How to Save on Your Electric Bill

You may know to turn the lights off when not in use, but with these tricks, you can save even more.

  • Adam Bluestein, Ingela Ratledge, and Melanie Wagner

Save a Little

  • Use your curtains. During cold months, leave them open during the day to allow sunlight in; in the summer, keep curtains shut in rooms where the sunlight hits. 
  • Install motion detectors on lights in kids’ rooms. The lights will never be left on by accident. 

 

Save a Little More

  • Insulate your hot-water heater. If it’s more than seven years old, wrap it in a precut jacket or blanket (available at hardware stores). 
  • Use a programmable thermostat. Set it to raise or lower the temperature setting automatically when you’re not home. Monthly 
  • Use electronics wisely. Unplug them when not in use; they draw power even if they’re off. And use a laptop on a hard, flat surface, rather than a soft, cushy one, such as a bed or a carpet. The latter can block airflow and lead to overheating. 
  • Clean your electric heating system or air conditioner’s filter and fan. It’s best to do this once a month, but even once a year will make a difference. 
  • Launder everything in cold. Ninety percent of the energy used by a top-loading washing machine is for heating water. 

 

Save a Lot

  • Use a low-flow showerhead. A low-flow head uses less than 2 1/2 gallons a minute, compared with a whopping seven gallons for old models, which means less water to heat. 
  • Enroll in a “cycling” program. Your utility company will use a radio signal to shut off your heating system or air-conditioning periodically during peak-usage times on weekdays―say, for 15 minutes over a three-hour period.