with energy-efficient light bulbs! These types of light bulbs have gotten a bad rap over the years for not being bright enough, but with more options out there than ever, you’re sure to find one that works for you. Using energy efficient light bulbs helps control how much electricity is being consumed. When your power usage decreases, so will your next electric bill.
Start out with a smart plug
Even if you aren’t ready to fully jump on the smart home trend, a smart plug is a good way to get your feet wet. Smart plugs let you control wired appliances from your phone — for example, you can use smart plugs with your lamps to schedule them to only turn on at certain times of the day, thus saving both money and electricity.
Fight phantom electricity usage
Although the term “phantom electricity” sounds spooky, it’s very common to have this type of wasted energy usage haunting your home. Phantom electricity usage occurs when you leave appliances, phone chargers, and other devices plugged in when not in use. Even though you aren’t using them, they’re still using your power and contributing to your bill.
After reading this article, we hope you feel more in control of your climbing electric bill. As we’ve learned, there are some pretty small changes you can make that can add up to shocking savings.
While you’re saving on your electric bill, why not consider saving on homeowners insurance as well? Elephant offers competitive rates and customized plans to help protect you, your home, and your wallet. Get a quote today!