Want to save money on your electricity bill?
When you are looking to save money, where should you start? By making coffee at home? By shopping less? By avoiding meals out? What about on your energy bills?
Well, if you are looking to save money, your first thought might not be to try and lower your electricity bill. However, most households spend a huge chunk of their yearly budget on their electricity bills. And this is only set to increase over the next few years.
With governments talking about taxing oil and gas much more intensely on top of soaring oil and coal prices we should expect to see our energy bills going up. This price rise is likely to cause a lot of the smaller energy companies to shut down, giving the bigger companies more of a monopoly – which will increase our bills even more.
But, there is some good news, there are many things that you can do as a consumer to reduce your energy usage and therefore your bills.
The Importance of Saving Electricity
There are two main reasons that people want to reduce their electricity consumption – they want to reduce their energy bills and they want to reduce their impact on the environment. And it is more than possible to want to do both at the same time.
In the USA the average unit of energy costs 10.32 cents and this is set to rise. Hawaii is the most expensive state when it comes to energy costs, with the average unit costing 33 cents. In the next year, we could see energy costs hit an all-time high.
Why will a rise in energy costs have such a big impact on all our lives? Our energy consumption is affected by everything we do in our homes. Turning on the lights, using the oven, washing our clothes, and using the shower all use electricity.
By making small changes to how we do these things, we could see our bills slashed.
Saving the planet
The majority of the countries in the world still use fossil fuels (oil, coal, and gas) to produce their electricity. Burning fossil fuels produces a large range of chemicals, including greenhouse gases, all of which harm the world around us and contribute to climate change. Harvesting fossil fuels is also an incredibly harmful process for the people, animals, and plants that live in those areas.
By reducing the amount of electricity we use, we can lower the negative impact that we are having on the world.
21 Tips for saving electricity
Now, we have reached the part you have been waiting for – the 21 tips that are going to help you save money on your electricity bill. Let’s not wait any longer and dive right in.
1. Install a thermostat
Our first tip is to install a thermostat in your home and preferably one that you can control from your phone when you are out. Being able to control the temperature of your home with a touch of a button will make you more likely to be more practical with your heating system.
There have probably been a few moments in your life where you forgot to turn the central heating off before you left for work. Or there was an unexpectedly warm day so your heating was on for no reason. Being able to change the temperature becomes so much easier with a thermostat.
Did you know that if you lower your thermostat by 1 degree for 8 hours, you could reduce your overall heating bill by 1%? Even more interestingly, if you lower your thermostat by 3 degrees while you are out of the house you could reduce your energy bill by 10% for the whole year. Some people could save over $130 a year by doing this.
2. Use solar panels
As overall electricity prices rise, it might be time to think about producing your own energy. Not only can you use solar panel energy in your own home, but any energy you don’t use you can sell to electricity companies or to the national grid.
Solar panels are expensive to install, although they are a lot cheaper now than they were 5 years ago. And you will need to make sure they are facing the right way when you install them. However, they will be paying for themselves soon enough. Not only can you save money by using solar panels but you can also make money by using them.
On top of that, solar power is what we call renewable energy – meaning that it does not consume a finite resource and doesn’t have an negative impact on the environment.
3. Purchase efficient appliances
Many of our homes are full of old pieces of technology. There are many reasons why we are reluctant to replace them – replacing them might feel too expensive, we don’t want to be wasteful, we like how they look.
Most people don’t know that nearly all old appliances are very inefficient when it comes to energy usage. Our fridges and freezers are often labeled to show how energy efficient they are – but not our TVs, phone chargers, or toasters.
It is time to take stock of all the technology in your home and upgrade the parts that are losing you money. Like most things on this list, while the initial cost might seem like a lot of money, the cash that you save on your bill will more than make up for this in a year or two. You are investing for the future by upgrading appliances.
4. Install a new boiler
As well as upgrading your appliances, you should look into upgrading your boiler. Yes, this can be very expensive, but it will have a huge impact on both your water and your electricity bills.
Every year, new boiler models become more efficient. Each year they create a boiler that can heat water by burning less fuel than the year before. According to leading energy experts, if you have a boiler that is over 10 years old you should seriously consider changing your boiler. You will see a difference in your bills that shocks you.
While you are at it, you should make sure that your boiler and water tank are both insulated. This can save you up to 25% on your heating bills each year. If you have old brass or metal piles, then you may want to consider replacing them with PVC plastic pipes that are much more energy efficient and lose less heat.
5. Be smart about water
One of the biggest impacts on our heating bills is how long we spend heating water. If you were able to reduce the amount of hot water (and water in general) that you use in your home then you could save yourself a lot of money.
We will have a few more tips concerning this later in the article, but here are a few to get you started.
Set the temperature that you have your water heated to be 1 or 2 degrees lower. You will only really notice the difference during your first couple of showers – after that, you won’t notice it and it will save you money. This can be especially useful in the winter. Our body temperatures are generally lower, so the water doesn’t need to be as hot.
You should also use your dishwater rather than washing your dishes by hand. Dishwashers have eco settings that can do a better job at cleaning than we could do manually.
6. Consider double glazing
If you do not have double glazing then that should be top of your upgrades list if you want to save money on your energy bills.
As the heat that our central heating system produces passes through and hits a single glazed window it immediately cools. Why? Because it comes into contact with glass that is being cooled by the air outside our homes.
However, if it hits the glass on a double glazed window then less heat will be lost. This is because there is a pane of glass that sits between the inside of the window and outside of the window. This drastically reduces the amount of heat lost through our windows.
Double glazed windows also come with superior sealing around the edges of the panes and where the frames are joined to the walls.
7. Draught-proof your property
Even when our homes are insulated, we can still lose a lot of heat through our walls, doors, and windows. Why? Because many of these parts of our homes are not draft proof. This is not normally the fault of the people living in the home, more the fault of the people who built it. Although, building standards are much higher now than they have ever been.
A good way to tell if an area is leaking heat is to check if you can feel or hear a draft. If you feel cool air where you shouldn’t or hear a whistling when it is windy – then it is most likely that this area of your home is not draft proof.
The first places you should check are your window frames, your door frames, and your chimneys. You should also check the outside walls of your home for cracks and fractures. These can be filled in with plaster or caulk.
8. Insulate roof
Another area where you can lose a lot of heat is through your roof. If you were bald and did not wear a very good hat then you would lose a lot of heat through the top of your head – it is the same situation with roofs.
When thatched roofs were used they were well insulated, however, we lost this natural insulation when we moved to less flammable roofing options. While tiles don’t often catch on fire and are great for keeping the rain out they do not do a good job at keeping the heat in.
If you want to lower your heating bill then you can have your roof insulated. This is typically done with fiberglass wool insulation or with expanding insulation foam. You can do this yourself or hire a professional team to come in and do it for you.
9. Monitor usage
If you have no idea how much energy you are using at the moment, then it is probably a good idea to track your usage for a month. Look at what machines are getting left on and when. Check out the energy rating of all the appliances in your home. Find out whether your roof is insulated or not. See if you have double glazing. Note how many showers are had in your home for a month and how long they last.
Once you are armed with this information, you can look for areas to save money and make a targeted approach to reducing your energy costs. Rather than just trying these tips out at random. You can make changes and track in real time how they are affecting your home and your bills.
You may want to get a smart meter to help you do this.
10. Take shorter showers
Another way to save money by heating less water is to change the way you shower. When using less water in the shower you can save money on your heating bills.
One of the easiest ways to save money while showering is to turn the water off while you are applying your shower gel, shampoo, and conditioner. You should also consider applying your shower gel and shampoo at the same time so that you use less water to wash them off.
Many people find that if they shower without music on then they are less tempted to spend longer in the shower. Not wanting to say for an extra minute to finish listening to the song can make a big difference.
You should also consider showering with the water at a lower temperature. If you have a gym membership you can also save money on your electricity bill by showering at the gym.
11. Turn off unnecessary lights
Do you leave your lights on when you aren’t in a room or when you are out? Most people are probably used to having their parents nag them about turning off the lights when they aren’t using them. But when you start living on your own, this rule often goes by the wayside.
By being conscious about when you leave a light on and whether the light even needs to be on in the first place, you can save yourself some cash. For example, most of us do not need to use lights during the day in the summer because it is bright enough outside.
You should also consider switching to LED bulbs. Not only do they use less electricity but you can set them to be warmer and dimmer in the evening. Doing this will help you to save money and the dimmer lights will help you to sleep better.
12. Turn the water off when shaving and brushing teeth
We have another tip to help you save water every day – turn the water off while you are shaving.
You do not need to leave the tap running while you are physically shaving. You can wash your blade, turn the water off, shave, and then turn the water back on so you can wash your blade again. You will be surprised how much water this saves you.
You can do the same while you are brushing your teeth.
Other water saving methods in the bathroom include putting a brick into your toilet tank so that it uses less water with each flush. You also might want to not flush if you have only been for a number 1.
You could also do your face washing routine while you are in the shower, rather than straight after. There is no need to run twice the amount of water when you can get two jobs done at once.
13. Consider fixing leaks
If you seem to be using more electricity than you think you should then you should have your central heating system and your water heating system checked for leaks.
Leaks are bad for a few reasons. Firstly, if they are left unchecked for too long then they can end up doing permanent damage to your home. This damage can be both time consuming and expensive to repair.
Secondly, you can lose a lot of water through these leaks. This will push your water bill up and it means that you will not be getting to use a lot of the water that you are paying to heat up.
Finally, heat can be lost through a leaking pipe. This means not only will you be losing hot water through the pipes but the water that remains in the pipe will end up being colder. This wastes both electricity and your money.
14. Use a laptop instead of desktop computers
Did you know that laptops use 85% less energy an hour than desktop computers do? No, most people don’t. Not only are laptops more portable and better for work, but they can also save you money on your electricity bill.
We are not saying that you have to do everything on a laptop, for example, gaming on a laptop can overwork it and lead to expensive damages. However, there are many things that you can do on your laptop or phone instead of your desktop – like checking your emails and browsing social media.
You could also suggest to your work that everyone switches from desktop computers to laptops. Laptops tend to be cheaper, they are more portable and they do not require an independent screen that also needs to be powered. Most employees can do everything they need to do for work on a laptop. Your work can save money on their bills and know that they are doing something good for the environment in the process.
15. Turn off air conditioner when not at home
Air Conditioners can be lifesavers if you are lucky enough to live in a hot part of the country. For many, it gets too hot in the summer to be able to sleep without one. However, there are a lot of people that leave their air conditioning on even when they aren’t home.
Modern air conditioning units are powerful enough to cool a home down in less than half an hour. So your machine does not need to be on all day. Instead, you should turn it off when you leave and set it to come back on half an hour before you come home.
If your machine is not strong enough to do this or too old to be that powerful then you should consider upgrading to a more energy efficient and powerful air conditioning unit.
16. Recycle or donate that old TV
If you have an old TV then it is time to think about getting rid of it and replacing it with something more energy efficient. You will get a better picture quality, better sound quality, and a smart TV that is able to do more. For example, many TVs will now connect to your Spotify or to Youtube, so you don’t have to turn on your desktop computer to do this.
What should you do with your old TV after you have gotten a new one? Well, you should either recycle it or you should donate it.
Recycling your TV means that the parts of your TV can be reused to make new machines, rather than sitting in a rubbish dump for the next 1000 years.
You should also consider whether the local after-school club or children’s hospital needs a TV. Many children’s wards in hospitals can use TVs to help entertain their long term residents.
17. Reduce heat in the kitchen
There are many ways that you can save energy and money in the kitchen. When you are not using your toaster and your kettle you should switch them off at the wall. You should never heat up less than one cup worth of water in your kettle either.
You should also unplug your microwave when you aren’t using it. It takes more energy to keep the clock of a microwave on for a minute than it does to heat food for a minute.
When you are cooking you can also save energy. Boil your water in a kettle before putting it on the stove.
You should also cook on the stove with a lower heat. Experiment with how low you can set the temperature and still get the results you want. Most of us set the heat way higher than it needs to be and waste a lot of energy in the process.
18. Use cold water when doing the laundry and run full loads
Here are two ways you can save electricity while doing your laundry.
Firstly, use an eco mode. Washing machines have to come with at least one eco mode now. These will take a little bit longer but the temperature of the water will be cooler and they will use less energy. You can get detergents that are designed to be used at these lower temperatures, so you know your clothes will still be cleaned.
Secondly, you should never do small loads in your washing machine. These use the same amount of water as doing full loads. So, you can do fewer washing cycles but still, wash the same amount of clothes if you make sure you are putting in full loads. This is going to save you time and money on detergent and fabric softener on top of money on your electricity bill.
19. Hand dry your laundry
It can cost up to a dollar to run your tumble dryer for an hour. If you run your tumble dryer twice a week then it can cost you $8 a month and nearly $104 a year. By drying your clothes by hand you can save yourself an impressive amount of money.
Buying a dryer stand will usually cost you about $5 and then can be used as many times as you want. If you have a large family and need to do a lot of laundry then you might need multiple dryer stands.
Most clothes will dry overnight when they are hung up. They will dry even quicker in the summer or in front of a radiator. The only items that may take longer are bedding and thick denim jeans.
You will notice that a lot of your clothes will last longer when you don’t put them through a tumble dryer.
20. Use the microwave instead of the oven when possible
We mentioned early that actually heating things up in your microwave uses less energy than keeping the clock of the microwave on. They barely use any energy. Ovens on the other hand are very different.
Ovens need to heat themselves up and the quicker they do this, the more energy they will use. They then need to expend energy to remain hot. Many ovens also use energy to cool themselves down as well.
Microwave ovens don’t need to do any of this, instead of heating the food with actual heat, they use microwave radiation to heat the food. This is turned on when you press the start button and stops when the timer runs out. There is no heating up or cooling down required.
Therefore, when you can, you should cook with the microwave if you need to save money. You should also consider upgrading your microwave and donating your old one to the local soup kitchen.
21. Unplug a second fridge
If you have second appliances around the home that you are not always using then you should consider switching them off or not using them at all.
There has been a recent beauty trend of getting mini-fridges to store your skincare products in. This does not make the products work better, it makes them colder. If you want to use a second fridge like this then you should consider only turning the fridge on about half an hour before you need to use it. The same can be done with beer fridges.
If you have extra TVs or radios around the house, you should turn them off at the wall when you are not using them. Standby mode still uses around 75% of the energy being on does.
Energy Usage Facts
One of the main reasons that most of us spend more than we need to on our electricity bill is because we don’t know enough about our energy usage and how we can reduce it. So, in this section, we are going to share some facts with you that will help you to gain a better understanding of how your energy usage affects your bills.
40% of our heating is lost through our walls if they are not insulated properly. This number is even higher if you have wide, wall mounted radiators as they release heat from both sides. Meaning that heat from the side facing the wall can leak straight out of your house.
While insulation might seem like a lot of money up front, it will quickly pay for itself. Don’t forget to insulate your chimney if you have one – you can lose up to 5% of your heating bill through your chimney.
75% of the average house’s total electricity bill comes from powering products that are on standby. Most people think putting something on standby will save energy but it is quite the opposite. Turning the majority of your machines off at the wall when you head out to work could save you a significant sum of money.
The numbers are even worse when it comes to phone chargers – they still use 95% of the energy they do when charging your phone when they are not plugged into a phone. So make sure to unplug them after you have finished.
With energy prices set to reach all-time highs, everyone is looking for ways to save money on their bills. Luckily, you have us to help you – in the article above you will find 21 different ways that you can reduce your electricity bill.
These range from upgrading to more energy efficient TVs and fridges to taking shorter showers, and much more. There are so many little things that you can do to reduce your bills. By making these small changes you will notice a huge difference.
So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to start saving money!