Let’s face it—we all want to save electricity. But in reality, the electricity bill always surprises us and makes us wonder if there is any possible outcome in which we could lower it over time.
If you are feeling the same way about your electricity bill payment and want to save some greens while going green, you are not the only one.
Before we break down the average cost, compare electricity costs and list the best ways to save money, let’s guide you in the actual process which determines how electricity is calculated.
The Main Things That Determine the Total Amount of an Electricity Bill (How Much Electricity Each Appliance Uses)
If you are new to electricity bills and don’t know how they are measured, it’s quite simple. When you buy gas, they charge you by the gallon. In contrast to this, when you buy electricity, they charge you by the kilowatt-hour (kWh). So, if you use 1,000 watts for 1 hour, that is a kilowatt-hour.
When it comes to the actual electricity bill usage by appliance, a medium-window unit AC of 1,000 watts uses 1 kWh when used for one hour. Similarly, a 42” ceiling fan on low speed has 24 watts and if used for ten hours, would use 0.24 kWh, accordingly. An average light bulb of 100 watts, on the other hand, is used 730 hours (monthly on average) which translates to 73 kWh.Note: You cannot always trust the wattage that is printed on the device—most of the devices don’t use the full wattage all of the time.
If we see the electricity bills and rates by state in the United States, we can see that the average is around 12.83 cents per kilowatt-hour. This is official information from the U.S Energy Information Administration. However, each specific location and state have different prices per kilowatt-hour. If you want to compare electricity rates per state, you can use this calculator and enter your zip code.
The cheapest electricity bill payment in the United States comes in the states of Louisiana, Washington, Missouri, North Dakota, Arkansas and Idaho. Hawaii residents, on the other hand, pay the highest electricity rates in the country.
Below, we are listing the best ways to lower your electricity bill from three unique aspects.
How to Lower Your Electricity Bill: The 3 Aspects You Must Consider
Now that you know how to compare electricity used from one device to another, it’s time to see how you can lower your bill and save electricity in the long run.
Basically, there are three things that you can focus on if you want to lower your electricity bill. These include your:
- Appliances: Using high-efficient ones can help you save electricity
- Behaviors: Shifting your behavior to a smart one will help you lower your electricity bill
- Source of electricity: Choosing a provider with a lower electricity rate (or going solar) will result in a cheap electricity bill payment every month
The good thing about all of these aspects is that you can learn a lot about them and use our advice to lower your electricity bill with really simple tips—shared in the sections below (for each category).
How To Lower Your Electricity Bill Through Appliances: 6 Things You Can Start Doing Today
When it comes to using smart appliances to lower your electricity bill, the rule is simple. You need to focus on choosing the most energy-efficient products—or in other words the products that don’t use much electricity.
At this point, you should know that a lower electricity bill payment doesn’t only mean savings—it also means less energy used which translates to less pollution. Knowing that the average home pollutes more than the average car, it’s about time to get smart and keep the air and water clean.
Tip #1: First, get rid of your energy drainers
Ready to save electricity?
Okay. To do that, the first lesson is to see which appliances are actually the biggest energy drainers—and the ones which account for the most part of your electricity bill.
According to statistics, heating and cooling use around 47% of your electricity, while water heaters, washers and dryers account for around 13% to 14% of the total energy use. The lighting is also at 12%, while smaller appliances such as the refrigerator, electric oven, TV, DVD and the dishwasher are with 3% to 4% each.
Obviously, you can’t just stop using the refrigerator or stop watching TV. However, there are some alternatives that you can consider, mainly for the biggest energy drainers which are the heating/cooling and your washers and dryers.
If you cann’t “get rid of” these drainers, you can consider embracing ENERGY STAR certified appliances. By this product finder, you can find the ones consume less electricity and save you more money.
Tip #2: Use ceiling fans instead of AC units
Ceiling fans are a great alternative to the air conditioner. If you compare electricity and see how much you are paying for in your bill due to your AC unit, you will see that the difference is big. For an initial investment of around $100 (if you don’t have ceiling fans), you can save around $500 per year or more.
Similarly, you can use space heaters to lower your electricity bill and heat only the rooms you are in (rather than the entire house as with your central air conditioning system). Plus, you can turn off the fans when you are not home.
Tip #3: Install energy efficient windows
Energy efficient windows are not only a smart decision—they are an actual trend this year—and a major consideration for both new and existing homes. According to stats, heat gain and heat loss through windows is responsible for around 25% to 30% of residential heating and cooling energy use.
So, if you are selecting windows for your new construction or just want to replace your existing windows because of this reason, it’s wise to choose the most efficient ones you can afford—and the ones that would work best in your climate.
Even though energy efficient windows may be a costly investment, they are also an investment which pays for itself over time, mostly through your lower electricity bill.
Tip #4: Use a laundry rack instead of a dryer
Ditching your dryer can be a great way to go green and save green. According to a survey by Pew Research Center in 2006, around 83% of Americans think that a clothes dryer was a necessity. However, in 2010, the same survey showed that only 59% of Americans share the same opinion.
The point is clear—about a third of Americans have figured out that it takes a huge commitment of energy to run a dryer. When ditching the dryer, you can save on your electricity bill, energy, money, time and also save curb emissions.
Your clothes will also last longer and thus, you’ll save the cost of replacing them before their time. Also, using a laundry rack instead of a dryer is a safer way, completely eliminating the risk of a dangerous fire.
Tip #5: Replace ten of your 60-watt bulbs with compact fluorescents and solar lights
Last in this list of tips to save electricity is the one which focuses on your lightbulbs. As you probably know by now, using incandescent lights is something that costs you more than you think.
So, deciding to replace your incandescent bulbs is also a decision that will result in a lower electricity bill payment. The good thing is that there are a few different options including halogen incandescents, compact fluorescents and LED lights.
While halogens are designed to closely mimic the quality and output of a traditional bulb, they are also very efficient. Compact fluorescents, on the other hand, use around a quarter as much energy as traditional bulbs, while LED lights are best known for their extremely long life and energy efficiency (of up to 70%).
If you own a yard, you must consider using solar-powered lights with battery storage. That means you can install lights for your garden without concerning about the wiring, and consuming electricity.
So, all of these choices are good in terms of efficiency—you only need to consider what suits you best.
Tip #6: Install and use smart modern devices and strips to lift up your electricity bill savings
As we shared above, the electricity used by electronics is a major source of energy waste. This is why smart power strips have been introduced to the market—as a way to eliminate the problem of “vampire energy” or “phantom loads” as this waste is called.
For those of you who don’t know anything about smart power strips, they are basically a way to shut off the power to electronics when they are not in use. They can be set to turn off at an assigned time and during periods of inactivity through remote switches.
For more information on the best smart plugs, strips and devices with ratings and reviews, visit the following link.
How to Lower Your Electricity Bill Through Behaviors: 6 Smart Habits You Can Learn Today
The second aspect of a lower electricity bill is your actual behavior. If you turn your day-to-day practical and smart behaviors into ones that actually have you thinking about saving electricity, you are on a good way to lower electricity payments.
Tip #7: Turn off the lights that you are not using
A lot of times, we find ourselves using lights in rooms where no one is present. Think of it like a habit—you sometimes turn the lights on and think that you will visit that room in the near future. However, the cost effectiveness of when to turn off your lights also depends on the type of bulb and the cost of electricity (which is discussed in the fifth tip).
What you should also know is that incandescent lights should be turned off whenever they are not needed. Believe it or not, 90% of the energy that these lights use is given off as heat and only 10% of it results in light. So, turning these lights off will also keep a room cooler which is an additional benefit for the summer days.
To calculate the exact value of energy that you are going to save and how lower your electricity bill will be, you need to see how much energy the actual bulb consumes when it is on. For example, a bulb of 40 watts which is on for one hour consumes 0.04 kWh. Ten of them amount to 0.4 kWh which is definitely a substantial amount of electricity used—for only one hour in the day.
Tip #8: Unplug the devices you are not using
Collectively, all of your smaller appliances and devices add up to your electricity use. What many people don’t know is that devices which are plugged in continue to draw trace amounts from your outlets.
Yes, we are talking about your toaster, coffee pot and similar items. The electricity that they are (passively) using is known as “vampire energy” and could account for as much as 5% in your electricity bill payment. In the long run, this 5 % is substantial (on a yearly basis, for example) which is why you should unplug all of the devices which are not in active use.
Below is a video which visually shows the effects of plugged-in devices and the electricity that they consume—even when your devices are not in use.
As you can see from the video above, the power of appliances which are plugged but not in use can drastically increase, especially if there is more of them.
Tip #9: Use less hot water
Using less hot water will not only let you see lower electricity bills—but it will also help you preserve natural resources, too. If you want to contribute to the environment, this is probably one of the best ways to consider.
Basically, using less hot water is free in most cases. Installing a low-flow showerhead is an affordable way to reduce water consumption during a typical shower—by more than 50%.
On a side note, you may also consider replacing your older showerheads with low-flow units and save more than 15,000 gallons of water a year and $145 to $150 per year in water heating costs.Note: Did you know that a faucet that leaks one drip of hot water per second can waste 400 gallons of water a year and $8 in water heating costs alone?
Tip #10: Service your HVAC units regularly
Scheduling an annual HVAC maintenance is a wise decision to lower your electricity payment. Once you learn the ins and outs of regular maintenance, you will benefit from no surprise breakdowns, all while operating your HVAC at top efficiency.
The truth is, no matter how expensive your HVAC system is or what the manufacturer promises, it is always a complicated piece of equipment which is prone to breakdowns and needs repairs.
The most important part, however, is that HVAC system maintenance saves energy, and a lot of studies have confirmed this.
Tip #11: Keep your home well insulated
Reducing your air leakage by air sealing, properly insulating your home and replacing and/or improving your heating system are the three most important ways through which you can reduce your electricity bill.
Newer homes generally are better insulated than older. However, in most of the cases they are still not insulated to the optimal (best) recommended levels. For more information on this, you can see the Summary of Green Building Programs (PDF) and check out which are the best energy efficiency and green building programs—and if your property fulfills them.
Tip #12: Use your air conditioners smartly
Sometimes, air conditioning is a must. Especially if the temperature is over 90 degrees and you feel like you are boiling.
The best ways to be rational in these scenarios and keep your electricity bills low is to limit the AC usage at night and close off the vents. You should also check your ducts and make sure that the areas where your ducts run are properly insulated. This will keep the air coming in as cool as it can be.
Another good tip is to rearrange your furniture and make sure that your air conditioning flow is solid. There are plastic pieces which you can buy for your vents and help force air in the right direction—or rearrange your furniture (even if it is temporarily).
How to Lower Your Electricity Bill Through Choosing the Right Source of Electricity: 3 Things to Know
Last but not the least section in our guide is the one where we talk about choosing the right electricity provider and how big of a difference it could make in your electricity bill.
Alternatively, you can decide to go solar and reap the benefits of minimal electricity bill payments. When you compare electricity, you can see that solar is usually the best way for huge savings.
The video above can also help you see a couple of great tricks to lower your electricity bill and save up to 50% or more on your energy costs.
Tip #13: Choose from a variety of electric companies providing electricity to households
If you are paying a greater electricity bill than you deserve or live in a state which allows you to choose your electric provider, you should know that switching between electric companies could save you tons of money.
All you need to do is check your current rates and see if a potential switch can make sense for you. Even an online search could lead you to a lot of answers—and a phone call can confirm the answers to you.
As soon as you find an electric company you’d like to switch to, you should get the rates in detail and determine the best deal for you. To start, all you need to do is contact the new electric company directly and tell them to establish service. Then, wait for the first electricity bill to come and pat yourself on the back for being smart and conscious.
Tip #14: Compare the best prices by ZIP code
If you don’t know where to start, the best way to move forward would be by seeing all the electricity providers in your area. You can start searching by ZIP code.
Not sure where?
This website is specializing in helping you find the best electricity providers by ZIP code and local electric companies. You can choose and save on energy with the best rates and plans which are shared in a transparent way on their website’s homepage.
Tip #15: Establish your own solar power generator
The last tip is to embrace the power of solar power systems. If you compare electricity costs between various alternatives, you can easily see that solar is the king of lower electricity bills. With it, the costs are further decreasing.
This study also shows that solar energy presents more advantages over other types of renewable resources. Solar helps lower your electricity bill and meanwhile fulfill your social responsibility to mitigate climate change—the most accessible type of renewables for the general public!
According to a report, from 2006 to 2016 the average cost of a solar system dropped from $9/watt to approximately $4/watt when it is installed by a professional company—and down to $2/watt if it is self-installed. There are also a variety of flexible financing options and programs to help you go solar:
- Buy a solar energy system with a tax credit and incentive(s) provided by your local government or utility. Once you figure out the price of the system, its financing costs and the value of the electricity that is generated, it is entirely possible to estimate an approximate payback time on your investment and know the return on investment (ROI) when buying solar panels. Nowadays the payback time for such investment can be around 5-7 years, and the excess electricity generated can be also sold to the grid.
- Go solar by a solar lease. A third party owns the PV system equipment, you then pay to lease the equipment. Under a leasing arrangement, you typically pay the builder a flat monthly fee for the equipment that is based on the estimated amount of electricity the system will produce—this amount is often less expensive than the original electricity bill.
- Consume solar power electricity through a power purchase agreement (PPA). With this means, you host a solar power system owned by the solar company and purchase back the electricity generated. According to stats, the purchase price of solar electricity is often lower than the local utility’s retail rate.
Note: If you are a resident in the United States, you can search for additional state, local, or utility incentives on the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE).
We hope that this guide helped you learn all the ways to save electricity.
Again, cutting down on your electricity bill also means caring for the environment. These practical tips can increase the value of your property, protect the environment and put you in charge of a green and eco-friendly initiative.
More tips to lower electricity bills...
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