Any homeowner facing exorbitant utility payments need not feel matters are beyond their control—there are many ways one can get a lower electric bill, in particular. Most consider their monthly electricity payment as a fluctuating but irrepressible expenditure that they are not in command of. It is the unfortunate truth that many homeowners accept whatever amount of wattage used as unavoidable. By failing to realize the degree to which they can affect this utility expense themselves, homeowners often waste money.
When examining the different ways in which families can save money, there are two distinct approaches that can lead to a lower electric bill. First off, there are behavioral changes that can reap savings rather instantly. To contrast, there are also investments in energy efficiency, which see savings down the road. The savvy homeowner will see the benefit in employing both methods.
Behavioral adaptations include the many ways in which people change their daily routines in order to be mindful of their consumption of energy. Such behaviors include unplugging “vampire” appliances that passively consume kilowatts, choosing to go without, finding alternatives to optional appliances, or seeking recreational activities that don’t require fossil fuels. Some appliances even offer the option of a low-energy mode.
Simple things such as keeping the curtains closed during a hot day can have a sizeable effect on how hard an air-conditioning unit has to work. Switching out incandescent light bulbs for compact fluorescent bulbs not only greatly reduces the power needed to generate light, but also creates less heat. Choosing to run the dishwasher or a washer and dryer at night rather than in the heat of the day can make a notable difference. All of these actions require no monetary investment, only a level of awareness.
While being frugal with one’s use of power consumption can certainly result in a lower electric bill, there are even more savings to be had if one is willing to make an investment. Being aware of one’s behavioral choices regarding power use can result in notable savings. However, in the end, such adjustments are really only half of the picture. While being thrifty with “optional” uses of power is all fine and well—many do not consider heating and cooling optional, especially during the extremes of winter and summer. Thus, anyone really interested in seeing a lower electric bill will want to look into home improvements that reduce ongoing power needs.
Such improvements may include getting newer energy efficient appliances, remedying un-insulated walls, fixing leaky ducts, or replacing an inefficient furnace. Such investments require commitment of the individual to incur the original cost before reaping the long term savings in the years to follow. For those with more dispensable income, more drastic system upgrades can be considered. Retrofitting a house with sustainable renovations such as photovoltaic solar panels and geothermal heating can create a lower electric bill each month. A typical rule of thumb with any level of modification is the greater the ultimate savings, the higher the upfront cost.
In order to help assess which repairs are most urgent and worthwhile, it can prove invaluable to have one’s home professionally examined. An energy audit will help homeowners decide which investments are most worthy, and which options have the quickest payback in savings.