A few years back, I had a serious summer scare. I took one look at my utility bill and just about lost it. I was already unplugging everything. I already harped on my partner to turn off the lights when leaving every room. I had already set my thermostat to the courageous level of 81 degrees. And yet there was still more to be done. There had to be more I could do to lower my electricity usage because the bill in my hands was astronomical. I needed more unique and effective ideas.
The truth is, the common sense tips that you read all over the internet do actually help you reduce your utility bill each month—but there are just as many tips that aren’t commonly known. These seven quick and dirty tips may help push your utility bill down to the amount you’ve been striving for. Give these unexpected ideas a try and see how the pennies trickle back into your pocket:
Optimize Your Laundry Routine
This is a biggie. You may not realize it right away, but heating water uses a ton of electricity. If you’re willing to alter your laundry routine in a few key ways, it could have a significant impact on your utility bill. As a general rule, run your washer/dryer only when they’re full, only during off-peak times, and only wash using cold water. And, for your own safety, remember to clean your dryer’s lint screen after every load. This also helps your dryer work more efficiently and cuts down on drying time.
Unlike an overflowing lint trap, a dirty AC filter isn’t a zombie-apocalypse-level hazard—but it’s definitely hazardous to your utility bill. If your air conditioner has to work double time to pull air through a mess of household dust, you’ll be paying for it. Clean filters help your allergies and help your AC unit work most efficiently. Plus, they’re relatively inexpensive and easy to replace.
I learned this tip from my Granny, and it’s honestly one of the smartest things I’ve ever heard. No matter the season, make a habit of closing the doors to rooms that you’re not actively using. This keeps you from wasting AC and heating on rooms you’re not even in. We’re talking about the guest bedroom, infrequently-used home office, and third bathroom. Get out a ladder and manually close the air vents in those rooms to make sure you’re not conditioning spaces that never see the light of day. Keep your garage door closed as well, and this lack of insulation won’t be a drain on your utility bill.
… when you’re not in the room (of course). First, make sure that your fans are circling in the correct direction to push cool air down—check your model for specifics, but counter-clockwise is usually the best bet for the summer months. And then you need to realize that fans do nothing but move air around. They don’t actually cool a space. Therefore, a ceiling fan’s only purpose is to make the room feel cooler to the person that’s actively inside. Flip those switches off when you leave the room and you’ll save a bundle without sacrificing a bit of comfort.
You probably already learned to close the blinds/curtains during the heat of the summer to avoid your home turning into a greenhouse. However, shading the house itself is even more effective for your pocketbook! If you don’t already have shade trees near your home, now is the time to plant one. Depending on the season, it could help lower the temperature of your rooms more than 20 degrees! That’s 20 degrees your thermostat doesn’t have to work harder for.
Speaking of degrees, you’ll want to manually change the heat setting on your hot water heater to no more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. If you find yourself being scalded by the faucet when you wash dishes, you’ll appreciate the change—and this will also help lower your electricity bill significantly. It’s a two-minute process that makes a significant difference.
This tip is probably the most expensive proposition on this list, but it comes with a really high ROI. Ask your utility company to install a smart meter for your home, and you’ll be a lot more likely to have accurate readings year round. You don’t want to be paying for electricity that you haven’t used. On the consumer end of things, investing in a smart thermostat will also help you manage your space heating/cooling in a far more efficient manner. It’s a big upfront expense, but definitely worth it in the long run with how much you’ll save on electricity.
If you’ve exhausted these tips and are still feeling the summer electric bill heat, you may want to consider revamping your bill altogether. Switching to a company that offers a fixed-rate electricity plan will help stabilize your bill year-round. You’ll be able to expect the same price per kilowatt-hour regardless of the season, and you won’t have to worry about rate spikes that add to your summertime woes. When I switched to Liberty Power and got a fixed-rate plan under my belt, I finally felt like I had my electricity usage under control.
If you’re looking for a way out of your high electric bill, consider partnering with Liberty Power. We offer fixed-rate plans at competitive rates that will help you to relax and actually enjoy the sun. Contact us today to get started on the best summer of your life.