The United States is the world leader in wasting energy. According to ‘Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’, the US wastes between 61-86% of its energy, which given generation figures in 2012, would be enough to power the United Kingdom for 7 years. What can we do about this? Well, it all starts by learning how to save money on electric bills at home.
By implementing a few small changes in your household you could do your bit towards reducing the nation’s carbon footprint all whilst saving tens if not hundreds of dollars on your electric bill. Just to put these numbers into perspective, it is estimated that the US spends on average $300 billion per year on easily remedied energy waste within households. This is more than the US spends on its military each year. Using the 4 simple steps proposed below, you can start saving money and energy today!
1. Hang your clothes out to dry
We understand that there are many factors of this one that may put you off, but going European and hanging your clothes to air dry could save you a serious amount of money. You have two options for air drying your clothes that can combat the diverse climate you may be subject to. In the summer and in times of sufficient heat, hanging your clothes on a line outside, perhaps in your yard or on the balcony of your apartment if you are permitted, is a quick, free and easy way to get your clothes dry. Especially in summer, you may find that air drying your clothes is actually even more time-efficient than in a machine.
In the winter, it can be a little trickier, but there is a way. Buying a cheap drying rack could provide you with a money-saving alternative to drying at least some of your clothes. This way, the exterior temperature and weather doesn’t matter, the warmth of your home will enable your clothes to dry as they would outside on a nice day. Not only will this save you money on your electricity bill, but air drying will also preserve the quality of your clothing for longer, eliminating any risk of shrinkage or material damage.
2. Switch to LED lighting
It is estimated that around 279 billion kWh of electricity were used between the residential and commercial sectors in the US for lighting alone in 2016. This represents around 10% of total electricity usage between both sectors and as such is a large focal point for energy reduction. In 2014 the US became a part of the worldwide phaseout of incandescent lighting, which isn’t moving perhaps as fast as it should be. Light emitting diodes bulbs, or LEDs as they are most commonly referred to as, use up to 90% less electricity than the older filament, incandescent style. Changing just 10 light bulbs in your home to LEDs could save you up to $300 per year if they were used for an average of 10 hours per day. This same principle works for office energy; if you could advocate energy saving within your office, switching to LED bulbs could save the company quite a large amount on its lighting costs.
3. Unplug items that aren’t ever in use
We all know it’s pretty ambitious to expect everyone to unplug every item in their home as soon as it stops being used. What we’re mainly referring to here is those devices and appliances in your house that are plugged in 24 hours a day 7 days a week, that you use maybe once a month or never at all. Bear in mind that even if your device is switched off, it will still be using electricity if it is plugged into an outlet. According to the US Department of Energy, around 5-10% of residential electricity bills are made up of items that are plugged in 24 hours a day. Many of these items are in locations such as the basement and the kitchen. Common examples of appliances in the kitchen that fit this description are blenders, hi-fi stereos, phone chargers and coffee machines. Just by unplugging these appliances when they are not in use, you could save a considerable amount on your next electricity bill.
4. Turn down your thermostat
If you’re wondering how to save money on electric bill expenses beyond the three ideas listed above, think heat. When the weather starts to get a bit chilly we all like to head straight for the thermostat to crank the heat up, but knowing a little more about how much your thermostat will affect your heating bills could really help you out a great deal when your next bill comes. Usually money doesn’t really come into our minds when the cold sets in, we just want to get warm. But each degree by which you raise your thermostat, increases your energy bill by a rather noticeable amount. It is said that reducing your thermostat by just 1 degree for an eight hour period will reduce your bill by around 1%. We suggest that you try reducing the temperature by just one degree each day for a week and see if you can cope with the drop. Doing this could save you a great deal of money on your next bill.