10 Clever Ways To Stop Wasting Money on Electricity

Electric meters in a row measuring power use.
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The electricity bill can often come as an unwelcome surprise, particularly after intense usage, such as during a heat wave, or high utilization of a home office or kitchen. While electricity is a necessary expense, it doesn’t always have to be outrageous. You don’t have to become too ruthless to save money, either, particularly if you put one or several of these clever practices into place.

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Invest In LED Lightbulbs

When you think about what wastes electricity in your home, you might not even count lightbulbs in your mental tally. If you’re still relying on old incandescent light bulbs, however, you’re wasting a lot of electricity and money.

Switching to LED bulbs will save you significant money over time, because they use 75% less energy and last as much as 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

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According to EarthEasy.com, an average household can save over $3,600 for about 25,000 hours of light time, by switching from incandescent to LED bulbs.

Purchase Energy Star Appliances

The average household spends over $2,000 per year in energy, a significant portion of which is electricity, according to EnergyStar.gov. By investing in Energy Star certified products, which typically use around 35% less energy, you can save $250 or more on your bill. While you do pay for them up front, the savings more than pay you back over time.

Use Power Strips

There are definitely some electronics in your home that need to stay on all the time, but there are just as many you can easily turn off, to save on electricity. EnergyStar.gov recommends using power strips that have on/off switches and trying to group “always on” devices separate from those that can be turned off, so you can control the electricity to TVs or other devices when not in use.

Powerful Advice: 20 Insider Tips To Save Money on Every Part of Your Home

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Utilize Your Blinds

Some of the simplest electricity-saving tips don’t require interacting with anything electronic at all. Utilizing your blinds can help regulate the temperature in your home, thus potentially your need to use heating and air conditioning.

According to Electric Rate, if you open your blinds in winter and close them in summer, you can keep your house warmer or cooler as needed, thus saving on the electricity to power your heating and cooling devices. Though some heat and AC are gas-powered, many people rely on electric heaters and air conditioners.

Invest In Solar Panels

Sometimes, to save money, you have to spend it. And what better way to save on electricity (and be gentle on the environment) than to invest in solar panels and systems?

According to Energy Sage, the average household can save between $10,000 and $30,000 over the life of a solar panel system. In a state-by-state comparison, they found that a 6-kilowatt system for a house producing the national average of 10,649 kWh per year could save $14,107 over 20 years in Texas, $32,599 in California and $34,056 in Massachusetts.

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Many states also offer subsidies and tax write-offs for installing solar panel systems.

Use Smart Tools

We live in an era of smart technology designed to help you automate many electronic processes in your house, monitor your usage and control settings with the touch of a button, according to Energy.gov.

Things such as smart meters help you track usage; smart appliances can turn on and off or keep your house at a certain temperature. Smart devices should be a first-line approach, especially if you’re looking to upgrade or replace old appliances, heating or cooling systems.

Dishwashers Are Better Than Hand Washing

It may seem like dishwashers are a big electricity suck, but the truth is they save energy and water over hand washing, according to CNET.

If you upgrade to an Energy Star-certified dishwasher, according to the California Energy Commission, you can save $40 in utility costs and as much as 5,000 gallons of water each year.

Cook in Bulk

If you spend a lot of time cooking in your kitchen — particularly if you have an electric stove, oven and other appliances — consider cooking in bulk, according to Electric Rate. You use the same amount of electricity on your appliances whether they’re full or partially full; but, by cooking in bulk, you reduce the amount of energy you spend.

Bonus: You’ll spend less time cooking, too, meaning more time for other activities you enjoy.

Also Find: 12 Household Items You Should Be Replacing Regularly

Use a Fan Instead of AC

If your summers are hot and you’re tempted to turn on some glacial air conditioning, first consider installing ceiling fans in the rooms you frequent the most. According to the U.S. Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC), a ceiling fan can chill a room by 10 degrees or more while using just 10% of the energy that a central air conditioner does.

Seal the Cracks

On a related topic, you may be leaking air out of your house in a number of small, barely visible ways that are letting in cold air in winter or releasing it in summer. According to the NRDC, air commonly escapes through windows, doors and faulty stripping or insulation. Most local utilities will do an energy audit to help you find those leaks, and then you can fix them with new stripping or insulation, replace old windows and doors with newer, energy-smart ones, and reap the benefits in your electricity bill.

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About the Author

Jordan Rosenfeld is a freelance writer and author of nine books. She holds a B.A. from Sonoma State University and an MFA from Bennington College. Her articles and essays about finances and other topics has appeared in a wide range of publications and clients, including The Atlantic, The Billfold, Good Magazine, GoBanking Rates, Daily Worth, Quartz, Medical Economics, The New York Times, Ozy, Paypal, The Washington Post and for numerous business clients. As someone who had to learn many of her lessons about money the hard way, she enjoys writing about personal finance to empower and educate people on how to make the most of what they have and live a better quality of life.

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