26 easy steps to save money on your electric bill

From turning your lights off when you’re not in the room to not running water while brushing your teeth, there are a lot of ways you can save money

From rent or mortgages to water and electric to trash removal and yard work, there are a lot of costs that comes from living in a home or apartment. You may work to find and negotiate with the providers with the best service at the best price. You may shop around or participate in special promotions to try and get that deal you need on your living expenses and utilities.

Utilities are required but can also be an inconvenience to pay. To go about your everyday activities, you’ll need things like water, heat, air conditioning and electricity to work when you want them to. In fact, an article from NerdWallet by Stephen Layton says that families spend $2,200 per year on utilities, according to the Energy Department. So when you can find opportunities to save – however small – those steps can make a big difference.

But did you know there are also easy steps you can take to cut down your utilities bill each month? Especially when it comes to your electric bill, there are several ways you can save money without sacrificing your lifestyle practices. And there’s more than just remembering to turn the lights off when you leave a room.

Here, we share 26 ways you can easily save on your electric bill. These simple steps are easy to incorporate into your lifestyle without sacrificing on things you enjoy. Since there are a plethora of ways to alter your usage, we’ve broken it down into the categories of heating and cooling, water and power.

How to save on your home’s heating and cooling costs

According to an article from USA Today by N’dea Yancey-Bragg, heating and cooling are most responsible for the cost on your monthly energy bill. Therefore, finding ways to optimize the energy you use in either heating up your home or cooling down your space can really come in handy.

  1. Use a Ceiling Fan – During those hot days when you just can’t seem to cool down, opt for a ceiling fan rather than cranking the air conditioning. Yancy-Bragg states that using a ceiling fan doesn’t require as much energy as A/C, and you can still cool down your space in the heat.
  2. Use an Attic Fan – Like a ceiling fan, an attic fan can also help cool down your home when it’s roasting outside. An article from The Balance notes how an attic fan will pull cool air down into the house and clear out the hot air that keeps the home stuffy.
  3. Seal Up the House – To avoid hot air in your house when you’re trying to cool down, or allowing cold air to sneak in on a frigid day, make sure your doors, windows and any other outdoor connections are properly sealed. While those small cracks and gaps may seem insignificant, an article from USA Today notes that they can really add up.
  4. Clean Your Vents – Add this to your list of monthly cleaning. Yancey-Bragg notes how it’s helpful to clean your HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) unit monthly. Clearing out the filters will allow air to push through the vents better without being clogged and requiring more energy to send air out. Keeping your HVAC in its prime condition, including being cleaned and inspected, will help it to run at its highest efficiency.
  1. Go Digital with Your Thermostat

A programmable thermostat can give you the power to control the temperature at specific times of the day. This allows you to change the temperature when you’re out of the house and when you return back home. Having this capability can greatly improve your electric bill as you’ll be more intentional about the temperature you set.

  1. Keep those Blinds Closed

While it may be refreshing to open up the blinds on your windows and keep them open all day, doing so may also cause your electric bill to be high. When you keep your blinds closed in the summer, the bright sunshine won’t heat up your house, so you won’t have to crank the A/C. In the winter, the cold air that can sneak in through your windows is partially sealed with the blinds closed. However, if your windows are sealed, let your blinds open to allow bright, warm sunshine in your home to warm up your space.

  1. Stay Insulated

Keeping proper insulation in your home can prevent those cold winter days from getting to you while inside.

  1. Plant a Tree

A way to save money on your electric bill that doesn’t take place inside the home, but outside, is to plant a tree near a window. The shade that the tree will provide can help you lower your air conditioning and keep your house cooler.

How to lower your water bill

A second source of usage that comes through on your monthly bill may be the energy to heat up water. Thankfully, there are ways you can keep your water warm and your wallet happy.

  1. Turn Down the Water Heater

An article from USA Today suggests to turn the temperature on your water heater from the standard 140F down to 120F. You should barely be able to notice a difference and doing so can save your water heating costs a great deal.

  1. Wash Cold

Instead of washing all your clothes with warm or hot water, try washing them with cold water. This can help you save on energy needed to heat up the water for your load of laundry.

  1. Insulate your Hot Water Heater

Your hot water heater can draw in a lot of energy. Real Simple suggests to insulate your heater, especially if it is more than 7 years old. You can wrap it up in a precut blanket or jacket that fits hot water heaters. You can find these at most hardware stores.

  1. Change Up Your Showerhead

Have you thought about how your water usage is connected to the type of shower head you use? An article from Real Simple points out that a low-flow head uses a lot less water than older models – just about 2.5 gallons per minute. When you have less water pouring through your showerhead, it not only saves water but also saves on money to heat up that water for your shower.

  1. Stop the Drip

Prevent wasting water by fixing leaks. An article from NerdWallet mentions that that constant drip from a faucet can end up waste gallons of water.

How to decrease your electricity costs

In a house or space full of electronics and lighting, your electric bill also may very dependent on the power to support all your devices, electronics and appliances.

  1. Unplug

One very easy way to save money on power is to unplug your appliances and devices when you don’t use them. When you’re not charging your laptop or phone, unplug the charger from the wall. Not using a television for some time? Disconnect it to save money on your electric bill.

When wanting to unplug your appliances and electronics, an article from USA Today suggests to use a power strip so you have all your connected devices in one place.

  1. Stock the Fridge and Freezer

When you keep your fridge and freezer full, you can save money on your electric bill. According to an article from The Balance, keeping your appliances stocked allows them to be more efficient. The food in your fridge or freezer acts as an insulator. It also reduces the time the fridge needs to run in order to stay cold.

  1. Look for the Energy Star Label

When looking for new appliances and light bulbs, notice the special Energy Star labels found on the products. This label means that the appliance follows the specific energy-efficiency guidelines.

  1. Remove the Lint

To improve the efficiency for your dryer, keep the dryer lint trap clean. Wipe it down after every load to prevent a build up of lint. Not only will this allow the dryer to be more efficient, but it’ll also remove the fire hazard that is a result of a build-up of lint.

  1. Use Motion Detectors

If you find it difficult to remember to turn the lights off in the room when you leave, Real Simple suggests to consider installing motion detectors on lights, especially in kids’ rooms – who are more prone to leaving the lights on.

  1. Dim the Lights

If you don’t want to go for the full motion detector, you may want to consider having dimmer switches on your light fixtures. According to an article from The Balance, using a dimmer switch will help you not use as much light when you don’t need the full brightness, such as in the evenings.

  1. Wash Full Loads Only

Rather than starting a load of laundry whenever you have dirty clothes ready to go, try only doing laundry when you can have a full load. Doing so will ensure that you get the most out of the energy used in the washing machine process and stop you from wasting water and energy.

  1. Replace your lightbulbs

When it comes to the cost of lighting up your home, the type of lightbulb you choose to use can play a big part in the grand total. An article from Family Handyman says that replacing your old incandescent bulbs with the more efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs, CFLs, is one of the quickest ways to save money on lighting your home. The article notes that since CFLs use only about 25% of the energy of incandescent bulbs, they cost a lot less to keep on. CFLS also can last up to 10 times longer than older incandescents. That one simple switch of a lightbulb can make a big difference in your overall energy bill.

  1. Let Nature Dry Your Clothes

Rather than running your dryer often and using up energy, why not try and line dry some of your clothing items by putting them on a clothesline. The Balance notes that if you don’t have access to a clothesline, you can also hang up your laundry on a drying rack or even a shower rod to allow them to air dry and save you money on your electric bill.

  1. Just Dry Your Dishes

On your dishwasher, one of the biggest consumers of energy comes in the heated drying process after the wash. The Balance suggests to turn off the heat dry feature on your dishwasher and allow the dishes to dry normally. This small change can have a big influence in your monthly electric bill.

  1. Toss a Ball

Did you know that dryer balls help speed up the clothes drying process? According to The Balance, using dryer balls in your laundry process can lower your electric bill and save you money.

Other Ways to Save

  1. Know Your Energy Usage

Some energy companies will provide a free home energy audit, according to an article from The Balance. Use this service for your convenience so that you know what areas of your energy usage you may be spending too much on. This will also clue you into the specific ways in which you can cut down on your energy usage.

  1. Check Your Numbers

While rare, utility companies can make mistakes. To make sure you pay the right amount, an article from Bankrate.com suggests to check the meter and compare that number with what you see on your utility bill. This will help you be sure you are charged the correct amount.

Try Out a Strategy or Two

When looking to lower your electric bill, you don’t need to have a massive overhaul of appliances and home devices to be able to save money. With these quick, easy and simple steps, you can greatly reduce the amount you spend on your electric bill. With strategies like these, you don’t need to sacrifice what you love or sit in uncomfortable temperatures.

Keep your home running at optimal speed and efficiency by implementing some of these 26 practices that will lower your electric bill.