10 Ways to Save Money on Your Electric Bill

by Sean Bryant on June 28, 2012

The temperatures here in Denver have been over 100 degrees for the past five days. We might not have much humidity, but the sun is intense and that means houses can begin to heat up quite early in the morning. I have found that to keep our house cool all day, the air conditioner runs non-stop. Because of this, we need to learn how to save energy in different ways. Below I have listed ten of the best ways to save money on your electric bill.

Insulation

One of the easiest ways to lose cool air in the summer or warm air in the winter is to have poor insulation in your home. If you live in a relatively new house then this shouldn’t be a big issue, as long as your builder knew what they were doing and followed basic protocols. If you live in an older house then you might want to consider upgrading your homes insulation to make sure there are no air traps costing you money.

My first job out of college was managing a housing development project and one of the biggest mistakes I saw was a lack of insulation around the window frames. There is usually a small half inch gap between the window and the frame that they somehow always forget to fill. This can cause a huge loss of air. To see if you have a problem with insulation take a lighter or a match and if it flickers by the window then you know air is getting out.

Windows

If you live anywhere in the upper half of the United States or in Canada, having double pane windows in almost a must. Double pane windows can help cut heat or air transfers by as much as 40 or 50 percent. If you have single pane windows it’s not completely necessary to go out and replace all of your windows if money is tight. You should however look into adding storm windows. These will help to add a second layer of protection.

Install Storm Doors & Weatherstrip Doors

Just like the added layer of protection that a double pane window can provide, a storm door can do the same thing for your exterior doors. Entrance doors can be one of the biggest losses of energy in your home. You need to make sure that you have proper weather stripping on the bottom and side of your doors. This little addition can help reduce your heating or air conditioner usage by 10 to 20 percent.

Place Window Air Units in a Shady Area

If your home uses window air units try to place them in north facing windows. This will keep them out of direct sunlight for a majority of the day and will reduce their workload.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

By installing a programmable thermostat you are able to set the temperatures accordingly.  I always turn the temperature up on the air and down on the heat when I go to bed or I am not home. This is one of the easiest ways to help save money on your electric bill.

Lower your Heat When Entertaining in the Winter

If you are going to have a large group of people over in the wintertime you can turn your heat down a few degrees. When you have a group of people in your home they give off body heat which will naturally heat up a room. If you leave your heat at the same level you will just have wasted energy.

Keep Heat Producing Items Away from Your Thermostat

Do not place any lamps or electrical devices near your thermostat. Because these all produce heat it will be misleading in terms of room temperature, making your heat or air run more than it should.

Never Put a Second Refrigerator in the Garage

If you have a second refrigerator then you should put it in your basement and never in the garage. In the winter, your food could melt because if the temperature drops below 42 degrees the temperature sensor might not activate the compressor. In the summer, your garage can get extremely hot and this will cause the refrigerator to work extra hard just to keep your food cold.

Use a Crockpot instead of the Stove and Oven

When fixing a meal try using a crockpot instead of your oven or stove if possible.  Not only does the crockpot use less energy, but in the summertime it produces less heat. This will cut down on the  amount your air conditioner is working.

Start Using Energy Efficient Light Bulbs

By changing the light bulbs in your house to Compact Florescent lighting (CFL’s) you will be using 75 percent less energy and these bulbs will last eight to ten times longer.  If you are like me and you don’t really like the way that CFL’s look you can consider using high efficient halogen lighting instead.

If you follow these ten tips then you will be well on your way to beginning to lower your electric bill.

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Sean Bryant

Sean Bryant created OneSmartDollar.com in 2011 to help pass along his knowledge of finance and economics to others. After graduating from the University of Iowa with a degree in economics he worked as a construction superintendent before jumping into the world of finance. Sean has worked on the trade desk for a commodities brokerage firm, he was a project manager for an investment research company and was a CDO analyst at a big bank. That being said he brings a good understanding of the finance field to the One Smart Dollar community. When not working Sean and he wife are avid world travelers. He enjoys spending time with his daughter Colette and dog Charlie.
  • http://www.howimportantisyourfinance.com/ Salvador Antonacci

    Excellent article , I did change all the light bulbs in my house after remodeling my kitchen,and what a different.Tanks for sharing.

  • http://www.dollarversity.com Eric J. Nisall – DollarVersity

    Also call your power company and see if they have any special programs. I researched a bunch of power companies for a post and a lot of them will give you a rebate or credit in exchange for installing a switch that they can use to switch off your air compressor during high consumption times. Most say that it doesn’t even happen very often, but you still get the savings.

  • http://twitter.com/seedebtrun See Debt Run

    We need new windows, but it’s going to have to wait until next year…and I’m not even sure we can swing it then. Anyway, before I depress myself…:)…great tips, Sean! The fridge in the basement is such good advice!!! I’ve never thought of that. My parents used to have a HUGE chest freezer out in the garage, but I’m sure they spent more to cool it in the Summer than they saved in buying clearance meat in bulk. We turned down a FREE fridge a couple years ago because of that.
    -M

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