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Top Ten Ways to a Lower Energy Bill

By Edited Dec 25, 2013 1 4

1. Use Florescent Lights

Replace incandescent light bulbs, wherever possible, with florescent light bulbs. Florescent light bulbs use less electricity than incandescent bulbs rated to give out the same amount of light, thus helping you have a lower energy bill.

They also run a lot cooler and so radiate a lot less heat than the incandescent lights. You can burn yourself badly on a standard light bulb since to generate light a metal element inside the bulb is heated until it glows. Incandescent bulbs shine light by exciting the gas within the glass. The gas glows and lights up your life.

Compact Florescent Bulb (CFL)
Credit: Angelo Rodriguez Photos

2. Use Power Strips

Use surge protectors and power strips to hook up all non-essential electrical devices. Non-essential means equipment that does not have to stay on when you are not using it. TV’s, stereos, DVD players, CD players, game systems all can qualify.

An alarm clock/radio would be considered essential if you need it to wake you up. Refrigerator/freezers would also be essential.

 When you go to bed, or leave the house (for more than a few minutes) turn off all the equipment and then turn off the power strip or surge protector. This will assure that the equipment is powered down and result in a lower energy bill. A lot of modern equipment still uses electricity even when turned off.

Power Strip
Credit: Angelo Rodriguez Photos

3. Insulate the Water Heater

Buy a water heater blanket and wrap it around your water heater. The insulation will help keep the water in the tank hot longer. This will keep the water heater from turning on as frequently, thus saving you some electricity or gas. A lower utility bill is your reward.

4. Insulate hot water pipes

If you have access to your hot water pipes, you should consider putting insulation around them also. In-expensive foam insulator for pipes is available at most home improvement stores. There is also an insulated strip that is wrapped around the pipes.

Use the one you find easiest to install and meets your budget. Either will help the water in the pipes stay hot longer than if the pipes were not insulated and could help with a lower energy bill.

5. Replace Furnace/Air Filter Monthly

To help your furnace or air conditioner work with less of a strain, replace the intake filter monthly. If you have the type that can be cleaned, then clean it once a month. If you use the air conditioner or furnace infrequently, then at least check the filter monthly to see what condition it is in.

Clogged air filters make it harder for air to flow into your furnace or air conditioner. This makes them work harder – use more electricity to function – and can shorten their life span.

6. Use Ceiling fans

To save on air conditioner costs consider installing ceiling fans. The air flow the fans create will make you feel cooler. Start by installing ceiling fans in the rooms that you use most – probably the bedrooms and living/family room.

Use the coolness from the ceiling fans to lower your air conditioner bill by raising the operating temperature on your thermostat by a few degrees. Just 2 or 3 degrees higher on the temperature scale can help reduce your electric usage for air conditioning and get you a lower energy bill. It may help the equipment last a bit longer also since it doesn’t need to turn on as often.

Ceiling Fan
Credit: Angelo Rodriguez Photos

7. Turn Off the Lights

An often overlooked way to save a few bucks on energy costs is the simple act of just saying no to artificial lights. Let natural light into your rooms instead of relying on lamps.

If you are not in the room turn the light off. Although it may seem impossible, try to get the kids to also get in the habit of turning off lights when they leave a room. Let them know they can help the family with a lower energy bill and help the planet by leaving a smaller carbon footprint.

8. Install Window Blinds

The use of window blinds can help you regulate the amount of light and heat that gets into your home. Use them to allow light into your home, especially the rooms you are using, so that you can turn off lamps. 

Whether horizontal or vertical blinds are used, you can turn the slats so that natural light can filter into your rooms. When the sun is trying to shine inside your home the slats can be adjusted to reflect it back outside. This will help keep your home a bit cooler, as direct sunlight inside the home can warm things up quite quickly. 

Of course in winter, you want to invite the sunlight into your home. Opening the slats of window blinds will allow you to take advantage of the sunlight’s heat and perhaps keep your furnace from working as hard.

9. Use the Dishwasher

Dishwashers actually use less water per load than hand washing – of course you have to compare equal amounts of dishes. The trick is to turn on the dishwasher only when it is fully loaded. 

If you only use a single cup in a week, running that cup through the dishwasher will waste both water and energy. Hand wash the cup and dry with a towel. Most people however will use a lot more than a couple of cups or utensils in a week’s time, so waiting for the dishwasher to fill up makes more sense and your reward will be a lower energy bill.

10. Do Full Laundry Loads

Like dishwashers, laundry machines are best used when there is sufficient clothing in the laundry room to make a full load. It is when fully loaded that laundry machines are at their most efficient – in both the amount of detergent used and the energy per load used. 

Running a full load, instead of a bunch of small loads, can help save both water and electricity (or gas), thereby reducing your utility bill.

Share How You Lower Energy Bills

If you have other low cost ways to save on energy bills feel free to add them to the comments.



May 21, 2011 8:42am
These are all sensible tips that everyone can benefit from.
May 26, 2011 3:54pm
In this economy lowering energy bills is a must thanks for the excellent advice.
Jul 4, 2012 7:24pm
I'm really into getting rid of bills and lowering them as much as possible. I didn't know there was such a thing as a water heater blanket. Is that something you wrap around that drum? If it is, then I need to get one. I've already implemented 5 of these tips and they really work. Nice article!
Jul 5, 2012 2:41am
Shivon, a water heater blanket is sold by most larger hardware stores. The ones I know of are made of fiberglass and wrap around the outside of the heater. You may have to make a cut out so you can access the water heater adjustments or if gas, to allow so the pilot isn't blocked. The place you buy from should be able to give you instructions on how to use it.

You can also try to lower the water temp down to 120. Try it there and if you don't like it you can always bring it back up a bit. The lower the water temp the less the heater will be on.

Finally, if you have the means, you can look at tankless water heaters. They provide water on demand but may be pricy depending on tank and installation costs.
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