Winter is when utility bill balances head up for most people. For those using electric heat, saving on electricity will be critical, as the weather gets colder. There are several easy ways to trim that sky-high electric bills of course, and this article will lay them out for you.
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Almost every utility company runs an energy savings program. They will send someone out to evaluate your energy usage and wastage and help you design a plan that will reduce your energy needs. With this plan, you might have to invest some money, but the final expenses will be lower since you will be using less electricity over time.
There are numerous ways you can cut costs with simple day-to-day actions too.
- Dry your clothes on the line. This is how generations of people dried their clothes before dryers were so popular. A dryer takes a ton of electricity to run, and not using it may mean less shrinkage at the same time.
- Wash clothes and dishes with cold water. Many dishwashers electrically heat water internally to a higher temperature and most dishes just don’t need it. The same is true for most of your clothes. Save the hot water for sheets and towels.
- Start replacing your incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. While these bulbs cost more up front, they save a great deal of electricity. If changing them all seem like a huge cost, make the switch gradually so it won’t feel so overwhelming.
- Used appliances may seem cheaper, but remember to replace them with ones that are at least semi-recent that is Energy Star qualified..
- Turn off and unplug computer equipment and accessories. Many such things drain power constantly, even while off. Removing them from the plug keeps them from drawing power.
- Clean the filters and keep up with maintenance. Heaters and air conditioners, even window units, have filters that keep the circulating air clean. When these filters are filled, the unit has to work harder to pump air, resulting in a greater energy drain. Filters should be cleaned monthly.
- Use passive solar energy. Open those curtains on the sunny side of your home and let the sun shine in. The sun can warm up an entire room very effectively without using a drop of electricity. During the summer, you can close the same drapes and reduce the load on your air conditioner.
- Consider using space heaters and only heat the room where people are. Drop the temperature at night and add a blanket or two to the bed, and keep the daytime temperature lower while wearing a sweater.
If you are fortunate enough to live in an area where the utilities have been deregulated then call all the local companies and compare the rates. Be wary of introductory rates that will change in a few months, once you have signed on. It isn’t unusual to have some up front costs when changing utility companies, so you want to avoid frequent changes.
Finally, if you can’t avoid the expense, at least ask your utilities company about a budget plan. Many will anticipate your usage for the year and have you pay a set amount each month, so at least you can plan your budget more easily.