We all know how it feels to get sticker shock when we open up our electric bill! With all of our electronics constantly needing to be charged, extreme temps during the summer and winter months (depending on your location), and feeling like your kids are always leaving all the lights on, your electric bill can really put a dent in your budget!
I want to share with you some ways to save electricity at home in the summer so you have lots of extra money to put towards your family vacation or weekly trips to the ice cream shop!
Ways to Save Electricity at Home
Some of these tips will obviously save more money than others but remember, it’s the small decisions you make each day that can really add up at the end of each month to make a big impact on your electric bill!
Adjust Your Thermostat
Setting your air conditioning 2-5 degrees warmer will cause the AC to run less often and use less energy. Sure, you’ll have to make adjustments. Even a few degrees can make a big difference in comfort for some people.
Give your body some time to get acclimated to the new average temperature in your home. Sleep in less clothing or swap out your bed linens for some that are lighter weight for the summer. Put a fan near your bed to keep air circulating. Wear lighter clothes around the house during the day.
Eventually, your body will adjust to the new temperature and you won’t even notice the difference…but you will notice the difference when your bill arrives!
Ditch the AC for Some Fresh Air
On cooler nights, open the windows and air out the house then close the windows and blinds or curtains in the morning to keep the cool air inside. This will give your home a fresh smell while allowing you to skip the AC altogether.
Swapping your curtains out for some blackout panels like these will really help to block out the hot sun and maintain the cooler air inside your home!
Bonus Tip: It feels amazing to sleep at night with a nice cool breeze flowing through your room.
Put Your Fans to Work
Use fans to maximize airflow from air conditioners and open windows. If you have a ceiling fan, test the airflow to be sure it’s set correctly for the season.
Turn the fan on high, if you feel a breeze on you then it’s set correctly for summer. If you don’t feel a breeze then turn your fan off, wait until it comes to a complete stop then flip the switch (usually located somewhere on the main part of the fan, not the blades).
This will ensure your fan is blowing a cool breeze down around you and into your room. Be sure to flip the switch again come the cold months to help disperse the heat throughout your room.
If you have a portable fan, place it close to your vents or window unit to maximize the cool airflow. If you have the windows open to let in cooler air, try moving your fan in front of the open window.
When possible, cook outside on your patio or even in the local park. Cooking outside will keep all that warm air from building up inside your home when running your oven thus making your AC work harder to keep the house cool. You’ll also save extra money from not using the oven as often so invite the family and fire up the grill (these kinds are super affordable).
Adjust Your Thermostat
The most simple way to do this is to purchase a programmable thermostat, I have this one on my Christmas list. This allows you to program your thermostat to adjust automatically when you’re not home or are on vacation. It can even adjust when you go to bed if you’re someone who needs a cooler room to sleep in.
This tip might require a small investment up front but you’ll eventually make your money back plus some. If you don’t want to purchase an adjustable thermostat, be diligent in adjusting the setting before you leave work for the day or take a vacation…however, please remember any pets you might have in the home and make sure the adjustment won’t be too extreme for them.
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Pull the Plug
Did you know that your appliances and other plug-in-able things (that’s totally a word, right?) can actually use electricity even if they’re not turned on or in use?!? It’s true, they can! It’s often called phantom or standby energy and can actually account for up to 15% of your electric bill…whoa?!
While it wouldn’t make sense to unplug certain appliances each time you weren’t using them such as your oven, refrigerator, or dishwasher. Obviously, the food would spoil if you unplug your fridge and the dishwasher and oven are often difficult to access the plug.
But consider all your smaller appliances such as blenders, toaster ovens, clothes dryers, or even lights that aren’t used often. And let’s not forget about all the phone charging cords we leave plugged in around the house…guilty 🙋🏼♀️.
Create a habit of unplugging these items after using them and you’ll be saving electricity like it’s your job.
Compare Electric Providers
Many people still aren’t aware that in some areas you’re able to shop around for a better electric rate. Thanks to the deregulation of the energy industry we are no longer at the mercy of our local providers. Scan your bill to determine the current rate you’re paying. Then search online or call different providers to see their rates. If you find a better rate you can switch your account and save.
Just be sure you gather all pertinent information when doing so. Switching to a lower rate that is variable might mean you end up paying more in the long run than sticking with a so-so rate that is fixed. Just be sure to do your homework and not switch hastily resulting in even higher energy bills.
» READ MORE: Frugal Living Tips: 55 hacks to save money
Take Advantage of Off-Peak Rates
Did you know that for many people you actually pay different rates at different times of the day for your electricity? This is one of my favorite ways to save electricity at home…check with your provider if you’re unsure that is the case for your specific account.
If it is, then consider running your major appliances in the off-peak hours when the electric rates are lower! Running your dishwasher, doing laundry, etc. at these times can save a considerable amount on your monthly bill than running them at all times of the day.
Perform Regular Maintenance
Make sure to perform regular maintenance on your air conditioning until – and all other areas of your home – will ensure they are running properly and efficiently. Make sure the filters and coils are clean or be sure your windows are sealed properly if using a window unit.
If you don’t have the money to hire someone to perform this regular maintenance, check out YouTube where you can learn how to check and perform basic yearly maintenance to keep your cooling bills to a minimum.
These ways to save electricity at home are a great place to start cutting down your utility expenses. Doing so will free up more disposable income each month you can use to save, pay off debt or work towards your financial goals.
Don’t forget to check out all my budgeting products in my shop to help you get organized, track your bills and work towards financial freedom.
Kristin Stones is the owner of Cents + Purpose, an online community dedicated to sharing practical personal finance content. Her mission is to equip women with the necessary tools and knowledge to take back control of their money and live a more purposeful life. She creates actionable content to help her audience achieve financial wellness using her simple approach to managing money - all learned through her personal experience of paying off almost $55,000 of debt in under two years.