A year after I started my first real job as a teacher, I rented a house near my school. I loved it until I saw my first electric bill for $250. My heart sank, tears followed, and I vowed to make a few changes so I wouldn’t stretch myself so thin.
The truth is, electricity is one of those things we can’t live without in this day and age, nor should we. And although we have no control over the rates that electric companies charge, we can control how much we use.
You can make changes today that require little effort but provide significant savings. Whether you rent an apartment or live in a home, this article is to help empower you and provides 30 ways on how to save money on your electric bill!
1. Update Your Appliances
If you own older appliances, it may be time for an upgrade. Older appliances are not as energy-efficient and can work harder, requiring more energy. They may be cheap at yard sales or as hand-me-downs, but you can pay more in the long run.
Also, you can get money via rebates for your old appliances through recycling programs. Before purchasing a new appliance, be sure to use the Energy Star Appliances site for more information on finding the best appliance models that can help save you money.
2. Identify Peak Hours from your Electric Company
Did you know your electric company has on-peak and off-peak hours? This means electricity consumed during peak hours will be charged at a higher rate than off-peak hours. To save more money on your electric bill, consider saving chores that require electricity for off-peak hours.
Peak hours may change with seasons, and sometimes even vary between weekdays and weekends. To find your peak hours, visit your electricity provider’s website and search for “peak hours”. You can see examples here for PG&E and Florida Power & Light.
3. Run Full Loads for Washer and Dishwasher
Make sure your washer and dishwasher are full before running a load to save more money. To take this one step further, you can also use a timer on each appliance to schedule the run in off-peak hours or even for right before you plan on waking up.
These appliances are two of the biggest sucks of energy, so aim to run them as scarcely as possible. To maximize efficiency, see this video on how to load your dishwasher properly to make sure it cleans effectively, as well, so you don’t have to wash the same dishes twice!
4. Batch Cook to Use Your Stove or Oven Less Often
Batch cooking is when you cook larger portions of meals to either freeze or eat throughout the week. It requires cooking less frequently and can save you money on groceries. The fewer times you crank up the stove or oven, the less electricity you are using.
5. Use A Toaster Oven Instead of Your Oven
Your oven is one of the biggest sources of energy consumption in your kitchen. And, depending on how long you need to cook something, it can run up your electric bill for hours. Not to mention, there are after-effects of heat dissipation and how it affects your cooling system!
Consider using a toaster oven instead of your main oven. It heats faster and can cook just about everything a regular oven can cook. Plus, you can unplug it when you don’t use it for more energy savings.
6. Watch TV on Smaller Screens
Televisions are great for family movies and gathering on the couch! But, how often are you watching something alone, or have the television on for background noise? That costs money! Consider snuggling a bit closer with your partner in the bed and using a laptop or handheld screen.
Smaller screens can be charged in shorter amounts of time and use less energy. If you’re not ready to give up your big TV just yet, consider purchasing a more energy-efficient TV to cut down on your energy costs.
7. Clean Refrigerator Coils and Dryer Vents
Cleaning coils and vents are something you aim to do when Spring arrives, then forget all about it. Because the fridge coils and dryer vents are critical for maintaining the longevity and efficiency of your appliances, don’t ignore these!
If your fridge coils are covered in dust, they can’t cool effectively. And, your dryer can’t expel the air like it should when the vent is clogged. You can hire someone to do this for you, but you can also clean your coils and dryer vents yourself!
8. Air Dry Your Dishes and Clothes
A dishwasher is great for cleaning dishes, but oftentimes we unnecessarily include drying dishes in the dishwasher, as well. This means your dishwasher is running longer than it needs to! Make sure to use the air-dry option, or to set a reminder to crack the door once they’re done.
As for your dryer, not only does using a drying rack save money, it can help extend the longevity of your clothes. And, that helps save you money on clothes, too. Winning!
If you still like the softness a dryer provides, you can still run your clothes on the Air Dry cycle with a dryer sheet for five minutes before placing them on the drying rack. These two options can save you significant money over a year.
9. Reuse Dishes and Rewear Clothing
There are times when the dishes you just used for, say, a sandwich just aren’t that dirty. Or, maybe you have a habit of getting a new cup multiple times during the day. And, the clothes you wore while working from home yesterday really aren’t smelly.
If your dishes just need a quick rinse to be cleaned, do just that and reuse the same plate throughout the day. The same goes for clothes – layer that shirt under a sweater, or wear the same jeans a few days in a row.
This will save you money by lessening how often you are doing loads of laundry and dishes! Trust me, no one will ever know!
10. Cook Meatless Meals
Big hunks of meat like chickens and pot roast take hours to cook in the oven. Even smaller pieces of meat like chicken breast, which may require turning in the oven, use energy by letting heat escape.
Every time you open the oven door, it takes more electricity to get it raised to the right temperature, and meat tends to take longer to cook in general. Consider meatless meals for faster cook times, which result in less energy consumption.
11. Use an Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker
I can honestly say the Instant Pot has saved my sanity. It has also saved me a ton of money by just making cooking simpler. It can cook meat in record time, dry beans in fifteen minutes, and can make dishes like rice or applesauce in less than ten minutes.
Use an Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker to save money on electricity, as well, by drastically shaving the energy consumed to make your next meal. It’s insulated and doesn’t allow heat to escape like an oven or stove, and is one pot, so there is less energy required for washing.
12. Lower the Temperature on your Hot Water Heater
More than likely, the temperature on your water heater is hotter than you need. If you’ve got the temperature jacked up to 140℉ then you can stand to lower it to 120℉. That lower temperature still gets the water hot enough to kill germs or enjoy a shower.
Having the temperature too high results in wasted energy, as the water heater struggles to keep up, especially in colder months. To lower the temperature on your water heater, you can do it yourself, or call a trusted professional plumber near you.
13. Use Cold Water Whenever Possible
Using cold water in the washing machine or when using the sink can help slash your electric bill, as well. Most of the time, we waste energy by turning on the hot water, then realizing it’s too hot, before reducing the temperature to cold anyway. Start with it cold!
14. Unplug or Use a Power Strip
Plugs, even when not in use, are bigger consumers of electricity than one would think. Keep appliances, lamps, chargers, etc, unplugged until you need them. It’s a great way to save, and doesn’t require much effort to plug it back in!
If unplugging is a hassle, try using a power strip to help control the energy being sucked out of the walls (and your wallet). It can also protect your electronics from a power surge, as well.
15. Consider Using Solar Chargers
Phone and small electronics chargers are some of the most commonly used, and when kept plugged in all the time, they keep the electrical meter running. Consider using a solar charger that you can charge all day in a window, and power up your electronics at night!
16. Use Smart Plugs with a Timer
My husband is obsessed with smart plugs, and I can see why. Smart plugs can be turned off, even remotely from a cell phone, or set on a timer so they’re not in use all day long.
This is a cheap, efficient way to keep the current electronics and appliances you have, and making them more energy-friendly. Plus, smart plugs are easy to use and there is a variety to meet your needs!
17. Mind the Sun
The sun is the biggest source of energy we have – and it can be a bear to fight. Beware of how the sun affects your indoor temperatures, and work with it! Using the sun for passive energy is a great way to lower your electric bill.
Take full advantage of the sun in the winter by identifying the direction your windows face and use curtains to control the heat. Make sure you have black-out curtains in the summer, as well, so that heat blasting through your west-facing window doesn’t bake you out of there!
18. Replace Incandescent Bulbs with LED Bulbs
LED light bulbs are one of the easiest changes to make regarding your efforts to lower your energy bill. The next time you buy lightbulbs, look for LED light bulbs. They use 75% less energy!
19. Lower Your Lights At Night
While you should keep lights off in rooms that you are not currently using, you should also make an effort to lower the amount of light used at night. A small, tableside lamp in the living room can provide all that you need to get around or watch television.
You can also replace regular light switches with dimmer switches, to control the brightness of your overhead lights. As always, don’t hesitate to call a professional electrician if you are not comfortable doing this yourself!
20. Dress in Layers in Colder Months
To save money on your electric bill in the colder months, dress in layers while inside your home. This can save you money by limiting how much you fluctuate the heater and will allow you to be comfortable while keeping the heat below 70 degrees.
21. Use a Hot Water Bottle Before Bed
Although frequently done in northern European countries or by campers in colder months, I have to say, I’ve tried this and it works! Using a hot water bottle before bed is a great way to refrain from turning your heat up in the evening, which can cost more.
The trick is to fill up a hot water bottle an hour before bed and slip it under your covers. Then, when you’re ready to climb in, your sheets and mattress will have absorbed the heat. Some people even sleep with one nestled by their feet!
22. Check the Seals Around Windows and Doors
If you can feel a draft by your windows and doors, then that may be a major waste of energy. Don’t throw your electricity (literally) out the window! You can seal it yourself or hire a handyman to do the job for you.
Also, if you have interior drafts from, say, spare bedrooms that don’t get used often, try draft protectors under the door. They’re cheap and can be set up in five minutes or less, all while saving you money on your electric bill.
23. Cook With The Seasons
As I’ve previously mentioned, the oven and stove can be huge energy sucks, as well as have lingering effects long after they’ve shut off. That heat has to go somewhere, and when it’s hot outside, you don’t want it hanging around!
Be mindful of avoiding major heat-producing appliances in the summer, and look for no-cook meals. In the winter, cook up warm, hearty soups in the Instant Pot! Cooking with the seasons is a great way to reduce your electric bill.
24. Try A Space Heater or Ceiling Fan First
Because I spend so much time in my office during the day, I don’t set the thermostat for the whole house – I use a space heater and keep my office door closed to minimize fluctuations by my thermostat.
You can also use your living room or bedroom ceiling fan year-round. Did you know you can adjust it to run in the opposite direction to push heat down in the winter? Use your ceiling fan or space heater efficiently to save money!
25. Replace Your Air Filters
Replacing your air filters helps your HVAC run more efficiently and can help save you money in the long run. It’s super easy and takes a few minutes. Plus, you only need to do it a few times per year!
26. Install a Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat can save you money by allowing you to pre-program temperatures to be adjusted throughout the day, or even when you’re away on vacation. This is something you can do yourself, or hire a handyman to assist you with. Some even pair with your smartphone!
27. Request an Energy Audit
Some electrical companies can provide you with a home energy assessment that will reveal how energy efficient (or not) your home really is. A home energy audit is a great way to find out where improvements can be made, and how you can make changes to save more money.
Check out your electrical company’s website to find out more.
28. Look for Ways to Save In Your Attic and Garage
Because you don’t spend much time in your attic or garage, it’s easy to forget ways that those two spaces are costing you more on your electric bill. Aim to make your garage energy efficient by unplugging tools that aren’t being used, and improving insulation.
Also, check your attic for major air leaks and other issues that cost you more money. Take steps to address those areas with local professionals!
29. Sign Up for Alerts from your Electrical Provider
If you do not have an online account with your electrical company, create one today! An online account can help you monitor your usage, and see your expected bill for the upcoming month. You can also have access to alerts regarding your energy usage.
While this varies from company to company, you can sign up for alerts to send you a message when you’re approaching a threshold. You can then make adjustments to keep the bill from rising even more. This will help you stay more in control of your upcoming electric bill.
30. Use a Smartphone App to Monitor Usage
Apps on your smartphone can also help you to lower your electric bill by tracking your energy usage. Some apps only work with their native thermostats, like Nest, but others like Smappee work with a variety of systems. Check out apps compatible with your phone and start saving!
FAQs on Saving Money on your Electric Bill
What if I rent an apartment? How can I save money on my electric bill when I rent?
If you rent an apartment, you can save money on your electric bill by taking steps to reduce usage. You can also talk to your landlord about making repairs that will help you be more energy efficient.
What can I do today to lower my electric bill?
Changing the way you cook, investing in smaller appliances like pressure cookers or toaster ovens, and buying a quality set of curtains can be implemented in a short amount of time.
How much money can I save on my electric bill?
The steps listed above can result in up to hundreds of dollars saved each year on your electric bill. That’s a decent amount each month!
How do I contact my Electrical provider with questions?
The bill that you receive, either through email or standard mail, should provide you with a customer service telephone number and your account number. Have your account number handy, and don’t be afraid to give them a call! Many providers also offer live chat on their websites.
While we can’t set the rates that the electrical companies charge us, we can use less energy while not feeling like we are missing out! Hopefully, you feel more empowered to save more on your electric bill today!