How to Save on Your Electric Bill

Light bulb by a jar of coins that is tipped over

Have you started to dread getting your electricity bill every month? Does the thought of wasting energy unnecessarily drive you up the wall? We understand. Home energy use is both expensive and, in an age of increasing environmental awareness, a source of nagging guilt for many people.

Homes use energy in complex ways, and there’s not just one easy fix for reducing your electric bill. The good news is that through a combination of behavioral changes and small upgrades, you can run a more energy-efficient home. Here are some tips to get you started:

Change Your Lighting

Replacing the lights in your home with energy-efficient LED bulbs is a small investment that can deliver big benefits. CFLs and LEDs are at least 75% more efficient than incandescent lighting and last up to 25 times longer.

Invest in a Smart Thermostat

A smart thermostat puts a number of sophisticated tools for conserving energy in the palm of your hand. Smart thermostats allow you to easily program temperatures with greater precision and can be connected to your making it easy to monitor and adjust the smart thermostat's settings. One study by ecobee, a company selling smart thermostats, showed that their customers in North America saved up to 26% a year on their heating and cooling costs-by using their smart thermostat.

Maintain Your Heating and Cooling System

Even with sophisticated tech such as a smart thermostat, your furnace and air conditioner need to be well maintained to deliver cost-effective performance all year long. Some regular preventative service — such as checking and changing the air filter as necessary — can be done easily on your own. However, an annual professional inspection is also necessary to confirm the performance of your system and identify signs of trouble before they lead to a breakdown.

Seal Your Home

A well-sealed home will be easier to heat and cool, which means your HVAC appliances don’t have to work as hard. Prevent drafts by caulking and weather-stripping your windows and doors. You may also want to consider upgrading to a set of energy-efficient windows. While new windows can be a big investment, they can both lower your monthly electricity bill and add value to your home.

Choose the Best Utility Company for Your Needs

Several states, including Pennsylvania, allow residents to choose which electric supplier they prefer. This means you can shop around to see which supplier would be best for your needs. Research different suppliers’ programs and whether a fixed or variable rate would be best for your family.

Run Appliances During Off-peak Times

Many electric companies offer a lower rate during off-peak hours, typically evenings and weekends. Check if this discount is available through your electric supplier. Then, plan to do laundry, wash dishes, and run other appliances during any designated off-peak times.

Check Your Fridge Settings

Keeping your fridge temperature set properly not only prevents bacteria growth but can also reduce energy use and prevent unwanted freezing of food. Check your owner’s manual to determine where your fridge's temperature should be set and adjust accordingly.

Run Appliances Sparingly

Dishwashers, washing machines, and dryers all take a lot of energy to run, so be judicious in when and how often you use them. Wait until your dishwasher is full before running it, don’t use your washer if you only have half a load of clothes, and air-dry articles of clothing when possible. In addition to lowering your electric bill, using your appliances less frequently will help them last longer and require less maintenance, too.

Unplug Before You Travel

Planning a trip? Don’t forget to unplug the electronics in your home before you leave. Computers, TVs, and even lamps can all drain electricity when not in use, so make sure they’re properly shut down and unplugged before going away for an extended period.

Go Solar

Solar power systems are more affordable than ever before, particularly if you can take advantage of tax rebates and other incentives. As an alternative to an expensive full system installation, a dedicated solar water heater will cost less than a whole-house solar system upfront while still saving you money every month.

Prioritize Energy-Efficiency Every Day

Ultimately, one of the best things you can do to save on your electric bill is simply to be more conscientious about how you use energy in your home. Turn off the lights when you leave a room, shut down your computer when not in use, unplug chargers when not in use, and open a window instead of running the AC. Adopting these little habits will go a long way toward keeping your electric bills in check and making your home more energy efficient.

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The content provided in this publication is for informational purposes only. Nothing stated is to be construed as financial or legal advice. Some products not offered by PSECU. PSECU does not endorse any third parties, including, but not limited to, referenced individuals, companies, organizations, products, blogs, or websites. PSECU does not warrant any advice provided by third parties. PSECU does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided by third parties. PSECU recommends that you seek the advice of a qualified financial, tax, legal, or other professional if you have questions.