How to Save Money by Reducing Your Monthly Electricity Bill– (Step-by-Step ComprehensiveGuide)

If you have paid utility bills, you’ve probably been surprised with high energy bills at one time or another. But what if I told you that with just a few new habits, you can save as much as 25% on your monthly energy costs. Keep reading to learn step-by-step instructions on how to save money on your monthly energy bills.

On the average home, 45% of energy is spent on heating and cooling. Another 12% is spent by the hot water tank and another 15% on lighting. Next is the refrigerator which uses 8% of a home’s energy consumption, other home appliances 9%, computer, and electronics 8%, and the remaining 3% is used by other smaller devices.

So, if you want to make a quick, major impact on your next energy bill, you should start by focusing on the items that consume the most energy like heating & cooling as well as the hot water tank, and lighting.

Why is my utilities bill so high?

To figure out why your electric bill is “so high”, the first thing you need to do is to figure out what’s your normal usage. A typical home uses about 900 kilowatts per month.

What is a kilowatt hour?

Good question!TURNED ON FOR ONE HOUR = 1 kWh

One good first step is to speak with your neighbors to find out how many KWh they get billed per month. By doing this you will get a clear idea of what you should expect to see on your own bill.

For example, if your kWh usage is similar to previous months but the cost is now higher, it’s possible that the price per kWh may have gone up, or the utility company has billed a special service charge.

or

Maybe your bill hasn’t gone up but you just think it’s always been too high.The key here is to understand how energy is being used in your home, and then focus on ways you can reduce your energy consumption.

On this guide:

  1. How much energy do the lights use and tips on how to reduce it
  2. How much energy does each home appliance use and tips on how to reduce it
  3. What is Phantom Power, and tips on how to minimize it
  4. Top 15 energy saving tips that will save you the most money
  5. Best times for electricity usage in the winter
  6. Best times for electricity usage in the summer
  7. Season-by-season energy conservation checklist

Lighting

For most homes, lighting represents 15% of total monthly energy cost, which makes it a big part of your energy bills. The easiest way to conserve energy is to simply remember to turn the lights off when not in use them.

Lighting saving tips:

  1. Upgrade your lighting with new energy-efficient bulbs and fixtures.
  2. Avoid using multiple light fixtures. Four 25W light bulbs give off only 2/3 of the light of one 100W bulb yet use the same 100W of energy.
  3. Replace standard on/off switches with dimmer switches. They reduce light level, save energy and extend bulb life.

Appliances

About 45% of the electricity consumed in a home is used by these six major appliances – refrigerator, freezer, electric stove/oven, dishwasher, washer, and dryer. If you are thinking of buying a new appliance, look for the ENERGY STAR® label. Energy efficient appliances use between 20 to 50 percent less energy than conventional appliances.

Here is a quick list of the most common home appliances/electronics and what it costs to run them per month.

ApplianceTypical Consumption
Per month
Cost Per Month
Central air conditioner2,520 kWh$80 – $120
Furnace fan motor250 kWh$40
Refrigerator100 – 150 kWh100 – 150 kWh
Dishwasher60 kWh$8
Dryer150 kWh$
Wash machine20 kWh$3
Television35 kWh$5

Refrigerators and Freezers

Refrigerators use a big chunk of your energy because they are on all the time. They cost about $1 a day to run which makes it the third largest energy user right after the air conditioner, and the furnace. If you have freezer, those cost about double the amount to run.

Here are three tips that for a more efficient use of the refrigerator:

  • The refrigerator should be full but not overloaded because it needs air circulationto operate efficiently.
  • The temperature of your freezer should be at -18°C. It will use almost 2% more electricity for each degree below -18°C.
  • An old or faulty door seal can cost you hundreds of kilowatt-hours in electricity a year. Test the seal on a regular basis to ensure it works properly.

Stoves

Electric stoves use about 3% of a home’s energy consumption. Here are some tips for saving energy when cooking.

  • Open the oven door only when necessary.
  • Use glass and ceramic pans when baking. They retain heat better than metal pans and allow you to lower the baking temperature by 25 degrees.
  • Don’t put aluminum foil on the bottom of a gas oven to catch drippings.The foil blocks the heat that the oven is trying to produce.

Microwaves

Because microwaves concentrate their heat waves by direct application to the food; for this reason microwaves cooks faster, and more efficiently than stoves or ovens.

  • There are many tasks a microwave can do better, faster, and with less energy than a stove.
  • Microwaves don’t retain heat nor do they heat up everything in the kitchen which helps keep the home cool during hot summer days.

Dishwashers

This may surprise you, but using the dishwasher will vs. washing dishes on the sink will actually reduce water consumption. Approximately 5% of household water is used is used by the dishwasher.

  • Choose a dishwasher with a delayed start feature, so you can wash dishes during off-peak hours.
  • About 85% of dish-washers’ electricity is used to heat the water so use a eco-wash feature.
  • To ensure the dishwasher is working efficiently, clean the drains and filters on a regular basis.

Washer and Dryer

Every load of laundry could cost you up to $1 in energy use. If you heat up the water, that could add another 40 additional cents to your cost per load of laundry.

  • Wash your laundry in cold water and you could save over $10 per month.
  • Do your laundry during off-peak hours
  • Wash full loads; the same amount of energy is used for full loads vs. and a half load.
  • Dry full loads in the dryer, but don’t overload because it makes the dryer work longer.
  • Sort clothes into heavy and lightweight loads; the lighter loads will dry faster than mixed loads.

Water Heater

A water heater is the second largest energy user in a home, after the furnace and it accounts for about 11% of your energy bill. Here are some energy saving ideas for your water heater.

  • When buying or renting a water heater look for a high efficiency, highly insulated one.
  • Have the water heater serviced once a year to ensure it runs efficiently.
  • Insulate the hot water pipes to reduce the loss of heat.

Computers, TVs Audit Visual Equipment

Most TVs use between 100 to 400 watts depending on the size and brand which means between $30 – $120 per year.

  • The best way to reduce the energy used by computer and entertainment equipment in your home is to turn them off when not in use.
  • Your TV and entertainment equipment accounts for 60% of standby electricity loss in a home.
  • If your computer must be must be left on, make sure you turn off the monitor as this uses more than half the power computer’s use.

Minimize Standby Power (Phantom Loads)

Most electronic devices, when you turn them off, they actually go in sleep mode, butwith one eye open. What do I mean by this?

Even though you turn off the device, it is still consuming electricity, so “off” isn’t completely off, but somewhat on.

So, how do you stop these energy sucking vampires from dipping further into your pocket?

  1. Pull the plug when devices are not in use
  2. Buy appliances that have labels as having low standby power usage
  3. If you are using a power strip, turn off the strip when not in use.
  4. Replace old appliances with energy efficient ones.

The most common energy vampires are:

  • Computers/printers
  • Television
  • Gaming console
  • Routers and Modems
  • Microwaves, and any other appliance left plugged in when not in use.

Now that you know how much energy your appliances use, let’s look at more tips you can use to save energy and reduce your utility bills.

Tips to Save Energy At Home

  1. Manage costs leveraging time-of-use rates

Youget billed based on time-of-use rates; those rates vary during the day and are the highest during the peak hours, and the lowest during the off-peak hours.

  1. Turn Off the Lights When Not in Use

Two 100 Watts incandescence bulbs switched off an extra two hours per day could save you $20 per year, or better yet, switch the incandesce bulbs for LED.

  1. Turn Off the AC Heat When You Not at Home

To avoid wasting energy, turn off the AC or heater when you’re not at home. However, in cold winter days, you might need to set up the thermostat at a minimum temperature so that the water pipes don’t freeze, or close the water supply before leaving home.

  1. Use a Programmable Thermostat

Controlling your home’s temperature is an essential way to cut electricity costs. By using a programmable thermostat, you can use less energy when you’re at work, sleeping, or out for the weekend. Some systems even allow you to set up the temperature by room so that if you are not using a room, that area is not being heated or cooled down.

  1. Use Dimmer Switches

You can save money on your electricity bill by using dimmer switches.  Dimmer switches save energy by reducing the flow of electricity to the bulb and allowing light to operate with lower power output and save money.

  1. Cut Out Phantom Energy

An energy audit will tell you how efficient your home’s energy usage is. You can enlist help from your utility company to conduct an energy audit. Many utility companies offer this as a free service. You can also do your own energy audit too. The main goal is to identify areas you can cut back on energy use.

  1. Turn Off Dishwasher Dry Feature

Using the dishwasher actually helps you save water because water is used more efficiently with a dishwasher. To maximize energy savings, turn off the heat dry selection on your dishwasher.

  1. Consider Using a Tankless Hot Water Heater

While on the topic of water heating, you can cut your electric bill significantly by switching to a tankless hot water heater. In fact, a tankless hot water heater can save you $100 per year, according to ENERGY STAR®.

  1. Try to Use Energy During Off-Peaks

Some cities and towns offer reduced electricity rates during certain hours of the day (off-peak hours). If you capitalize on these off-peak rates, you can shave a little off your electric bill. For instance, do your laundry or run your dishwasher during these hours.

  1. Buy ENERGY STAR ® Appliances

When it’s time to replace appliances, purchasing ENERGY STAR models can help you cut electricity costs long-term. For example, an ENERGY STAR Washer can cut water usage per load by 10 gallons.

  1. Unplug Your Second Fridge If Not In Use

Unplug the second fridge and save up to $60 per year.

  1. Do Only Full Laundry Loads

Speaking of laundry, one easy way to make a dent in your electric bill is to only do laundry when you have full loads ready. This will decrease the number of loads you do, as well as cut energy consumption.

  1. Use a Programmable Thermostat

Controlling your home’s temperature is an essential way to cut electricity costs. By using a programmable thermostat, you can use less energy when you’re at work, sleeping, or out for the weekend.

  1. Use a Programmable Thermostat

Controlling your home’s temperature is an essential way to cut electricity costs. By using a programmable thermostat, you can use less energy when you’re at work, sleeping, or out for the weekend.

  1. Avoid using an area heater

The easiest way to cut down on space heating energy consumption is to lower the thermostat in colder weather, and raise the thermostat in the summer. A good rule of thumb: one degree of adjustment translates into means 1% in monthly savings.

Best Time to Use Electricity in the Winter

In most cities, there are two peaks during a typical winter day:

  • When people get up in the morning and turn up the heat, take a shower, make coffee, and so on.
  • When people come home at night and turn on the lights, start dinner, and so on.

During these two peak-periods, when demand for electricity is highest, it costs the highest because there is more demand than other times of the day.

So, during the winter months (November to April), you will pay:

  • the highest price between 7am to 11am and 5pm to 7pm
  • a lower price between 11am and 5pm
  • the lowest price between 7pm and 7am

 

Best Time to Use Electricity in the Summer

In the summer the peak is in the afternoon when people tend to turn on their air conditioner at the highest setting.

In the summer months (May to October), you will pay:

  • the highest price between 11am and 5pm
  • a lower price between 7am to 11am and 5pm to 7pm
  • the lowest price between  7pm and 7am

 

Monday to Friday on-peak and off-peak breakdown

During the weekend all day, Saturday and Sunday are off-peak

So if you have laundry to do, or you want to charge your car, cell phone, run the dishwasher, do it during the off-peak hours and your efforts will be rewarded it when you receive your next utility bill.

Actionable Home Saving Energy Checklist

SPRING

SPRING CHECKLIST

  • Clean out your fridge. By cleaning out your fridge you can reduce energy consumption

  • Turn down the water heater. Lowering it by 5°C can save you 3% on your electricity bill and extend its life.

  • Consider installing ceiling fans to reduce the need to use your air conditioner

  • Consider installing ceiling fans to reduce the need to use your air conditioner

  • If your dishwasher has an energy saving cycle, use it.

  • The old fridge in the basement costs you about $150 – $250 per year to keep it on. Do you really need it?

  • If you have the choice, use a laptop over a desktop computer. Laptops use 90% less energy

  • The old fridge in the basement costs you about $150 – $250 per year to keep it on. Do you really need it?

SUMMER

During periods of hot weather your energy usage climbs substantially, especially if you use air conditioning a humidifier, or have a backyard pool. Appliances like refrigerators, must work harder to maintain a set temperature during hot weather.

FALL

During periods of hot weather your energy usage climbs substantially, especially if you use air conditioning a humidifier, or have a backyard pool. Appliances like refrigerators, must work harder to maintain a set temperature during hot weather.

FALL CHECKLIST

  • Caulk and seal drafts around windows, door, air vents, and electrical outlets. They can account for 25% of total annual heating cost.

  • Clean or replace your furnace filters.

  • Not ready to replace your furnace? A tune-up can save on your next heating bill.

  • When boiling water use a kettle instead of the stove. Because of the concentrated heat, a kettle heat water more efficiently than a stove.

  • If you have a load of clothes that is extra dirty, use your washing machine’s pre-soak cycle instead of washing your clothes twice.

  • Thinking to buy a lamp? Buy a three-way lamp that deems the light when brighter is not necessary.

  • Not ready to replace your furnace? A tune-up can save on your next heating bill.

  • If upgrading the windows in your home, select high efficiency windows with low-e coatings, and insulated spacers.

WINTER

During periods of hot weather your energy usage climbs substantially, especially if you use air conditioning a humidifier, or have a backyard pool. Appliances like refrigerators, must work harder to maintain a set temperature during hot weather.

WINTERCHECKLIST

  • During the holiday season, decorate the outside of your home with LED lights and you could reduce your energy use by as much as 90%.

  • Avoid heating areas that are not insulated, such as a garage, crawlspace, attic or storage sheds.

  • If your basement is not insulated keep the door to the basement closed to avoid energy loss.

  • During the day, open the curtains and blinds to let the sun warm the room, and at night close the curtains and blinds to keep the cold out.

  • When using the stove oven how often do you open the door to peak? 20% of heat is lost every time you open the oven door.

  • Not ready to replace your furnace? A tune-up can save on your next bill. Clean or replace the furnace filter for more savings.

  • After drying your clothes, immediately clean the lint trap every time to reduce energy use by 30%.

  • Adding a humidifier to your heating system may allow you to turn your thermostat down and be comfortable at lower temperatures.

Email Me This Checklist

Questions from our readers

  1. My furnace’s air filter has not been changed in more than 6 months, does it affect how the furnace’s energy efficiency?

Answer:Yes, a dirty furnace air filter can affect it’s energy efficiency because the dirty air filter can block or slow down air flow and make your furnace work harder which results in more energy consumption.

  1. What’s the best temperature I should set up my water heater at?

Answer: You should keep the water heater temperature no higher than 120F. If your home never runs out of hot water, it means your water heater’s temperature might be set up too high, and it is wasting energy keeping hot water when not needed.

  1. My water heater is 15 years old; should I buy or rent a new one?

Answer:Water heater tanks can last 10 – 15 years, but once they are over 7 years, they tend to use a lot more energy. To save on energy consumption, start shopping for a new water tank if yours is older than 7 years.

  1. I have incandescent bulbs and use them in my home, should I update them?

Answer: You should change incandescent bulbs for LED energy efficient bulbs. Energy efficient CFL and LED bulb use one-quarter the amount of energy and last ten times longer than incandescent light bulbs.

  1. Why do some rooms in my house get colder than others?

Answer: You should change incandescent bulbs for LED energy efficient bulbs. Energy efficient CFL and LED bulb use one-quarter the amount of energy and last ten times longer than incandescent light bulbs.

  1. My energy bill is a lot higher than my neighbor even though they have more people living in their home?

Answer: Adequate insulation may be the culprit. Insulation and especially attic insulation keep your home warm during the winter and cool during the summer. Contact a local company that performs free energy audits, and ask if there are rebates from the local government that would allow you to insulate your attic for free.

Google energy audits, then contact a company that could do a free energy audit in your home. Your local government might have incentives that may allow you to insulate your home for free.

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