Money-Saving Hacks: How to Lower Your Electric Bill
Use these tips to lower your electric bill so you can put that money to use elsewhere.
November 11, 2022
The typical home spends more than $2,200 a year on energy costs, according to data from Energy Star. If you can reduce your monthly utility bills by a small amount, that's money in your pocket that you can use for other expenses, financial goals or things you enjoy, such as holiday shopping.
In this guide, we will detail several options and provide helpful resources on how to lower your electric bill. Keep reading to learn how to start saving on energy costs.
How to lower your electric bill: 10 tips
More and more homeowners are experiencing high energy costs and are looking for ways to save on these expenses. The more you save on energy, the more money you have in your home budget to take care of other monthly costs or save for the future.
Here are some energy-saving tips to help you get started.
1. Perform an energy audit
A home energy assessment, also called a home energy audit, can help you see how your home uses energy. The energy audit identifies problem areas and suggests solutions on how to lower your electric bill and make your home more comfortable. You can have a home audit conducted by a professional or use a DIY home energy assessment tool.
2. Adjust thermostats
According to the Department of Energy, you will use less energy when there is a smaller difference between the temperature inside your home and outside. For example, setting the thermostat to 68°F when you are awake and lower while you are sleeping or away from home will help you save energy during the winter.
You can use a similar but opposite approach in the summer with your air conditioner. You can set your thermostat to a higher temperature than normal when you aren’t home.
If you don’t want to rely on your memory to know when to adjust your thermostat for energy savings, you can buy a programmable thermostat that automatically adjusts your temperature settings.
3. Change filters for home HVAC systems
The most efficient operation of a home's heating and cooling system requires routine inspection and repair. If you don’t change your furnace filters, it can be hazardous to your family's health and degrade your system’s performance. When your filter is clogged with dirt, your system will work harder and consume more energy.
For peak performance, you should change your filters twice a year — once in the fall and once in the spring.
4. Home improvement insulation projects
Homeowners can save up to 10% on annual energy costs by insulating their homes and sealing air leaks around the exterior. Adding weather stripping to doors and caulking around windows are examples of small energy-saving solutions, while larger projects could include sealing leaks and insulating the attic.
Several DIY initiatives can boost your home's energy efficiency and reduce monthly electricity costs. Find out which DIY home renovation projects will provide the greatest energy savings and advantages as well as which ones you will really be able to finish before you dive into a project and get in over your head.
You can start with this list of energy-saving home improvement projects:
Doors, walls and windows: Drafts from poorly sealed doors and walls can be uncomfortable and contribute to higher energy bills. Many DIY maintenance projects focus on these areas because they are the most accessible. Common DIY projects for these areas include air sealing walls, fireplaces and electric outlets as well as weatherstripping doors and windows.
Attic: The attic is frequently the most accessible and has the greatest potential for energy savings. If you want to make the most difference in your energy bills and comfort level, begin with the attic. Before installing insulation, the attic must be air sealed.
Basement or crawl space: Sealing and insulating your basement or crawlspace is the next best step to take after addressing the attic in terms of lowering energy costs and limiting drafts from below.
Air ducts: If your home's air ducts are positioned in an unheated space like the attic or crawlspace, cool air can easily escape to the outdoors, waste a considerable amount of energy and raise your energy bill. Duct air sealing and insulation can reduce your monthly electricity use and costs.
5. Replace regular bulbs with LED bulbs
While the upfront cost of switching from incandescent light bulbs to LED bulbs may seem high, the long-term savings in energy usage is worth it in the long run.
According to NOPEC, a nonprofit energy supplier, incandescent light bulbs only last roughly 750 hours, while many LEDs can last for up to 25,000 hours. Therefore, the cost of LED lights is not significant when considering the cost of buying the number of incandescent bulbs you'll need to use for 25,000 hours.
6. Turn off the lights
It is easy to neglect to turn off the lights when you leave a room; many of us forget. But constantly leaving the lights on can increase energy costs. Turning off the lights is a simple and effective way to lower monthly electricity costs.
7. Unplug appliances when not in use
Another simple way to save on energy costs is by unplugging appliances when they’re not in use. For example, if you have items that only get used occasionally, such as lamps or television sets in rooms you don’t often use, unplug those until you need them again.
8. Access online energy-saving tools
You can access several online energy-savings tools as recommended by the U.S. Department of Energy. Some of these tools include:
Energy-use calculator: Calculate the annual cost of running more than 50 typical household appliances.
Home energy yardstick: To determine your home's energy efficiency on a 10-point scale, this tool analyzes your utility bills from the past year and compares them to those of other homes like yours.
Home energy saver: By entering details about your home, you can get advice on reducing your energy consumption.
Electric and gas water heating savings calculator: Estimate how long it will take to recoup your initial investment after upgrading to energy-saving products.
Energy saving incentives database: Look into rebates and tax credits offered at the state and local level to help defray the expense of making your home more energy efficient and installing renewable energy sources.
9. Shop for new energy-efficient appliances
When looking for how to lower your electric bill, consider upgrading to Energy Star-certified appliances. Appliances that have earned the Energy Star label are equivalent to or superior to those that do not, except that they consume less energy in their operation. You can purchase many types of Energy Star-certified appliances, including refrigerators, washing machines, air conditioners and more.
To receive the Energy Star label, products must adhere to stringent standards for energy efficiency established by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Energy Star offers a list of energy-efficient appliances consumers may purchase.
10. Invest in smart home upgrades
Investing in smart home upgrades is smart business. These smart home upgrades can significantly raise a home’s value and help you reduce your electricity usage and save on energy costs.
Some manufacturers make "smart" appliances that can be connected to smart electricity meters or home energy management systems to help move electricity use to off-peak hours. Some examples of smart appliances are air conditioners, water heaters, refrigerators and dishwashers. In addition, smart thermostats can be used with any heating, ventilation and air conditioning system.
Smart appliances can make small changes, so they don't waste as much power. You can save money without sacrificing performance by changing the heating cycle or reducing how often your air conditioner runs. If you want to save money, set your washer or dishwasher to run during off-peak hours.
You might be able to save money on electricity if your utility company gives discounts during times when demand is low. Even though these changes might not be noticeable, they can save a lot of money on energy costs. Ask your local power company about smart grids and time-of-use electricity rates.
Look for new ways to save on electricity
Saving on electricity is necessary to keep your home budget intact. You can use the tips above to maximize your home energy savings. But don’t stop there. Keep looking for new ways to save on electricity.
You might also be looking for ways to save money by paying off credit card debt. Check out the Tally† credit card repayment app. It can help by combining your higher-interest credit card balances into a lower-interest line of credit.
†To get the benefits of a Tally line of credit, you must qualify for and accept a Tally line of credit. The APR (which is the same as your interest rate) will be between 7.90% and 29.99% per year and will be based on your credit history. The APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate. Annual fees range from $0 - $300.