Reduce Your Monthly Electric Bill with These Simple Tips
It may seem like common sense, but it pays to check that all of your vents are turned to the open position. Some think that closing vents in certain areas of the home saves energy, but it actually just makes your heating or cooling unit work harder. Additionally, be sure to change your air filters monthly. This household task is often overlooked, and the dirty filters can make it harder for the air to pass through. Using fans can also be a great way to save energy. Although fans won't cool the air in your home, they will move air around and evenly distribute the cool air. Most ceiling fans have a switch that you can turn to change the direction your fan runs. In the winter, you want it to be slowly rotating clockwise to pull cool air up. In the summer, turn it to a higher speed spinning counter-clockwise so that cool air is pushed straight down.
Choose energy-saving options on appliances
Not everyone can afford to buy special energy-saving appliances, but you can lower your electric costs just by changing a few of your habits. If at all possible, wash your laundry in cold water. Paying attention to the size of your loads can also help. Although you want to try to launder as many clothes as possible in one load, don't try to do too many at a time. At the most, your dryer should be three-quarters full. Without some space for the clothes to tumble, it will take much longer to dry them. You can also try using wool dryer balls. Just toss them in with your load to reduce drying time. These same principles can also be used to cut down on the amount of electricity your dishwasher uses. Most machines come with an option to disable the heat dry. If you're afraid of water spots on your dishes, a rinse aid should prevent them. Check your user manual to make sure you are loading your dishwasher efficiently so that you can wash as many dishes as possible in one load. Finally, it's worth checking with your electric company to see if they offer lower rates during non-peak hours. If they do, you might be able to save a significant amount of money just by doing your laundry and running your dishwasher in the late evening.
Minimize your electronics use
Though electronics generally only use a small fraction of your overall household's electricity, it still may make a difference to put a few practices in place that will cut their use. The electronics that use the most energy tend to be electric tea kettles and gaming systems, plasma TVs, desktop computers that are left on. Be conscious of the way you use these, and shut them off when possible. It's common sense to turn off anything that uses electricity when it's not in use, but many people neglect to do so. To make it more likely that you shut everything off when leaving a room, you might try plugging several items in on a power strip and then just flip the switch to turn off several items at once.
Change your cooking habits
Replace aluminum or other metal cookware with glass as it is a better conductor of heat. Also, make sure your food is thawed before you begin cooking to reduce the time it needs on the stove and try to cook with the lid on. You can also experiment with grilling or cooking in a Dutch oven over an open fire. Not only will this eliminate the need for electricity to prepare your meal, you also won't be heating up the kitchen in the summer and causing your air conditioner to work overtime.
Sometimes little changes can really add up, and this is certainly the case with energy usage. At another time, you might be able to make big impacts like installing solar panels or buying energy efficient windows, but for now, just pick a few small changes to make and stick to them until they seem like second nature. Once you have those down, make a few more changes. Before you know it, your electricity bill will be falling and you will feel great about the changes you've made.
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