Your utility bills can feel like a mystery. There are a lot of factors that go into your bill, but there are also a lot of things you can do to lower your electric rates and save money.
Some utilities offer “time-of-use” rate plans that pay you less for electricity when demand is lowest. These programs are especially helpful for people who own electric cars or plug-in hybrids.
Turn Down the Thermostat
Keeping your home at the same temperature when you’re awake and then turning it down while you’re out and asleep can save you some money. The energy company recommends a night setback of at least 68 degrees.
Heating accounts for a significant percentage of household energy bills. It’s also a major contributor to global warming, so conserving as much energy as possible during the winter is important.
Lowering your thermostat is one of the best ways to reduce heating costs. Having a properly insulated home and sealing any drafts is another. Also, using ceiling fans during the day and running them in reverse at night can help with heat retention and air circulation.
However, many wonder if turning down the thermostat saves you money. It’s true that heating your home at a slightly warmer temperature during the day and turning it down at night can significantly reduce your electric bill, but does it make a difference?
Change Your Lights
When it comes to lowering electricity bills, plenty of tips can help. From converting to LED bulbs to installing energy-efficient appliances, many small changes can add up to big-time savings each month.
One easy way to save on your electric bills is to capitalize on off-peak rates. Many utility companies offer discounted electric rates in Pennsylvania during off-peak hours, such as early morning or late night. Use a simple outlet timer to put your appliances and lighting on a schedule so they are running during off-peak hours.
You can also lower your electric bills by switching to a different supplier and rate plan. If you live in a deregulated market, enter your zip code to see what options are available. Energy Star products, such as washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, air conditioners, and refrigerators, can save you more on your electric bills by using less energy. They can even qualify for Energy Star rebates and tax credits. Energy-efficient appliances can reduce your electricity costs and increase the value of your home.
Don’t Leave Appliances Running
The easiest way to lower your energy rates is to turn appliances off. Leaving them on or in standby mode uses electricity even when they aren’t actively using it, which drives up your bill. These gadgets, known as “energy vampires,” include coffee makers, headset chargers, laptop computers, TVs, and more. Unplugging these devices or putting them into “energy-saving” modes can save you between 5 and 10 percent on your bill each month.
Another way to decrease your energy usage is to reduce the number of times you run your washer and dryer. It’s best to only use them when they are needed. Keeping them running continuously wastes energy and uses more water than necessary.
You can also lower your electricity bill by using a smart meter. It allows you to check your consumption and set schedules for using appliances based on prices, which is particularly helpful if you’re on a time-of-use tariff. For example, you can reduce your costs by drying your clothes at night rather than during the day and using the dishwasher only when it’s full.
Switch to Energy-Efficient Appliances
It’s no secret that using energy-efficient appliances helps lower electric bills. However, if you’re looking for more ways to save, several state, local, and utility rebates are also available. Also, appliances labeled with the EPA’s Energy Star can save you even more, using up to 12% less energy and 30% less water.
In addition, for some power providers, there are “real-time” rates during parts of the day when usage is low (like early in the morning or late at night), allowing you to pay a lower electricity price than you use during those times.
Another simple tip is to reduce the amount of “always-on” electronics in your home by unplugging things you’re not using or putting them on a power strip that can be switched off. This alone could cut your electric bill by several dollars each month. Lastly, clean your appliances and replace their air filters regularly, which will help them work more efficiently. This is one of the simplest and most effective ways to reduce your energy costs in any home.
Switch to Energy-Efficient Lighting
Lighting is a huge energy user, and switching to efficient lighting can significantly lower electricity bills. Energy-efficient lights use 25–80% less energy than traditional bulbs, and they have a much longer lifespan, so you’ll save even more money in the long run.
Energy-efficient lighting also emits less heat, so it can help reduce your cooling costs during the summer months. And since electricity rates are often based on kilowatt hours, every little saving can add up quickly.
Choosing energy-efficient lighting also helps reduce carbon dioxide emissions, so it’s a good choice for the environment. If you’re still using old, inefficient bulbs or fixtures, consider upgrading to newer LEDs and CFLs that meet the latest Energy Star standards. The Biden administration is moving forward with common-sense light bulb efficiency rules that will gradually phase out the sale of incandescent bulbs and halogens, so it’s time to start making the switch! Adding dimmers can also give you more control over the brightness of your lighting and save electricity by not leaving it on all the time.