Ah, the first electrical bill of summer. The jolt. The shock. The cold chills as you contemplate the damage to your piggy bank. There are reasons your bill is so high, and there are things you can do about it. They might cost some money, while others will only mean a change of your habits. Regardless, all of them can whittle a big bill down to size.
1. Off means off. It seems as if everything has a standby mode, and while standby mode uses less power, it still uses power. Do you really need to know what time it is in every room in the house? Unplug everything. Unplug the coffeemaker, the game console, the television, and turn off the computer. Unplug anything that you don’t use often, such as your printer, the game consoles, even the device chargers for tablets and phones. Don’t forget to turn off the pool pump, too!
2. Older appliances can hog serious amounts of energy. Your fridge, dishwasher, clothes washer, dryer, and water heater can suck up huge amounts of power. Upgrade to new Energy Star appliances and watch your bills take a nosedive. Additionally, setting your water heater to 120F and your fridge to a lower setting can save you even more money. There are also rebates from power companies that can help to defray the expense.
3. Give your house an energy physical. Check the insulation in your walls, under your floors, and in the attic. Upgrade to a better R-value. Look for air leaks and seal them. Leaving leaks unattended will make it harder to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. Have your HVAC systems serviced once a year, or upgrade to a newer system if yours is more than ten years old. Replacing old windows can help save even more energy.
4. Go solar. Solar panels don’t have to be a huge hassle. You can install them on your roof, hook them to a generator for emergencies or blackouts, or hook them up to a Tesla Powerwall for regular home use. There are even portable solar panels that can charge and power devices as well as laptops. The sun shines kind of a lot around here, in case you hadn’t noticed.
5. Get a smart thermostat. It takes more energy to cool down a hot house or heat up a cold one than it does to keep an even temperature. Program the thermostat so that the house is around 80 in the summer and 65 in the winter when you’re not home. Then, program temperatures for the times you’re at home to 78 in the summer and 70 in the winter.
There are lots of other ways to save energy, and once you get started, it can be a little addictive to watch that bill shrink. By the time you’ve checked everything off your list, you could be saving tons of dollars per year. You don’t need to be uncomfortable or give up fun things like gaming sessions and your pool. You’ll just be learning to use them more sensibly.