Have you ever opened your electricity bill and wonder what in the world costs so much? While we all need to use some level of electricity for normal daily functions, electricity bills that run into the hundreds of dollars can seem excessive. Oftentimes, we’re simply overusing appliances that use a disproportionate amount of energy.
If you’re looking to slash your electricity bill, start by reducing your usage of these appliances.
1. Air conditioner
Staying cool in the summertime is no frugal chore. Your air conditioner consumes electricity like perhaps no other appliance. Of course, you don’t want to just turn it off. You’d sweat through your clothes. Instead, try these tips for lessening AC usage.
- Run the fan. While the compressor in your air conditioner uses tons of energy, the fan does not. Run the fan from time to time to keep air circulated and fresh.
- Turn it up. You don’t need to keep your thermostat set to 68 degrees to stay comfortable. Up to 71 degrees can remain comfortable indoors.
- Get a programmable AC. Your air conditioner will continue to run all day, even if you are at work. That wastes energy. If you get a programmable thermostat, you can program it to run when you are home, and stay idle when you are not, saving energy.
2. Electric heater
On the flip side of cooling costs is the cost to heat your home. For the most part this is not accomplished with electricity. Most homes use oil or natural gas to generate heat. But many home owners opt for different forms of heating for individual rooms. It can cost you plenty.
While different types of electric heaters consume different amounts of electricity, for the most part they consume a good chunk. If you use an electric heater to power your bedroom at night, you will notice a significant spike in your electricity bill.
The solution is to create a balance. Figure out how much the electricity costs you, and how much oil costs. Then decide if you’d rather turn up the thermostat or continue using your electric heater.
No, you can’t just turn off your refrigerator to save energy. It doesn’t work that way, unfortunately. Your refrigerator and freezer will continue to run. At least they’re preserving food while running up your electricity bill.
There is really only one way to save with your refrigerator, and that is to turn up the temperature. Yet there is a practical limit to that. Turn it too high and food will spoil faster. But when you turn the temperature low, you’re consuming far too much energy. Keep it in a mid-low range and you’ll keep food fresh while conserving energy.
4. Water heater
That big tank in your basement uses more water than you might think. It’s not as though it turns on only when you open your hot water taps. Your water heater keeps that entire tank warm all day long, which consumes a very high amount of energy. There are a couple of things you can do about it.
The first is to ensure that the temperature is set to between 120 and 125 degrees. Anything higher is excessive, and can cause burns. The other solution is to install a tankless water heater. This type of heater, which does not use a tank, saves energy because it only heats your water when you turn on a hot tap. That is, there is no tank to keep warm throughout the day.
5. Washer and dryer
Laundry is another household task that is unavoidable. The more people in your home, the higher your electricity bill will run from doing laundry. In order to combat the high nature of laundry costs, you can take a few measures.
First, wash with cold water. Washing with hot water can damage clothes anyway, but using hot water means using electricity. Second, air dry whatever clothes you can. This isn’t always possible, but if you can save even a load per month by hanging clothes on a line outside, it will make a difference in your electricity bill.
A modern convenience is also a modern electricity hot. The good news is that most families, even large ones, won’t run the dishwasher every day. The bad news is that in order to power modern dishwashers you’ll expend plenty of electricity. How can you cut back on this?
The first way is to hand wash when you can. If your top rack fills faster than your bottom rack, hand wash some items that go on the top rack — and vice versa. That way you can ensure that you’re running your dishwasher when it is filled to capacity.
7. Oven and stove
Families that cook at home save a lot of money. They’re not spending on fast food and other take out that can run up food budgets. But they’re also using plenty of electricity with the oven and stove. Here’s how you can cut down if you cook at home most nights.
- Time your oven. Know exactly how long it takes to preheat to 350, 400, 425, and 450 degrees. Then you won’t waste any time.
- Pan fry when possible. Your range uses less electricity than your oven, so if you can pan fry something it will use less energy than baking.
- Go gas. Yes, it’s a big change, but gas not only costs less than electricity, but it is also better for stovetop cooking.
8. Desktop PC
The more you use your computer, the more energy it consumes. If you’re using your computer not only for internet browsing, but also as a media machine, you’re going to use lots of energy. And really, there is no alternative if this is how you use your computer. As you’ll see in the next section, the other ways to consume media will also run up your electricity bill.
If you think you can save energy by moving your media from your PC to your television, think again. While your computer consumes more energy alone than your television, your TV consumes plenty itself. Not only that, but for media functions you probably need other components. Add a video game system, a DVD/BluRay player, and other devices, and now you’re consuming as much electricity as your PC.
10. Vacuum cleaner
Want to save energy? Clean up less. Of course, that’s not really feasible. You might use your vacuum cleaner only a few times a week, but it really eats through electricity when it’s on. The only practical way to conserve is to vacuum faster.