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17 ways to save money on your electric bill this summer

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When we first bought our house, one of the things that made me a bit squeamish was the potential for higher bills than we were used to with our rental. Added together with my never-ending hunt for being as eco friendly as possible, and I was instantly on a mission to figure out how to save money on utilities. I learned so many ways to save that I just had to share them with you all, in hopes that I can help you save money on your electric bill this summer.

Our home is surrounded by trees and in a bit of a valley, so unfortunately our home only scores a 34 on the scale for solar panel compatibility. While there are some tax credits that would partially reimburse us for installing these beauties, they wouldn’t do as well in our particular yard as they might a few blocks in any direction.

These tips are so easy to incorporate into your daily habits, and most are free.

So what are you waiting for? Go save some money!

a wind turbine gathers wind energy as the background for an article about ways to save money on your electric bill this summer

17 Ways to Save Money on your Electric Bill

  1. Turn Up When You Leave

Turning up the air conditioner before you leave means you will conserve your resources for when you are actually using them. If you have a programmable thermostat, you can set it and forget it; your thermostat will adjust automatically. If you don’t, just remember to turn up the AC limit 3-5 degrees.

2. Unplug When Not In Use

Did you know electrical devices draw power even when they are not on? The lamps, entertainment center, computers, and wifi can all be unplugged before going to bed. If you have a tangled mess of lots of plugs, connect them all to a surge protector (they should be on one anyway), and just unplug the surge protector.

3. Close Vents To Unused  Rooms

Do you have a guest room that is frequently uninhabited, or a man cave that gets used once or twice a year? Closing off the vents to those rooms will force the air towards the rooms you use more, instead of wasting energy keeping boring rooms comfortable for no one.

4. Arcadia Power Company

Do you want to use sustainable energy, but can’t justify the cost of covering your roof in solar panels? Or maybe like ours, your home isn’t in the ideal placement for solar panels anyway. Enter, Arcadia Power Company. They connect with your current electric company and use renewable resources like wind energy. Plus, it can all be set up and managed from your phone. Sign up today for $25 off your next electric bill.

5. Use Fans

Portable fans (even the large box fans) draw less energy than running the air conditioner. The bonus, of course, is that you can concentrate the effects to the particular area of the room you are in at any time. There are so many types of fans to choose from, including the ultra high-tech blameless fan (that I’m still somehow scared to put my hand through).

6. Energy Efficient Lightbulbs

Am I the only one who completely forgot about lightbulbs when they moved out for the first time? Or forgot to do the adult thing and keep lightbulbs stocked (because they never blow when stores are open)? I’m old enough to remember when energy-efficient lightbulbs first came out as the future of lightbulbs. The best part about them is that a single pack of lightbulbs will last you up to nine years – which is insane when you add up hours of use! They also require less energy to use, so you not only save money by not buying light bulbs as often, but you save money on your electricity as well.

The downside, of course, is that they contain trace amounts of mercury, which is a known toxin that can be harmful in (larger than a broken lightbulb) doses. However, you don’t need to put on a hazmat suit if they break, you just need to air out the room, gently brush up broken pieces, and use tape to pick up the teeny tiny pieces that you would otherwise vacuum (which you want to avoid, as it can throw mercury particles in the air and we just don’t want that). Also, when you need to replace a bulb, it needs to be recycled in a specific way. Contact your local recycling center for more details on how you can dispose of your lightbulbs safely.

7. Keep Window Treatments Closed

Remember in Toy Story when Sid uses a magnifying glass to burn a mark on Woody’s head? The light gets magnified by the glass (moreso by the magnifying glass than regular glass, but go with me for illustrative purposes) and raises the temperature. Now imagine what is actually happening to your home on a hot sunny day if you have the windows closed and window treatments open – you magnify the heat in your home, which means that your air conditioner has to work even harder to keep up with the demand.

Keep blinds closed during the hottest part of the day. Light colored window treatments are also preferable as they do not absorb heat like dark colored fabrics would.

8. Do Chores While You Sleep

Whenever possible, do chores like laundry and dishwashing overnight, when the demand for energy is not so high as during the day. This lessens the strain on your energy pull, which means you save money. Plus, how amazing does it feel to go to bed knowing that chores are literally being done for you while. you. sleep. YESSS.

9. Grill/Instant Pot vs Oven

In super simple terms, oven = hot room = increased energy requirement to keep room at lower temperature. When it’s hot outside, limit the time you turn on your oven, especially during the day. Instead, use a grill or Instant Pot for your cooking needs (check out why I love my Instant Pot so much over here).

10. Change Your Air Filters Every 3 Months

Adulting Fail admission right here: We moved into this house in August, and I only just remembered last month that I’m supposed to change the air filter on a regular basis.

Oops.

Anyway, it’s recommended that you change the air filter at least once every 3 months. Think of the air filter like the lint trapper in your dryer. It catches a lot of gunk, which can block air passage, making your air conditioner work harder to keep up with the demand.

But Amanda, doesn’t it create a lot of waste to change out a filter every couple months?

Yes it does. Which is why I recommend getting a washable one.

11. Draft Guards

In the winter, do you feel drafts if you stand in front of a particular area of your windows or doors? These drafts exist in the summer time too (duh), and let in hot air just as easily as cold air. Which means that again, your air conditioner works harder than it needs to, which means you pay more money. Invest in a few strips of draft guarding, and plug up those holes.

12. Cold Water for Washing Machine

Hate separating your laundry? Now you don’t have to! Hot water in a washing machine requires energy twice – the basic amount necessary for the machine to run, and extra to heat the water. My husband Peter used to work at a dry cleaners, and he shared the very useful little factoid that using cold water is also more likely to prolong the life of your clothes, and less likely to shrink them. As such, we have always used only cold water to wash our clothes.

13. High Efficiency, Low Flow Shower Head

Did you know you can save money just by switching your shower head? A high efficiency, low flow shower head uses up to 40% less water! Less water = less energy spent on heating the water. The bonus, of course, is that you also save money on your water bill without sacrificing your self care.

14. Solar Screens/Window Film

Installing solar reflecting window film is a quick weekend project with a big return on investment. Reflecting the sun’s rays means not only cutting down on cooling costs, but also allows windows to stay open during the day without the heat – which means cutting down on the electricity used for lighting. Ta da!

15. Water Temp to 120F

This one saves money and makes your house safer. Set your water heater maximum temperature to 120 degrees F to limit wasting energy heating large amounts of “burn your face off” hot water. If you happen to be one of those people who love the showers of liquid fire, 120 degrees is still plenty hot.

Bonus tip: take shorter showers.

16. Wool Dryer Balls

Dryer balls help dry clothes faster by breaking up the tangles of clothes in the dryer. This significantly decreases drying time, which saves energy. Dryer balls also decrease static electricity, and replace your dryer sheets. Get a beautiful set of wool dryer balls from Mighty Nest for just $3 with code DRYERBALL3.

17. Air Dry Clothes

Our grandmothers knew this money-saving tip when they hung out the clothes to dry on a clothesline, or laid everything out on drying racks. Before we had an apartment-friendly 120V dryer, we avoided the apartment laundry center and saved an estimated $312 a year by air-drying all our clothes (including our cloth diapers!). We used a combination of drying racks and hanging clothes up on the shower curtain rod (be careful with this as it might get to be heavy and could fall).

So there you have it, 17 ways to save money on your electric bill this summer. What ideas will you be implementing this summer? What are you already doing? Leave me a comment and share how you are saving money on your electric bill this summer!

 

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