The average American household is spending just under 3% of their income on energy bills. The typical family spending on utilities, according to the US Department of Energy, is $2,200 dollars per year. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to improve your electricity bill and lower your energy costs. Some of them you can do your yourself, and for others it’s a simple job for your local electrical contractors. Here are six suggestions for how to improve electric bills.
- Call your local electrical contractors to put in solar panels. Solar panels are admittedly an investment, but with them you can expect to save an average of about $84 dollars a month on your electric utility bills. Solar panels can also decrease the carbon footprint of your household by over 35,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.
- Get Energy efficient HVAC systems and run them correctly. The air conditioning we enjoy uses up about 5% of all the electricity produced in America. According to the EPA, the average homeowner could be saving as much as $180 per year by using the right thermostat. Your local electrical contractors can help you install a programmable thermostat that will allow you to automatically, and even remotely, adjust temperatures in the house based on everyone’s schedule. Also, remember that air conditioners run most efficiently when they are clean and properly maintained. Install your window units so they are not in direct afternoon sun, and make sure your HVAC units get their regular maintenance.
- Get the right water heater. About 13% of your home’s electric usage is for the water heater. New efficient water heaters can dramatically lower electricity costs, so ask your local electrical contractors about what energy-efficient models are available and what would be appropriate for your size of family. Once you have your heater installed, make sure it is always maintained. A water heater insulation kit can also keep heat from being lost through the walls of your water heaters tank, and keeping your temperature at between 130 and 140° will also help you save energy: as much as 10%.
- Use the right kinds of light. The Department of Energy has revealed that 22% of America’s electricity is used for lighting. To help lower your lighting energy costs, use efficient, long-lasting, eco-friendly lighting instead of incandescent bulbs. Compact fluorescent bulbs can give a warm light that looks much like an incandescent bulb’s light while using 75% less electricity and lasting as much as 10 times longer. High-efficiency halogen lighting can also use significantly less power than an incandescent light bulb while providing a similar look. LED light bulbs are a great solution for fixtures that are very hard to reach. A 10W LED bulb provides as much light as a 60W incandescent bulb and lasts for 25,000 hours.
- Get energy-efficient front-loading washers and dryers. Look for washing machines with the Energy Star rating. These use about 20% less energy than washers which merely meet the minimum standard and 30% less energy than regular washers. Front loading washers use 40% less water and 30% less energy than top-loading washers and are gentler on your clothes, too. Use hot water washing only when necessary, and while you should never overload your washing machine, do full loads infrequently rather than many small loads all the time. Dryers now come with automatic moisture sensors. Utilize this to make sure your dryer is not running any longer than necessary. Look for Energy Star rated dryers, which use 5% to 12% less energy than the previous generation of dryers.
- Get smart about cleaning your dishes. Believe it or not, dishwashers are more energy efficient then washing dishes by hand. Washing by hand uses at least six gallons more of hot water then using the dishwasher. Look for Energy Star rated dishwashers which are 9% more energy efficient and use 30% less water. If your dishwasher has an air drying option, use it.
There are many more things you can do to lower your electricity bills. Your local electrical contractors can give you more tips and help you find energy efficient appliances that are appropriate for your home.