1. How to Read your Electric Meter
2. Reading your Bill (How Much Your Kilowatts Cost You)
3. Measuring Electricity Inside the Home
4. Making Choices with What You Know (How Much Energy Does that Dryer Use)?
Now we’ll look at little tips that can save you BIG money.
1. Change your light bulbs to CFL or LEDs. This is an old tip and I’m hoping that you’ve already switched the light bulbs in your house. CFL are now relatively inexpensive as compared to when they first came out. LED on the other hand can still be quite costly. I have a few LED and have bought them on sale. Mostly we use CFL. There is no reason to be using a 60 watt regular light bulb where a 13 Watt CFL will do. At first I did not like the color of the light they put out. But then I learned I had to look carefully at the label to see what I was buying. I like a soft yellow light (not blue old style florescent light). Some home improvement stores have displays that show the light the different color bulbs put out, which is helpful. For cost comparison if I have 20 – 60 watt bulbs on 8 hours a day it will cost me approx.. $1.24. By changing these to 20 – 13 watt bulbs I save .96 a day or $350.00 a year.
2. Sign up for Income or Elderly assistance if your electric company has it. Most electric companies have programs that reduce the cost of your electric bill if you’re over 65 (sometimes 60), or if your annual household income is under a certain amount. Whether or not you like these programs (since when is 60 old?), we all pay into these programs involuntarily. Look at the bill below. You can see an item called Low Income Assist Fund that is added to the bill. Each month we are contributing to the fund to support these programs. You will also see a $7.00 credit under income assistance.
3. Check your bill for mistakes. Your electric company makes mistakes. The first bill I received after changing my time of use rate they flipped the off and on peak numbers! Yes, it showed 86% of my usage was during a peak time! Check your bill and understand it so that if an error is made you can have it corrected. Finding this error saved me $23.00 this year.
4. Chest freezers are more efficient than upright freezers by almost 60 %. My chest freezer would cost $2.34 more a month- $28.00 a year- if it were an upright. Also, a chest freezer costs less money to buy. In the long run you are saving money on energy AND the original purchase price.
5. In cold weather, dress warmer; don’t turn the heat up. Add a sweater, socks and shoes. Add extra heat to a room, not the whole house. As an added bonus everyone will gather together to be in that room. Before bedtime, turn on an electric blanket for 30 minutes to warm your bed. Unplug it before you climb in. From there on out you will generate your own heat. Don’t leave it plugged in all night! The difference for one bed for 30 min. instead of 8 hours is .20. But for us, 6 electric blankets at 30 min. each will cost $.06 a day or $5.90 a year. Saving us $113.40 a year (calculated at 90 days a year) by only having them on for 30 min. instead of 8 hours.
6. In hot weather, do your best not to turn on the air conditioner. Home with the kids? Cool off in the afternoon in a pool, county or state park lake, city spray park, or your own sprinkler. Go to the library in the afternoon or set up a cozy spot to read or play games in the basement (which is naturally cooler than above-ground levels of a house). Keeping air conditioning off as compared to running it 3 hours a day for just 90 days out of the year saves us $122.85 per year.
7. Continue to educate yourself on electricity usage and your savings are infinite. Here is one great site: www.michealbluejay.com.
Next time we’ll talk about extreme ways (at least for we Americans) to save on heating and cooling.