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How to Lower Your Electric Bill

Posted by: Mira Roberts

When the weather begins to heat up, so do our electricity bills. Since we rely on electricity to run our air conditioning, all major appliances, desktop computers, televisions and to light the rooms in our apartment, there's simply no escaping a utility bill. However, with good planning and daily practice, you can keep your bill from sky rocketing, even when the temperatures outside are soaring.

Before you begin making changes at home, it's a good idea to invest in a few power strips to help you manage your devices. Also, look into either installing a ceiling fan or picking up a few small, table fans that you can run intermittently to help cool your rooms and keep your thermostat set at an energy efficient temperature. You may want to review your electricity bill from the year before, to make note of the months when your bill tends to be its highest. Knowing that you may have higher bills in July and August will help you to become extra conscious of how you use energy during those months.

Here are simple ways to help you conserve energy and save on your utility bill, this summer! 

Unplug Electronics
You may not realize how much electricity you're using every day while you leave your television, computer, DVD player, tablets and more plugged in. The only way to keep your electronics from draining energy is to actually pull their plug, which can become a hassle when you're on the go. The best solution is to plug as many devices as you can into a power strip and simply turn it off each night before bed, or each morning as you leave for work.

Turn off Lights
You may remember hearing your mom or dad tell you repeatedly to turn a light off when you left a room as a child, and we're here to tell you that they were giving you good advice. Keeping lights on only when you need them, and only in rooms that you're currently using, will help you to significantly cut the cost of your monthly electric bill, all year long.

Use Fans
When the weather heats up, turn up your fan usage and help to cool your home without having to crank your thermostat down and increase your electricity usage. Ceiling fans and portable fans use significantly less energy than your air conditioning unit, and on days when the heat isn't too high, fans can be a simple and effective way to cool the rooms in your home while keeping your thermostat set for energy efficiency.

Mind Your Laundry Usage
Believe it or not, your washer and dryer use a lot of energy, and if you're running hot washes alongside your dryer, they're also working to ratchet up the heat in your apartment, making it harder to keep cool and pushing your air conditioning unit to work harder. It's a vicious cycle that you can break. First, make sure to run your washer only when you have a full load. Second, only run hot washes and your dryer in the evening, when the sun has gone down and temps are cooler both inside and outside. Finally, when possible, hang dry your goods and skip the dryer altogether.

Give Your Oven a Break
Much like with your dryer, your oven can produce a lot of heat, making your AC unit have to work twice as hard to maintain your thermostat's temperature. Save money and keep your home feeling comfortable and cool by giving your oven a nice summer vacation. Instead of using your oven, prepare fresh salads and wraps, or make use of community grills. When you have to use your oven, try to do it after the sun has gone down and temperatures have dropped.

Dishwasher After Dark
In hot months, you will want to make sure to run your dishwasher minimally, and only when full. Try to avoid using your dishwasher at all during the day, and instead run it at night after the sun has gone down. If you can, try to hand wash dishes as much as possible, and make sure you're properly loading your dishwasher so that you maximize space for full loads. 

Turn Your Thermostat Up While Away
Make sure to keep your vents dust free and clear before the season heats up or cools down. In summer, you'll want to keep your thermostat set to 78 degrees to conserve the least amount of energy possible. When you leave your home, turn your thermostat up to 85 degrees, then turn it back down to 78 degrees when you arrive back home. While that may sound warm, you'll save a lot of money on electricity and not waste cool air when you're away. Make use of your ceiling fans and table fans to cool down your bedroom or living room, and try to follow our advice about using "hot" appliances during daylight hours. You'll see an instant drop in your bill, and that will keep you feeling "cool," all season long!

About the Author
Mira Roberts Gravatar
Mira Roberts

Mira Roberts studied writing at New York University, graduating with a BA in English Literature before pursuing a career in media, marketing and management with PARADE Magazine, Portfolio Magazine, AltDaily, skirt! and lululemon athletica. A full time mother, writing instructor and part-time freelance writer, Mira lives and laughs with her family in Norfolk, VA. 


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