How can I Lower my Electric Bill?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 25 November 2018
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Energy bills can get extremely high, especially in large houses with multiple residents. There are a number of ways to reduce the amount of your electric bill, ranging from negotiating a lower rate for your energy from your electricity provider to purchasing energy efficient appliances. Depending on how much time and money you invest, you can generate a substantially lower electric bill for yourself, and even a few simple measures can reduce the amount of the bill by up to 30%. A lower bill also represents savings for the environment as well, since it indicates that you are using less energy, as a general rule.

Pay Less for Electricity

To achieve a lower electric bill, start by finding out how much you pay for energy. Most utility companies start subscribers off at a base rate that can sometimes be very high. If you don't make much money, you may qualify for low-income subsidies, so you should ask your electric company about how to apply for them. You may also want to consider joining a time-of-use meter program, if available, which offers different energy rates depending on what time of day the power is used, with a substantial savings in off-peak hours. If you are disabled and you rely on life support equipment or need a very controlled temperature, you may qualify for monthly energy rebates.


Use Less Electricity

After you have established that you have the best energy rate possible, you can get a lower electric bill by changing the way you use the energy. Start by turning off lights you do not use; while this savings is small, it can add up in the long run. Using compact fluorescent bulbs can also help to lower your electric bill, since they use less energy. You may also want to consider timers or motion sensors for things like exterior lights.

Look for ways to avoid using appliances that use a lot of energy. Try hanging clothing on a clothesline in good weather rather than using a dryer, for example. Run your dishwasher only when it's full, and skip the heated dry function; open it to allow the dishes to air dry. If you have an old refrigerator or freezer in the basement or garage that you don't use regularly, unplug it — and remove the door for safety.

Putting your water heater on a timer can also lower your electric bill dramatically. Many experts recommend setting the temperature to 120°F (49°C) to save money and prevent the water from scalding; this temperature may not be hot enough for dishwashers, however, so you may want to consider a dishwasher with a booster heater. In addition, make sure that your water heater is the right size; you're wasting money if you're heating a lot of water that you won't use.

Reduce the Need for Heating and Cooling

Running your heater and air conditioner frequently uses a lot of electricity, so look for ways to reduce your dependence. In the winter, open your drapes or curtains to let the sun help warm your house; keep the curtains closed when the sun is down to help with insulation. During the summer, keep your curtains closed during the hottest part of the day so the sun can't shine in. Open your windows for ventilation in the summer as much as possible, rather than using air conditioning. Use a fan for air circulation in winter and summer to maintain temperatures without using forced heating and cooling systems.

Keep the thermostat as cool as you comfortably can during the winter. You should also acquire a programmable thermostat, if you don't already have one, and set the temperature lower at night. Not only will this lower your electric bill, it will also help you sleep, since cooler temperatures promote healthy sleep. Close off rooms you do not use frequently as well, rather than trying to keep them at the same temperature as the rest of the house.

Keep Appliances Clean

Dirty coils and filters cannot work as efficiently, so clean them regularly. Check the air filters in your home heating and cooling system, and replace or clean them if needed. Clean out the lint trap in your dryer after every load; not only does a dirty lint trap make your dryer work harder, it's also a fire hazard. The condenser coils on a refrigerator or freezer should be cleaned several times a year to help the appliance work at its best.

Switch to Energy Efficient Appliances

More energy efficient appliances will also lower your electric bill. You may not want to replace all of your appliances at once, but as they wear out, look for appliances with recommendations from organizations like Energy Star. High efficiency washers and dryers can save you a great deal of money, as can refrigerators and hot water heaters that are designed to use less energy. As a general rule, gas is cheaper than electricity for heating and stoves, and you may want to consider switching to gas for these appliances if possible. You can also get a lower electric bill by installing solar panels, along with a passive solar water heating system.


"Vampire" electronics, like computers and cell phone chargers, continue to draw power even when turned off, so unplug them. Many modern electronics operate in "sleep" mode when turned off; this is a low power setting that allows the device to turn on and be used quickly. Unplugging these devices eliminates this unneeded power drain. You may want to plug such devices into a single power strip, which can then be turned off or unplugged, making disconnecting multiple electronics easier. Some power strips also continue to draw power when turned off, but it's still easier to pull out the single plug of the power strip rather than each individual device.

Make Your Home More Energy Efficient

If you want to keep the cost of electricity even lower, consider investing in your house itself. Many energy companies offer free energy audits, in which an employee will inspect your house and make recommendations. These recommendations commonly include installing fresh weatherstripping around doors and windows and adding insulation. Although you may pay out a sizable chunk of cash retrofitting your home, it will show in a lower electric bill. In some cases, an energy company may even help you pay for energy efficiency measures; other improvements may qualify for a tax credit.


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Discuss this Article

Post 23

Central air usage is usually the biggest reason for a high electric bill. There are several things you can do to reduce your bill, but the best thing I found was from larson fan company. It really reduces how much your central air will run and reduced my bills by at least 25 percent.

Post 22

I live in NE Kansas, and only have access to one electric provider, so switching providers is not an option. Our bill is over $600 a month.

I cannot believe this is due to me not switching off my vcr or something trivial like that. Could I have a direct ground in the system? How can I get this under control, and is this normal for a two-bedroom house that run on all electric? I feel I am being scammed by the provider!

Post 21

@anon116303: I believe you may be talking about the EnergyMizer? It's really a great device and the company offers many ways to save on all your bills at home. If you've seen the video, then you must not have understood how it works.

Basically, you are plugging your EnergyMizer device into a power outlet that uses a lot of electricity (refrigerator, washer/dryer, full size freezers, etc). The best way to find a spot for your EnergyMizer is to look at your circuit breaker (usually in the garage).

Now, whenever your appliances turn on, there are spikes in the kilowatts which causes your electricity bill to be higher; it's basically using more energy then it needs to. (You can see an

example of this when you turn a light on and it gets really bright for a split second.)

With the EnergyMizer plugged into the outlet, it takes the spikes of energy and keeps them inside the device. From here, it makes the electricity come out smoothly to all the appliances, without the frequent spikes!

Post 19

Turning off "phantom loads" may be good advice for some things, but not all. This is never addressed in any articles I have seen on the subject. If you have a VCR or DVD player you may find out that turning off the main power will have you resetting the clock and reprogramming any shows that you have set.

The amount of time that power can be turned off varies from as little as two minutes to four hours. Most such units have backup batteries or capacitors to retain settings for a little while.

Most printers should be turned off by the switch on the printer. This allows the print head to go to a "rest position" that prevents the ink from drying out.

It just depends on how much your time is worth versus how much energy you really save.

Post 18

Excellent information. Of course you can also ride the upward curve of energy costs at the lowest cost to you at any point by checking and comparing utility prices and switch provider.

Post 15

Can anyone tell me about a product Power Mizzer? It's supposed to cut the electric bill by 25 percent or something. I just don't know how it works.

Post 14

@jpjponeil: plugging your electronics and chargers into a power strip and then turning off the strip will save electricity.

However, some strips will allow energy to be drawn. They make special power strips that will block energy from being drawn to certain electronics, but if you do not have one or are not sure, it is still easier to unplug one power strip instead of multiple electronics.

I used this method, and with a programmable thermostat for my central air and heat, I was able to lower my bill to about $75. The only exception to this was I left my lamps plugged in. Everything else was unplugged as soon as I was done with it. Of course, I worked all day and no one was at home, either, but before I started, my bill ran around $125.

Post 13

i live here in atlanta, ga. what's a good set number to keep my AC at so my bill stays low?

Post 8

Good info. I like the point about fans, since I don't have a central system.

Post 7

I have used hydro power saver and it saves me up to 32 percent. At first, i was paying $200 and it reduced my bill up to $130-140. I love this and advise you use this.

Post 6

I bought a whole home energy saving system and my bill dropped 24 percent.

Post 5

I was told that "unplug" is the word to a better electric bill turning off is good but still use's a "standbye" circuit that ultimately uses energy. True or False? and if true by how much would I be saving?

Hey I have a lot of plugs fact plus on top of plugs and please don't laff they don't sell many, many extension cords just to me hahaha If I organized it to where I could plug in non-essential plugs to (for example) my DVD Player, Surround Sound Unit, Wii Game and Cable Box into a electric Bar and each night hit the switch off (Turning everything off prior to) of course... would I be saving Or will I still be absorbing electricity via that Bar? lots of questions like this and more to follow

Post 1

You can also have someone treat your equipment and electrical loads.

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