Saving Money on Your Electric Bill

Finding ways to save money on your electric bill can really help the family budget. This is a guide about saving money on your electric bill.

Saving Money on Your Electric Bill, Money and Light Bulb on Top of Electric Bill
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In Florida, electric bills run high, particularly in the summer. I save on my electric bill in two ways:

First, I hang my clothes to dry, only using my dryer to de-wrinkle the clothes. In this way, the dryer is on for only 20 minutes vs. over an hour.

Second, I unplug everything that is not being used: the microwave, the toasters, the hair dryer, the cell phone chargers, the computers, the washer and dryer.

Although it is minimal, these items still use electricity even when dormant. We probably save around $20 or more a month just by unplugging everything.

By combining these two methods, along with having cooler weather and being able to turn off our A/C, last month we had our lowest electric bill since moving into our house (which has vaulted ceilings) from an apartment. Contact your local electric company for more ideas on how to use less and save more--they are glad to help.

By Lynne from Orlando, FL

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The recent essays on saving money on fuel bills in small ways got me thinking. I was getting annoyed with myself because I was wasting so much power boiling and reboiling my electric kettle. I kept forgetting to only heat as much water as I needed and left the coffee maker heating ring on all day. Realizing that there must be an answer to all this waste, I made these changes to my daily routines to save some electricity and some of my precious cash!

I found a 5 pint pump action vacuum flask on sale for $2, a fantastic bargain, but they can be picked up for around $10. I boil the electric kettle twice in the morning, fill the flask and have hot water for tea on tap all day. If there is anything left come the evening, I use it for cooking or dish washing.

The answer to the coffee problem was far more simple, I make the coffee, turn off the machine, then microwave it a cup at a time as I need it. It tastes better and saves me money too. Such tiny changes in our ways of doing things may seem insignificant on a daily basis, but they can add up to make a difference at the end of the month when we open the bills.

By Ayesha from Kranj

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An electric plug in an outlet.This week I thought I would share some ideas on how our family has saved money on our electric/gas bill. We have found that this particular bill has been one of our easiest to control. There are a several different things you can do to keep this bill under control.

We use budget billing with our electric company, so each month we know exactly how much our bill will be. They re-calculate our bill every 6 months, but it doesnt usually vary all that much. Our bill payment, at this time, is $113/mo. That is winter time in Iowa. Granted, we have had a mild winter, but it is still cold and our furnace does still run.

We set our thermostat at 60 degrees F during the day. At 5:00 pm, it goes to 65 and stays there until 10:00 pm, at which time it goes back to 60 overnight. If we get cold, we put on sweaters or a blanket. I know that not everyone can have it this cool in the house. If you have children, or for the elderly, I would suggest a setting of 65-68 degrees. The elderly may need to go even warmer. If you and your family are dressed warm, you will probably stay warm. By all means, be safe and dont compromise your health.

We turn off all lights when we leave a room. That is a hard thing, it seems, to teach kids, but they can learn and it will save a bundle. If you use a power strip, you can actually turn the strip off when its not in use and save even more.

I hang most of our clothing up to dry. The only things I put in my dryer are bedding and our bath towels. In the summer, I dont use the dryer at all, but make use of my clothesline. In the winter, I use drying racks.

When summer comes around, we dont turn on the air conditioning until its almost intolerably hot. We use fans, strategically placed throughout the house to pull air through. Having cold drinks in the refrigerator also helps so much. If you have kids, fill their pool outside and enjoy spending time with them and keeping cool at the same time. Wear loose, cotton clothing. Cotton breathes better than most other material and it helps keep you cooler.

When we do turn on the central air, we set our thermostat at 78-80 degrees F. We have ceiling fans in every room in our house except the bathroom. They are pretty inexpensive to run as well. Dont run heat-producing appliances. Eat fresh, cool meals and use your slow cooker, microwave or grill for meals. Again, at this time of year, do what you need to do to stay safe and not compromise your health.

Using your microwave or slow cooker is less expensive to use than your oven. I use my slow cooker on a regular basis. Unplug appliances you are not using, as they continue to draw a small amount of energy if they are plugged in, even if you are not using them. Also, concerning appliances, keep the coils on your refrigerator clean to help it run more efficiently and also last longer. Appliances are very expensive to fix and replace.

I do only full loads of laundry and only full loads in the dishwasher and I dont use the heated dry cycle on my dishwasher. I let the dishes air dry. Again, no sense in using the electricity. Washing clothes in cold water helps save on our gas bill as our water heater is gas. Sometimes I do wash in warm, but most times cold water will get things just as clean.

During the day, I open all my blinds and curtains in the house and take advantage of the sun light. Even if it is a cloudy day, there is usually plenty of light so that its not necessary to turn on any lights in the house.

None of these things are big or difficult things to do, but they have saved us an incredible amount on our utilities. Our bill is much lower than most of our friends bills. Hope these things are helpful!

By Robin from Washington, IA

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I just wanted to share my energy savings tips! Our electric bill kwh hour jumped almost double so I had to come up with something to help. It all sort of played out slowly.

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Does a laundry dryer that is turned off use a lot of energy with a 220 plug?

By Tonya from CO

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A dryer that's not running doesn't use any energy. The things that use energy are things with a continual light like electric clocks, anything with a timer. etc.

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An electric plug in an outlet.Every month I open the electric bill and accept it with quiet discontent. However, this month the bill was too high to ignore. I stepped away from my desk and took a 360 degree look around my home. What did I see? A giant electric sucking vortex of wasted energy. I immediately blamed the seven-year-old light flicking, TV viewing, aquarium owning member of the family. However, he was not the only one to blame. With him in tow, I decided to single-handedly battle the unnecessary use of electric in our home.

Battling Standby Power

It didn't take long for us to adapt our power consumption. Only a quick talk to my son informed him of the problems with leaving lights on when not in the room, and he's now the Power Policeman of the house. However, the electric still continued to seep into my home, but from where?

Standby power is the culprit. When appliances are off but plugged in, many of them still drain power. While the consumption is much less than when the appliance is turned on, it still pulls a few watts at a time for nothing. Yet, I wasn't ready to turn into my grandmother who unplugs everything from her toaster to her lamps when they're not in use. Her electric consumption is admirable, but I'm not that devoted.

Indicators of standby power vampires are easy to spot. These features often pull electric even when the appliances are off:

  • a large box power adapter on the power cord or plug

  • an appliance or power cord that feels warm even when the product is turned off

  • anything cordless that has a recharging base (it pulls electric whether the battery is fully charged or not)

  • appliances that have a standby light on them
The only solution to completely eliminate this electric pull during down times is to unplug the items or to plug them into power strips and flick the power switch off.

Where Can I Save?

Unplugging some of these devices doesn't stop the electric seepage. There are other accessories that increase the usage of each appliance. Think about your surge protectors and power strips. Each one pulls a bit of electric when the red light is on. Consider shutting down your computer equipment at night and flicking off the surge protector. While the protector is made to protect electrical surges from ruining your equipment, the closed circuit created when the equipment is off protects it just as well. With the equipment turned off and the surge protector turned off, severe surges have a fraction of a chance to hurt your equipment.

Who Are the Main Culprits?

Types of electronics lend themselves to standby power usage more than others. It's safe to assume that all of these electronics pull some power whether on or off:
  • microwaves
  • video game consoles
  • flat screen and plasma televisions
  • audio and video equipment (look for the standby indicators)
  • cordless phones
  • laptop chargers (whether the laptop is plugged in to the cord or not)
  • light and motion sensing lamps
  • digital displays
  • surge adaptor strips and plugs

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First, swap out any incandescent lights with compact fluorescent, even your exterior lights. I discovered the latter when my outside light, an incandescent, kept burning out every few weeks.

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If my breaker keeps tripping; would that make my electrical bill go up, since I had to turn it off, then turn it back on? Wouldn't that take up a lot more power? I'm trying to figure out why my bill is 3 times higher than the other month. The only thing I can think of is when my breaker kept tripping.

By Ti

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No, breakers tripping would not make your power bill go up. Whatever is causing your breaker to trip repeatedly might be the issue. Have you figured out WHY the breaker continually trips? (They do wear out as well, and have to be replaced, if they continually trip. However that would not make your power bill go up.)

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Cutting back on your electrical usage can be easy IF you know where to look. This exercise must be done after dark, with the lights off, if possible.

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One can never save enough electric. Yet, the growing concern over the cost of utilities coincides with the growing concern for the health of our planet. This enables a household to cut utility costs while "going green" in ways that are easier than ever before.

Power Strip With Many Cords Plugged In

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Here are some ideas to help you save money on your electric bill. Post your ideas below!

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Keeping your freezer full to capacity is not always feasible but you can offset this by storing empty, but lidded, plastic containers in it.

I do all of the things suggested here but I always feel my electric bill is way too high. I get far more benefit from my gas, for which I pay just a little more eg gas central heating and gas hob. By the way, I don't have an electric drier!

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I started recently saving money on my electric bill, and wanted to hear if anyone else had ideas, feedback, etc. I switched my energy provider to North American Power ( I am literally saving about $20 a month in my small apartment. I didn't even see a difference on my electric bill, and CLandP still handles any problems.

Has anyone else had this success? Any other ideas? Gas is so high in CT, I figured that if I can save on my electric, I am ahead of the game!

By Jenn from CT

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A friend saves money and I've read of other who turn off their water heater or have their water heater on a light timer. I've started doing it this month and found that mine is on a hardwired light switch. (;

I live in Florida where, in the summer, the water is pretty warm right out of the tap because of the water tower storage and all day/night heat. With this said, I've found that I have boiling hot water showers (that's what we like round here!), baths and a dishwasher load w/ having it on for only about 30 minutes a day. The rest of the day, we have hot water from the reservoir for washing hands, small amounts for hand wash dishes, and other sundry tasks.

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There are more than a few ways to keep the electric meter from spinning at an alarming rate. Some require a little electrical inventory, such as turning off unused appliances or switching to Energy Star appliances. However, others take a bit more creativity and planning.

Electrical Plug

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Here is a way to be green and prepare for an emergency at the same time. I rinse out 2 liter soda and juice bottles and fill them 2/3 full with clean water. I then lay them almost on their sides (without the lids on tight), leaning against something, in our large freezer.

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Think you've mastered electrical savings? Take another look around your home and find even more places to pull the plug and keep the meter from spinning.

Wash It Well

Knowing that hot water demands large amounts of energy, try to use it less in the home. When doing laundry, use the cold/cold cycle rather than a warm/cold cycle. This will lessen the demand for hot water and save energy all while washing clothes to the same degree. Try soaking soiled clothes before washing for the same effect as hot water, and save the hot water cycles for extremely soiled clothes.

While drying clothes there are also ways to save electric. The most obvious is to hang the clothes to dry rather than use the dryer. If this option doesn't work, try a compromise. Remove clothing from the dryer a few minutes before the cycle is complete and hang the clothes immediately. This saves a few minutes from the drying cycle, saving electric, and it allows the clothes to dry practically wrinkle free. In practicality, many people prefer to use a clothes dryer for all of their laundry loads rather than hanging clothing to dry. Save electric while using the dryer by running it continuously. As soon as one load is dry, replace it with a wet load and start the dryer. This eliminates the cool down/warm up time that elapses between loads and thus uses less electric.

Fix It

A leaky faucet doesn't seem to warrant an expensive plumber; at least that's what most people believe. However, one leaking hot water faucet can add up. At the rate of one drop per second, a leaky faucet can waste 165 gallons of water a month. Imagine how much electric is used to heat 165 gallons. The water wasted adds up to the amount of eleven average showers.

While you're doing handy work around the house, check the furnace and have it cleaned as well. Vacuum baseboard heaters, thermostats, and other elements of heating devices. Built up dust and dirt prohibit them from working properly and allow them to eat up more electric. This includes the coils on the back of the refrigerator and water cooler. Clothes dryers which have clogged lint filters can use almost 30% more energy to dry a load of clothing than those with clean filters.

Keep a Lid On It

When cooking, try to trap energy whenever possible. Use the oven window and light to peek at dinner rather than opening the oven and allowing hot air (energy) to escape. Along those lines, when cooking with pots, cover the pot when possible. Water will boil faster and less energy will be wasted when heat is trapped in the pot. Align the pots to the properly sized burners as well. This eliminates heat from escaping needlessly around the sides of the pots; instead focus all of the energy on the item to be heated.

To see Kelly's article, "Electric Savings 101, click here

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I am such a creature of habit that I often do not think of the things I do that use expensive energy and climate changing fuels.

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Wash clothes in cold water, and skip the dryer. A regular load of wash and wear can be hung on the shower curtain rod. Start slow, one load per week = 52 loads a year. Family members may catch on. Good luck.

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Moldy, worn gasket.My electric bill was over 220 dollars for one month in a small 2 bed/1 bath apt in Ohio. My apartment has old appliances, stove, refrigerator, hot water heater, and AC unit from 1999. Whenever I say anything to the landlord, she gets mad! The seal around the refrigerator and oven are old, moldy, and don't fit well enough to seal properly. Now my utility bill is so high, but I can't afford to move!

By Marie H.

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First off, the responsibility to fix the apt. is not yours. Here is a link to just one of the Ohio Landlord Tenant Laws but you can google more.

You can also go to the utility company and often they will do an energy audit, where they go in and make a list of things that are causing the problems.

Most counties also have energy assistance, so you can often look into that. In Oregon, you have to be one day overdue and low income. This is the time of the year when you probably wouldn't have to wait long for an appt.

In many cases, you can withhold your rent and it's legal, esp' when you present them with the bill, the energy report and the laws stating they have to fix things and can't retaliate against you.

Don't fix, fight. Good luck!

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How do I lower my power bill?

Kent from Dalton, Ga.

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Insulate switch plates and outlets that are located on outside walls or above an unheated basement. A package of foam outlet insulation sheets cost less than $4 and does several outlets.

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Q: I would like a information on what I can do to save money on electricity during the winter. I live in a condo and face the south east. I get lots of sun, therefore heat during the day. I asked a contractor about wrapping my water, heater he said that my heater is so new it is already insulated enough. Does it really save to turn off the water heater? Won't it just have that much more work to do when i turn it back on?

Thank you,

A: Sandy,

There are a lot of easy ways to save on electricity during the winter. Here are just a few related to hot water and hot water heaters:

Even if your hot water heater is new, insulating your water heater and pipes keeps heat from escaping and the project will easily pay for itself in less than a year.

Don't shut off your hot water heater. Turn down the temperature dial instead. You'll be surprised how low you can set the dial and still have plenty of hot water for your needs (try 115° to 125°).

Check "time of day rates" if your hot water heater is electric. This involves having your water heater come on only during "off-peak" times, but at a lower rate. Check with your utility company to see if they offer this plan.

Turn your water heater down to the lowest setting if you will be gone for a couple of days.

Use foam wrap to insulate hot water pipes throughout your house. Keep it three inches away from heater draft hoods and exhaust vents.

Install low flow aerators on faucets and install water saving showerheads. Fix leaky faucets.

Take showers instead of baths-they use less water.

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Hello. This is a question related to saving on home heating bills. I live in a single family home with a basement and reside in Maryland. My new wife seems to believe that turning off our gas heating thermostat during the day while we are at work saves money. We'd come back and turn on the heat again but this takes time to reheat the whole home. And as the temp's get colder, is this a good idea to save money? Before I got married I have never turned off the heat during the winter days fearing this would freeze my pipes. Who is correct in this case? Thanks!

Editor's Note: We posted this as a new request:

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Consumer Advice Shopping Home & GardenAugust 23, 2011
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