A Shock To Your Wallet
Ten Tips On How To Lower Your Power Bill
Have you noticed that your electricity bill has been going up but aren’t sure why? Or is your bill much higher than those of your friends or family with comparably sized homes? You’re not alone. We often hear customers’ questions about lowering their bill, especially right now with more people home during the day due to the pandemic.
The first thing to remember is that since many of us are home during the day right now, our energy consumption, in general, is much higher. Unlike many other services where the price becomes cheaper the more you consume—the more electricity you use, the more you pay per unit of electricity. The breakdown of how much the cost rises and when that increase takes effect varies from utility company to utility company. With this in mind, our service experts have put together a list of their recommendations to help you save money on your next electricity bill.
1. Install LED Lights
Do you know what kind of light bulbs you have around your home? Are they incandescent, energy-saving CFLs or LED? If they’re incandescent, you are paying way more than you need to. While the upfront cost of LED bulbs is higher than incandescent, they last far longer. Incandescent bulbs last on average 1,000 hours, CFLs 10,000 hours, and LEDs last a whopping 25,000 hours. So while the average incandescent bulb may only cost $1-2 compared to the average LED cost of $10-25, the LED’s total yearly cost would be five times less than the incandescent. So by switching to LEDs, you’re saving money even before you get to the electricity used.
A typical incandescent bulb can use up to about $3.00 worth of power a month, especially when left on unnecessarily. While it doesn’t seem like much, when you consider that even a small home can have 30 to 40 bulbs, you’re looking at a $90 bill even before considering your appliances. In comparison, the average LED only costs 30 cents a month, so that $90 light bill quickly becomes nine dollars a month.
2. Install Dimmer Switches
Dimmer switches save money by reducing the amount of electricity flowing to the light bulb, which allows the lights to work with less power. As a bonus, since the lights are under less stress when dimmed, they last longer, so you will be replacing lightbulbs less often. If this doesn’t appeal to you, you can also purchase smart bulbs that dim through an app on your phone. The cool thing about these bulbs is that many are also RGB, meaning you can change them to any color you want. However, these have the highest upfront cost of any lightbulb, so it will be a long time before they pay themselves off. Consider the trade-off carefully.
3. Turn Off And Unplug Any Unnecessary Appliances
We don’t often think about how many appliances we have plugged in 24/7 in our homes. But these appliances draw power even when not in use. This power drain is known as standby power or vampire loads. Vampire loads use electricity even when your electronics are off. Examples include your smart TV, computer, video game consoles, cable box, and even your coffee maker. By unplugging any unnecessary appliances or electronics, you could save around 10% on your electricity bill. An added bonus is that regularly unplugged items are safe from power surges, which can damage them and shorten their lifespan.
4. Use Smart Power Strips and Plugs
Sometimes it can be hard to get to the outlets for appliances and electronics. This is where smart power strips and plugs are handy. While traditional power strips are useful, plugged-in devices will still draw power unless switched off manually. Smart power strips can cut the power to the devices by connecting to an app on your phone. You can either cut the power by turning it on and off whenever you like or set up a schedule. Some even support energy monitoring, so you can look at the data and see just how much energy each device is using.
5. Install A Programmable Thermostat
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling costs just by setting your thermostat back 7-10 degrees for 8 hours a day. While traditional thermostats can be adjusted manually, programmable thermostats are great because they automatically adjust the temperature based on your set schedule. So you can set it to turn the temperature up or down (depending on the time of year) when you go to bed so you can save money while staying comfortable. Many can also work with your phone, so you can adjust the temperature remotely if you’re away for long periods of time.
6. Get A Power Audit
A power or energy audit calculates how much electricity you are using and where it is going in your home. You can do a basic audit with an online calculator to give yourself an idea of how much energy each of your appliances is using and identify which ones are costing the most money. Alternatively, to do a more in-depth audit, you can hire a professional auditor to identify where and how energy is wasted. They will then propose improvements to help you save energy and lower your power bill. This is a service that we offer here at Service Detectives as a part of our home protection plans.
7. Install Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans can be a great way to offset the use of your air unit. By using them, you can often hold off on turning on your air unit in the spring until a bit later. When used in conjunction with your air unit, it can also help it work less hard. Air conditioning uses more electricity than any other household appliance. The average ceiling fan uses around 75 watts to the 2000 watts the average air unit uses.
While ceiling fans don’t lower the temperature, they work to cool you down by using an effect called wind-chill. The wind chill effect that fans give off can help you by allowing you to adjust the temperature higher while still feeling comfortable. Because fans don’t lower the room temperature, always remember to turn them off when you’re not in the room to ensure you’re saving as much energy and money as possible.
8. Install Motion Sensor Lights
Do you have an outdoor porch light that you like to have on when you come home or a security light that you leave on overnight? Or maybe you have rooms in the house with less traffic where the lights are often left on accidentally? You could save money by installing motion sensor lights and switches in their place. Keep in mind that there is a small amount of vampire load that these lights use when off. However, when the alternative is leaving a light on that you’re not using, they are still more economical.
9. Take Advantage Of Off-Peak Rates
Depending on where you live, your energy provider may offer cheaper electricity rates depending on the time of day. This time frame is usually somewhere between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. You can save money by doing laundry or running the dishwasher during this time. Many of these appliances even have timers now so that you can set them and let them run while you’re sleeping.
10. Purchase ENERGY STAR Certified Appliances
This tip is pretty straightforward. ENERGY STAR appliances and products are guaranteed to save you money by using less electricity or water than standard appliances. The EPA established the ENERGY STAR program in 1992 to create a single standard for energy-efficient products. In 2018, ENERGY STAR and its partners were able to help consumers save nearly 430 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity and avoid $35 billion in energy costs. Check all your large appliances; if they don’t have an energy star label, they are likely costing you a lot of extra money. ENERGY STAR also has a convenient tool to help you find out how efficient your home is compared to other similar homes.
For more tips on how to save money or to schedule an appointment to upgrade your home, give our friendly office team a call today at 618.993.HELP  or book online using the handy button above and schedule your whole home electrical evaluation with our expert electricians.
Remember, we care more because your family is our family too!