If you’re due for a new roof, use light color shingles or if you don’t have shingles paint your roof white. During the summer, light colored roofs need almost 1/2 the energy to cool a home than dark roofs.
If your roof is mostly flat you could install a green roof. Not only will it save on your electric bill year around, but it’s beautiful as well.
Turn off or unplug all electric devices when they are not in use. This one is the hardest one for me. Sometimes unplugging certain electronics causes us to go through a long drawn out process when we plug them back up. For example, the cable box, so I leave it plugged up, but always turn it off. For my computer, I usually enable sleep mode.
Turn off the light if you are not in the room.
If you are still using regular light bulbs, change to CFLs. They use much less energy.
Every time you use water, you use electricity, so saving water can help. For instance, when I do home canning, I have a lot of leftover water in the canner so I pour it in the washing machine and I also pour the water from our beverage cooler/water jug in the washer. It’s clean water and there’s no need to waste it.
Update your thermostat!
Update your thermostat. An old thermostat might not be working correctly, especially if it’s old enough to have a spring inside. These springs get old and wore out and it’s impossible for it to work correctly.
Do NOT turn your thermostat up and down, up and down, etc… Set it to a temperature and leave it that way. Some people recommend a programmable thermostat, but several different heating and cooling companies I’ve talked to say they don’t recommend it.
Here’s their example of why: If you program your thermostat to decrease to 50 in the morning after everyone is gone, then to increase to 70 one hour before you get home, then the unit has to work extra hard to get back up to 70 degrees. It’s much better for the unit if you set it to a certain degree and leave it alone.
On really nice days, turn your thermostat off and open the windows and doors. Use fans to help circulate the air if needed.
When the temperature is real hot or real cold, try to close the door as soon as possible when you are coming or going. A lot of air travels inside when the door is open even if it’s just for a minute.
You could turn your water heater down to 140 degrees or less. Some say they keep theirs on 120. Just remember that having the temperature too low encourages bacteria like legionnaires.
Defrost the freezer if you have a layer of ice. Layers of ice make the freezer run more and, in turn, use more electricity.
Weatherize your home! This usually consists of ensuring the home has adequate insulation under the floor, inside the walls, and roofs and/or ceilings. Making sure it has no air leaks around doors, windows, pipes coming from outside, etc… Checking the quality of the windows and making sure the outside heating/cooling unit area isn’t congested with shrubbery, dirt, etc… They will also recommend where you should plant trees in order to save on electricity. Some electrical companies offer a free home energy audit.
Change the heating/air conditioning filters, at least, every month. Waiting longer time periods will cause your system to work harder and use more electricity. Some people say it’s more efficient to get a reusable filter but, in my experience, the reusable filters did not trap as much debris.
Clean the dryer vent before each load and every three months wash the vent trap. If it’s removable, wash it with water and dishwashing liquid. If it’s stationary, wipe well with a damp cloth.
If your dryer hose is vinyl or aluminum, replace it every year and if it’s metal have it cleaned yearly. Lint gets trapped inside and this makes your dryer work harder. Keeping this clean not only saves electricity but will eliminate a fire hazard.
Use dryer balls. They reduce drying time by tumbling between clothes and helping them dry faster. Better than that, you could hang your clothes out to dry.
Do the laundry in cold water so the hot water heater isn’t needed. Also, make sure you have enough dirty clothes for a complete load. If not, you are wasting water and energy.
Take shorter showers and take showers instead of a bath.
Use energy saving modes on the dishwasher–dishwashers vary, but if it has a manual temperature mode or water-saving mode, put them on the most efficient modes and make sure the machine is completely full.
If you pay less for off-peak energy, (check with your energy company), take advantage of the off-peak energy times to do laundry, use the dishwasher, vacuum, or other things that consume a lot of energy.
Update old appliances, such as a dishwasher, range oven, refrigerator, washer, and dryer. The older the appliance, the more electricity it uses. If you plan to update any of these, visit Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) and find incentives and rebate programs.
Buy resources to help generate your own energy–solar panels, fuel cell, or residential wind turbines. Some companies will pay you to install the panels and some energy companies will pay you for the excess energy you created, but didn’t use.
Use solar powered accent lighting outside instead of wired systems. When they first came out they weren’t very attractive, but now we have more to choose from. Some of them are really beautiful.
So, there you have it--my list of how to save money on electricity. If you only choose to start with one or two things on this list it will make a difference, but I hope you do more than that. Good luck!
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