You can do lots of little things to lower your monthly electric bill or complain about the constantly rising rates and do nothing. The choice is yours.

Here is how to start –

Use a thermostat that you can adjust to change the settings several times during the day. When no one is home, you can set the air conditioner at 82degrees, and then lower it 30 minutes before you arrive home to 78 degrees. If it is the winter and you live in a cold climate, lower the thermostat over night, then have the heat come up 30 minutes before your alarm clock rings.

Turn off appliances when they are not in use.

Turn off your ceiling fans when you leave the room. Ceiling fans only circulate the air they do not cool the room, so there is no reason to leave them on when no one is there.

Replace or clean filters on your air conditioner and heating systems monthly. Keep the clothes dryer filter clean and remove lint after each use.

Replace old window shades with window shades that block out the sun. This will keep your home cooler in the summer, so the air conditioner doesn't go on as much. It will prevent your furniture and carpet from fading as well.

Use a lit candle to determine if there are any drafts around your doors and windows. Drafts should be caulked or sealed to prevent cool air from escaping when your air conditioning is running and warm air from escaping when it is the heating season. The goal of air conditioning and heating is to make your home comfortable, not the outside.

Lower the temperature on your water heater.

Replace incandescent bulbs in your home with energy efficient compact fluorescents. They will consume less electricity, produce less heat, and last longer needed replacement less often.

Everything you do to lower your monthly electric bill also helps to reduce the carbon footprint in our environment. These are small things that can add up to a lot of savings per month. Then you decide if you want to install a solar powered water heater or new windows or many other energy saving improvements that might qualify for tax credits of up to $1500.

You can visit the US Department of Energy or the US Department of Environmental Protection for more information on specific products.