I don’t know about you, but I always hate opening the mail and finding the dreaded power bill. It is always a surprise to me how much the electric company decides it needs from my wallet. Right now I am in the process of becoming my own power company, but in the mean time here are a few practical steps to help lower that sticker shock.
What to look for
The main items in your house that you should fixate on are the ones that have to do with moving the temperature wither up or down. Be it your A/C, water heater, baseboard heaters, dishwasher, freezer, etc. these items are where your power utility makes their money from.
Growing up my mother was always yelling at me to turn off the lights when I leave the room. I didn’t understand at the time what the big deal was. Now that I own my own home and have kids to myself, I totally understand what the yelling was all about. However when it comes to lowering your power bill leaving the lights on, while certainly is something to be concerned about, just represents such a small factor in the overall bill that we can put it at the bottom of our list.
Tips to reduce your power usage
Now the main ideas here are to look at those items and appliances that have anything to do with moving the temperature up or down.
The first thing to look at is your water heater. Make sure that the thermostat(s) are set to around 120F. Also, if it is located in the garage, or the non-insulated basement (like mine), make sure is has a water heater blanket on it. You can easily pick one up at a local home improvement store. Also, while you are at it, wrap any exposed hot water lines that come out of the heater with some kind of pipe insulation. Especially if you have any long runs to a sink or bath.
If you have any kind of baseboard or a (Cadet style) in-wall heaters, make sure you find the breaker at your electrical panel that controls them, and flip it off. In the warmer months when you are not using these heaters the thermostat is still pulsing to check the temperature. Even when you turn the knob all the way down, the thermostat still checks to see if the surrounding air temperature is below whatever the current setting is.
Do you have a freezer in your garage or basement? Is it completely full? If it is less than half full consider filling some milk jugs with water and keeping them in the freezer to fill up the extra space. Basically what you are doing is storing the the cold in the ice and this takes the pressure off the freezer’s compressor and makes it more efficient and keeping your real food frozen. Also it is great if the power ever goes out, you can use those jugs to keep your refrigerator cold as well.
Those are a few of the big things that will help. If you have the money, installing insulated vinyl windows, and upgrading the insulation in the attic and crawl spaces will certainly help.
A Few Other Ideas
Now I’ve already stated that lights and other appliances are very small part of your electric bill. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore them. Small changes in habits and add up to larger savings over time.
The Edison incandescent light bulb is going the way of the dinosaur. Compact florescent bulbs are the new boys in town and they work pretty good. Not only are they energy efficient, they aren’t nearly as expensive as they were a few years ago.
Consider a power monitor. This in and of itself you save you electricity, but it will allow you monitor your usage better. Remember, something monitored is something that gets changed. There are products that monitor the whole house as well and one that keep track of individual outlets. These are good to find those pesky appliances that suck the most juice.
Avoid Typical Power-Wasters
A lot of people complain that the electricity bill touches the sky because of the number of electrical appliances they have at home. However, the electricity bill is not directly proportional to the number of gadgets you use but the way you use them.
• Use the washing machine only when there is a full load of clothes. This goes the same for your dishwasher. Come on, a few hand washed dishes won’t kill you.
• Don’t run your fountain (if you have one) all day.
• Keep the air-conditioner at the minimum low or high temperature, just enough to keep you off the heat or the cold outside.
• If you have a spa, consider flipping the breaker on the days you aren’t using it. This is best if you only use the tub once a week or less.
Now after you have gone through and were able to address each of the previous steps, what now? I did all of those steps and although I did see my power bill get smaller, I still felt that my bill was too high. Now short of going completely to candle power I decided I needed to look into other options. Solar is all the rage right now, but it seemed way too expensive. Making my current bill a little more attractive. Wind could be a possibility, but where to begin?
I then came across a way that changed everything for me. This website told me everything I needed to get started, and at a fraction of the cost of what I expected. If you too are looking for a solution like that then click below and short video will give you all the details.
I hope that this short guide will be of some use to you, I know they helped me.