A family that wants to know how to lower the electric bill won’t have to look very hard to find some answers. Most homes waste a lot of power, and there are many easy and inexpensive solutions to mitigating or eliminating this waste. Making smart decisions about what devices to buy and being vigilant about monitoring usage are both important to paring down excess, and with a little attention in several areas, a family can cut their overall energy use dramatically.
The two biggest uses of power in the house are the furnace and the water heater. For those that want to know how to lower an electric bill, these are the places to start. While a ductless system is more efficient than an in-duct setup, most buildings still use the latter. The problem with these systems is that they are leaky, and allow a lot of treated air to escape through seams in the duct work. In fact, this can cause as much as 25 percent of the power dedicated to heating the home to be lost. An easy way to remedy this issue is to wrap up the seams with duct or foil tape and a bit of insulation. This can increase the furnace’s efficiency by nearly 20 percent.
Another simple technique involving how to lower an electric bill is to invest in a smart thermostat. Programmable controls are standard on many models now, but the most advanced can detect humidity and motion to better time the cycle for air treatment. These top of the line models may also be designed with smart timing technology that shuts the furnace off and powers it back on in methodical patterns. With this, the furnace doesn’t have to work as hard to overcome temperature spikes, and will use less energy as a result.
The water heater is another major area of concern, as many come from the factory set with higher than needed temperatures. Most activities in the home that require hot water don’t need the water temperature to be above 120 degrees. Anything beyond that is typically excessive and may even cause unnecessary injury. Unfortunately, many water heaters are preset to maintain a temperature of 140 degrees. For a homeowner wondering how to lower the electric bill, dropping the temperature setting to 120 degrees can save a lot of money and reduce the risk of injury by scalding.
There are even easier ways for a family that wants to know how to lower an electric bill without a lot of effort. Lighting can be a major expense every month, but opting for energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs instead of obsolete incandescent fixtures can be a big help. Each bulb will easily save close to $50 over its lifetime. Plugging in multiple devices into a power strip and shutting the strip off when it’s not in use will prevent them from going into sleep mode and drawing additional energy. Appliances are another primary source of waste, and when it’s time to replace one, it’s best to choose an Energy Star rated device instead. These appliances use anywhere from 10 to 50 percent less power than older models. Many families have a second refrigerator, but it is often used sparingly. Shutting it off can save extra money every month, so when it’s not needed, unplug it.