With an average electricity price going up by 7.5% from 2021, which is the highest growth since 2006, it is good to remind ourselves on how to save on electricity bill and lower the monthly spending.
I've collected a few of the most common energy-saving ideas, so you can learn how to cut down on your energy use and reduce the amount you spend on energy bills. Plus, you'll have a positive impact on the environment too, which is always a fantastic bonus to have!
1) Change the Air Filter on Your AC
Filters in air conditioners are designed to trap dust and allergens from the air. However, they are bound to get dirty and clogged after extended use.
Your air conditioner will have to work more and be less effective overall if the air filter is blocked with debris. So, regularly changing out your dirty filters will help you save money on your cooling costs.
2) Avoid the Tumble Dryer
Out of all standard household appliances, the dryer uses the most energy.
A standard dryer uses 3000 watts to operate, costing approximately 30 cents per hour when in use. For a household that uses their dryer 4 hours a week, switching to air-drying can save close to $80 a year!
By using a clothesline or drying rack, you can ditch your tumble dryer completely. However, if you don't have the space to line dry or use a drying rack, consider switching your tumble dryer to a heat pump dryer. This switch can save about 20-60% of energy.
3) Throw in a Dry Towel When Doing Laundry
When it comes to laundry, we're constantly looking for ways to save time and money. And while there are many things you can do to make your life easier, one thing you might want to try is throwing in a dry towel when drying clothes.
If you've never tried this trick before, here's why you should give it a shot: A dry towel absorbs moisture from wet clothing, saving energy costs and cutting down on drying time.
4) Wash Clothes in Cold Water
Switching from a hot water cycle to a cold water cycle can significantly impact your energy usage. In fact, approximately 90% of the energy a washing machine uses is to heat water. That is a lot of energy saved from making one simple switch!
5) Don't Run Your Appliances Unless They're Full
If you have a smaller household, you'll have fewer dirty dishes. This means it can take longer for a dishwasher to become full. The same goes for laundry; a couple living alone will have much less laundry to wash compared to a family of 5.
Though it may be tempting to run your dishwasher or washing machine before they're full, it can cost you. $30 a year, to be exact, if you're consistently washing small loads of laundry. Additionally, if you're running a half-empty dishwasher every time you do your dishes, you can cut your dishwasher's energy consumption in half by waiting until it is full.
6) Use Curtains
During the colder months, drawing your curtains might help reduce the amount of heat that escapes through the windows. Because curtains can minimize the heating and cooling needed in a home, using curtains (or other types of window shades) is an excellent approach to increasing your home's energy efficiency.
7) Don't Block Your Air Vents
Furniture or drapes are often placed over heating vents. This blocks airflow through the ducts and keeps the heat inside. Doing this can cause your utility bills to go up and may damage your furnishings. Place your furniture away from the vent to make your home more energy efficient.
8) Unplug It if You're Not Using It
You probably don't think about how much energy your devices use when idle, but there are some things you might want to consider unplugging — like microwaves, phone chargers, and even computers.
On average, a household can save up to $100 a year simply by unplugging electrical devices when they're not in use because electronics can still draw in power when plugged in, despite being shut off.
9) Turn Down Your Thermostat at Night
Lowering the temperature before you go to bed is a great strategy to conserve energy and money on heating. By turning your heat down by 7-15 degrees, you can save about 10% of your energy cost annually.
Grab an extra blanket and wear warmer PJs if you have difficulty tolerating colder temperatures.
10) Lower the Water Heater Temperature
The temperature setting on your water heater does not need to be scalding hot. Lowering the water temperature setting can have a significant impact on energy costs. Also, if you have young children, a lower hot water setting can prevent them from burning their hands.
To save energy, ensure your water heater is set to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Most water heaters are set to 140 degrees Fahrenheit; however, the Department of Energy states that water heaters can be set as low as 120 degrees.
Depending on how often you use water (for laundry, dishes, and showers), you can save up to $400 or more in energy costs.
11) Take Cold Showers
Taking cold showers has many health benefits, but did you know they can save you up to $150 annually on your utility bill?
And if you don't want to sacrifice your hot showers, simply switching to a more energy-efficient shower head can save $70 a year!
12) Use Natural Light
Lighting accounts for approximately 20% of your electricity bill, which can add up to $200 a year.
So, if you live in a space with many windows, why not take advantage of natural light? The sun provides us with free energy all day long, so it makes sense to let it into our homes.
Windows also provide a source of passive solar heat, which means that sunlight entering your home will warm the interior without any costs to you.
13) Use LED Bulbs
Switch out your old incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient LED bulbs. These bulbs use less electricity than traditional bulbs and last longer, too.
14) Install a Dimmer
A dimmer lets you control how much power goes into each bulb, which can allow you to limit the amount of energy your lightbulbs use. As a result, your light bulb lasts longer and reduces energy costs. In fact, using a manual dimmer can save you between 6-9% of energy!
15) Weatherstrip Your Doors and Windows
Weatherstripping keeps heat inside your house during the cold months. If you don't weatherstrip your doors and windows, the cold outside air can easily enter your home. This causes drafts that make your house colder, causing your heater to work harder.
By weatherstripping your doors and windows, you can save 5-10% on your electricity bill! You can weatherstrip your windows by:
- Installing draft guards
- Sealing up gaps around your door frames
- Use caulking to fill cracks
Other Benefits of Saving Energy
We've already discussed several ways you can save electricity to save money. However, saving electricity does much more than cutting down your energy costs.
Protect air quality and prevent climate change
According to the EIA, power plants produced 1.55 billion metric tons of CO2 in 2022 (99% of emissions came from coal, natural gas, and petroleum power plants). Electric power is responsible for 25% of greenhouse gas emissions, making it the 2nd biggest producer of greenhouse gas emissions and one of the biggest contributors to climate change.
If you want to protect the environment and prevent climate change, save electricity!
Conserve limited natural resources
Currently, about 62% of electric power comes from natural resources such as coal, natural gas, and petroleum. The remaining 38% comes from renewable resources such as wind, solar, and water. Since most energy production comes from limited resources, saving electricity in your home will greatly impact the conservation of these resources.
Save ecosystems and animals
Climate change and CO2 emissions don't only affect the weather; they can drastically change the habitats that animals need to survive. These changes can cause animals to migrate, become endangered, or even die out completely. For example, the ocean does a great job absorbing CO2. However, large amounts of CO2 can increase the pH level of ocean water, making the water more acidic. Ocean acidification has had, and continues to have, a big impact on shellfish populations.
Oysters are especially vulnerable to ocean acidification because they use calcium carbonate to build up their shells. Since calcium carbonate is effortless to dissolve, oyster larvae are dying by the billions. When we conserve energy, we reduce carbon emissions and help preserve ecosystems to keep animals healthy and safe.
If you want to lower your carbon footprint and save money on your electricity bill, consider implementing some of the tips mentioned above.
Although each may appear small individually, they can amount to significant cost savings over time.
The best and simplest way to reduce electricity usage is to make small lifestyle changes.