10 Easy Ways to Use Less Electricity

Many homeowners say and do the same thing month after month: 1) They receive their monthly electric bill in the mail or online; 2) They look directly at the "amount owed" and cringe at what they see; 3) They go ahead and pay the bill while 4) promising to figure out a few ways to use less electricity and lower their expenses next month.

Sound familiar?

Believe it or not, reducing electricity usage requires far less hassle and change than most people assume. Continue reading to learn 10 easy ways to use less electricity and reduce your monthly electric bill.

1. Adjust your thermostat. Your energy expenses will decrease by three percent for every degree you lower your thermostat in the winter, or raise it in the summer. That means that raising your thermostat from 70 degrees on a hot summer day to 80 degrees will reduce your monthly summer electric bill by nearly one-third! Adjusting your thermostat is an easy and very effective way to use less electricity and save money.

2. Turn on a fan. If you take the advice from #1 above and raise your thermostat in the summer, that doesn’t mean you have to be uncomfortably hot in your home. Running ceiling or standalone fans help a room feel up to four degrees cooler than it actually is. So if your thermostat is set to 80 degrees, or even higher, running a fan will make it feel like a refreshing 76 degrees.

3. Run the heat or a/c only when needed. It makes no sense (and wastes a lot of electricity and money) to keep your home heated or cooled when you’re at work, away on a trip, or asleep. You can use less electricity and save money by running your heat or air-conditioning only when you’re at home and able to enjoy it.

4. Compare electric rates. If you live in a state with a deregulated electric industry, you’re in luck. Deregulation allows consumers to shop around and compare electric rates, and then choose the best and most affordable electric supplier serving their city. Transferring service from an overpriced local utility company to an independent electric supplier is fast, easy, and -- best of all -- free! So don’t wait: if you live in a deregulated state, compare electric rates and switch to a low-cost electric supplier today!

5. Reduce air leakage. Few things are more wasteful than a home with multiple sources of air leaks. Cracks along windows, doors, and walls compromise your heated or cooled interior air. Rather than staying inside where it belongs, your home’s heated or cooled air will find its way through the cracks or unsealed/uninsulated areas to the outdoors (and unwanted outdoor air will seep inside). To reduce strain on your HVAC system, eliminate draftiness in your home, use less electricity, and save money, thoroughly seal your home and protect it from air leaks.

6. Replace air filters. No one wants to breathe unclean/poor-quality air all day, and that’s one reason replacing or cleaning air filters is of the upmost importance. Another reason is because dirty or clogged air filters drastically reduce the efficiency of your HVAC system, resulting in an increase in electric usage and an expensive monthly electric bill. Clean or replace your air filters once every six weeks to ensure optimal air quality and HVAC efficiency.

7. Inspect air ducts. Did you know that a leaking or clogged air duct not only decreases an HVAC’s effectiveness, but can also lose up to 30% of a home’s heated or cooled air before it even reaches the air vents? Repairing, cleaning, and unclogging air ducts is a great way to use less electricity, reduce energy inefficiency, save money, and get the most out of your HVAC system.

8. Invest in energy-efficient appliances. If you’re due for a new washing machine, dishwasher, hot water heater, furnace, or other necessary home appliance, choose an energy-efficient model. Eco-friendly appliances use up to 50% less electricity than traditional models, helping to reduce your carbon footprint and your electric bill!

9. Switch to CFLs. Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) use 75% less electricity than incandescent light bulbs, last ten times longer, and can save the average homeowner about $30 a year in electric expenses.

Unplug unused appliances and electronics. Although you may not think it, appliances and electronics use what’s called standby power even when they’re turned off or not in use. Anything that’s attached to a power source does, in fact, use power. Standby power accounts for nearly 10% of the average home’s monthly electric expenses. To use less electricity and save money, unplug any unused appliances, electronics, and chargers in your home.

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