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By the author of The Ultimate Guide to Frugal Living and The Flat Broke Cookbook
The price of electricity is climbing around the world, and you may be seeing this on your own bill. While there are no suggestions that will slash your prices to pre-inflation days, every little bit helps. Not all of these tips will help every single person who is reading, but hopefully, you’ll find a few ways to keep costs lower with this list of ways to save money on your electric bill.
Remember, when it comes to utilities, the savings are a journey of inches, not feet. It’s rare you’ll find one big thing that will cut your bill in half, but far more likely you could find a dozen small ways that will chip away at your total bill. And, hey – little changes are often much easier to make than huge ones, right?
Here are 75 ways to save money on your electric bill, broken into categories.
Save money on your overall electric bill
- Unplug appliances when not in use – This is effective because appliances use a small amount of energy even when turned off, known as standby power. By unplugging them, you can save up to $100 per year.
- Use a power strip – By using a power strip, you can turn off multiple appliances at once, saving energy and money. You can save up to $100 per year.
- Use a programmable thermostat – Setting the thermostat to a lower temperature when you are not home can save up to $180 per year. These are very inexpensive upgrades and will help in both summer and winter.
- Turn off lights when leaving a room – This is effective because lights use energy even when not in use. You can save up to $50 per year by doing this.
- Use LED light bulbs – LED bulbs use 75% less energy and last 25 times longer than traditional bulbs, saving you up to $75 per year. Here are some bulbs to check out.
- Install insulation in your walls, attic, and crawl space – This is effective because it prevents heat loss through the walls, roof, and foundation while also preventing heat gain from the outdoors.
- Wash clothes in cold water – Washing clothes in cold water uses less energy and can save up to $60 per year.
- Dry clothes on a clothesline or drying rack – Using a dryer can use a lot of energy, so drying clothes on a clothesline or drying rack can save up to $100 per year.
- Turn off computer monitors when not in use – computer monitors use a small amount of energy even when turned off, so turning them off can save up to $20 per year.
- Use a laptop instead of a desktop computer – laptops use less energy than desktop computers and can save up to $50 per year.
- Use a smart thermostat – A smart thermostat is different than a programmable thermostat, in that it can learn your schedule and adjust the temperature accordingly, saving up to $180 per year.
- Unplug chargers when not in use – chargers can still use energy even when not in use, so unplugging them can save around $30 per year.
- Lower the thermostat in winter and raise it in summer – by setting your thermostat just a few degrees lower in winter and a few degrees higher in summer, you can save around $180 per year.
- Use energy-efficient appliances – appliances with an Energy Star rating use less energy and can save around $200 per year.
- Install solar panels – solar panels can generate electricity for your home and save around $500 per year.
- Use a timer for outdoor lights – setting a timer for outdoor lights can ensure they are not left on unnecessarily, saving around $20 per year.
- Use motion sensors for exterior lighting – if you don’t need lights to be on all night, lighting activated by motion sensors can provide light only when needed.
- Use a power-saving mode on electronic devices – many electronic devices have a power-saving mode that can reduce energy usage and save around $20 per year.
- Use a power meter – a power meter can help you monitor your energy usage and identify areas where you can save, potentially saving hundreds of dollars per year
- Install a tankless water heater – Tankless water heaters heat water on demand and use less energy than traditional water heaters, saving you up to 30% on your electric bill.
- Use daylight for lighting – Use natural light during the day instead of running electric lights at all times.
- Use energy-efficient windows – Energy-efficient windows block out heat and cold and can save you up to 20% on your electric bill.
- Fill freezers to the top – if you have a chest freezer, don’t allow it to be partially full. Fill containers with water to take up empty space which helps the freezer to run more efficiently.
- Use pre-existing conditions to your advantage – the medical baseline program means that if you or someone in your household is reliant on electricity for a health condition, you can get reduced rates on power or a monthly allotment to help you pay your bill. Most utility companies have this – here’s a link to PG&E to learn more. Qualifying conditions include nebulizers, CPAP machines, and oxygen machine dependence.
- Use solar power to charge devices – charge phones and small devices with solar chargers. You can also find solar fans and other devices that may help if you live in a sunny place.
- Use alternative lighting – consider some soft ambient lighting for evenings with solar-powered lights, lanterns, or vintage oil lamps.
- Take shorter showers – Shorter showers use less hot water, saving you around $50 per year.
- Get a solar water heater – in many sunny areas, solar water heaters are all the rage. A storage tank is generally housed on the roof and then gravity fed into your home for free hot water.
- Change your HVAC filters – changing the filters in your central heat and air conditioning units in the fall and spring can save you money by helping your system work more efficiently.
Save money on electricity in the kitchen
- Only run full loads in the dishwasher and washing machine – Running full loads uses less energy and can save up to $50 per year.
- Use a pressure cooker – appliances like instant pots use less energy than an oven or stove and cook food very quickly, saving up to $50 per year.
- Use a microwave – microwaves work quickly, using less energy than ovens, saving up to $50 per year.
- Use a toaster oven instead of an oven – toaster ovens use less energy than ovens and can save up to $50 per year.
- Use an energy-efficient refrigerator – Energy-efficient refrigerators use less energy and can save you up to 20% on your electric bill.
- Try a solar cooker – use the power of the sun to make dinner with a solar cooker. You can buy a readymade unit like a Sun Oven or find plans to make your own here.
- Turn off vents in unused rooms – By closing off rooms you don’t normally use and turning of the vents, you reduce your bill for heating or air conditioning.
Save money on electricity in the summer
- Use a ceiling fan – Ceiling fans use less energy than air conditioning and can help to circulate cool air in the summer. Using a ceiling fan can save up to $120 per year during hot weather.
- Use a standing fan – a fan that stands on its own or sits on a tabletop can help circulate air and make a room feel cooler, allowing you to set your thermostat higher in summer and save around $180 per year.
- Plant trees around your home – the additional shade can help keep it cool in summer and save around $100 per year.
- Use a pool cover – a pool cover can help keep the water warm and reduce the energy needed to heat it, saving around $100 per year.
- Use a solar pool cover – a solar pool cover is a bigger investment, but it’s designed not just to maintain the temperature in your pool, but actually to heat it.
- Use a dishwasher – Dishwashers use less water and energy than washing dishes by hand, saving you up to 10% on your electric bill.
- Use a slow cooker – Slow cookers use less energy than ovens and can save you up to 10% on your electric bill.
- Close windows and doors during the hottest part of the day – By closing windows and doors during the hottest part of the day, you can help keep the heat out of your home.
- Install window shades, heavy curtains, or blinds – window shades, heavy curtains, and blinds can help block out the sun’s rays, keeping your home cooler.
- Use reflective film on windows – a reflective film on windows can help reduce the amount of heat that enters your home, making it feel cooler.
- Open windows at night – if the temperature outside is cooler than inside your home, open windows and doors at night to let the cooler air in.
- Use a portable or window unit air conditioner – portable air conditioners can effectively cool small spaces or rooms where you spend a lot of time. This means you don’t have to run your central air and can just cool the room you’re in.
- Use a dehumidifier -dehumidifiers can help remove excess moisture from the air, which can make it feel cooler.
- Use a fan in front of a window – placing a fan in front of a window can help draw cooler air into your home.
- Use a misting fan – misting fans can help cool the air by spraying a fine mist of water into it.
- Use a portable swamp cooler – portable swamp coolers can effectively cool small spaces or rooms where you spend a lot of time. They work by removing humidity from the air. These are also called evaporative coolers
- Use a whole house fan – whole house fans can help circulate the air in your home, making it feel cooler.
- Install reflective roofing – reflective roofing can reflect the sun’s rays and keep your house cooler.
- Use an outdoor awning or canopy over windows – these can block out the sun’s rays and keep your house cooler.
- Cook outdoors in hot weather – don’t add ambient heat to your home while cooking. Instead cook outside, using a barbecue or campfire.
- Block the sun in the summer – In hotter months, do the opposite. Preserve the coolness in your rooms by keeping blinds or curtains closed. The sun can add a lot of heat to your room so this can help to keep your room cool without turning up the air conditioner.
- Eat no-cook foods during the summer – eating salads, fresh fruits and vegetables, and things like canned tuna add no cooking heat to your home.
- Keep your thermostat higher – just turning up the thermostat 2 degrees can save you hundreds of dollars in the summer.
Save money on electricity in the winter
- Warm your bed with an electric blanket – but don’t run it all night. Put an electric blanket between the top sheet and the bottom sheet. Turn it on about 15 minutes before you get into bed. When it’s time to go to sleep, turn it off and get into a toasty warm bed.
- Use weatherstripping – sealing any gaps around windows and doors can help keep your home insulated and save around $100 per year.
- Use a space heater instead of central heating – Space heaters use less energy and can save you up to 10% on your electric bill.
- Use solar gain to your advantage – During the winter, open up those blinds and curtains (assuming you have good windows that are non-drafty) and let the sun shine into your home for some ambient heat.
- Close your blinds and curtains at night to keep heat in – This is effective because it prevents drafts and heat loss through windows. Your savings will depend on how well your windows are insulated and how cold it is outside.
- Use draft stoppers on windows to block drafts – This is effective because it prevents cold air from entering the house and warm air from escaping. The amount you save will depend on how many drafts you have and how cold it is outside.
- Wear warm clothing such as hats, sweaters, and scarves – This is effective because it traps your body heat and keeps you warm without turning up the thermostat.
- Use blankets and throws – if you’re feeling a little bit chilly, add a blanket or throw to your lap instead of turning up the heat. This is a great way to stay cozy while reading or watching television.
- Use draft excluders on exterior doors – This is effective because it prevents cold air from entering the house through gaps around the door. The amount you save will depend on how many gaps you have and how cold it is outside.
- Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air – This is effective because dry air feels colder than humid air, so adding moisture to the air can make you feel warmer. The amount you save will depend on how dry and cold the air is outside.
- Keep interior doors closed to reduce heat loss in unused rooms – This keeps the heat in the rooms you are using, rather than allowing it to escape into unused areas of the house. The amount you save will depend on how many rooms you have and how cold it is outside.
- Drop your thermostat – use other methods of staying warm and reduce the temperature on your thermostat by a few degrees to save hundreds of dollars every winter.
- Use area rugs and carpets to add insulation to your floors – This helps to keep the heat in the house rather than allowing it to escape through the floor. The amount you save will depend on how well your floors are insulated and how cold it is outside.
- Use a cover on your fireplace to prevent heat loss – prevent heat from escaping up the chimney when the fireplace is not in use.
- Cover windows with bubble wrap – grab a roll of bubble wrap from the shipping aisle of your local discount store and apply it to your windows. This adds some extra insulation to help keep the heat or cool air inside where it belongs.
- Wear fingerless gloves indoors – you feel much warmer when your hands are toasty. Fingerless gloves allow you to type on the computer or phone and do whatever you need to do around the house while still keeping your hands warm.
- Wear cozy slippers – don’t let the cold from your floors seep into your feet and give you a chill. Grab some fuzzy slippers to keep your feet warm, which in turn will make your entire body feel warmer.
Will any of these ways to save money on your electric bill work for you?
Are you seeing an increase in your electric bill? How much higher is it than last year? Did you get any ideas for conserving electricity from these tips? Do you have other ways to save money on your electric bill that are not mentioned here? Let’s discuss it in the comments section.
5 thoughts on “75 Ways to Save Money on Your Electric Bill”
You might get some ideas from the book “Living Without Electricity” by Stephen Scott & Kenneth Pellman. It’s much about how the Amish culture has lived for centuries without relying on electricity — even after rural electrification arrived in the 1930s. One good source of non-electric equipment might include these people in Ohio that supply many of the Amish communities:
Another guideline that some people use is to heat or cool the person instead of the room. That means multiple layers of clothes depending on the time of year or portable fans (and window screens that don’t let in bugs) as local temperatures suggest. I grew up in a midwest farm house that had been built around 1900. By the time I came along, heating was provided by a coal fired stove that vented straight up the chimney. That was later replaced by a butane tank supplied floor furnace. Most people in that community were still using fans (and not air conditioners) by the time I finished high school.
In my earliest years my mother used a kerosene powered cook stove even though as a young farm girl she had learned to heat and cook with a wood-fired stove. (That was still very common in the 1930s during the Great Depression.) She hated the kerosene stove because in that era the super-clean K-1 version of kerosene was not available so the dirtier version left a messy residue on the kitchen walls and ceiling. Today the better K-1 type is readily available.
I have a few red-flint arrowheads left behind by midwest Indians around 1600 after Spanish explorers with gunpowder destroyed their villages. That was a part of the country that froze in the winter and roasted in the summer — and still they had survived for centuries without electricity. In contrast, Eskimos had lived for centuries without electricity in a radically different climate. So one possible lesson that could be selectively drawn from those experiences is to dress like an Indian in the summer and dress like an Eskimo in the winter — at least to the extent that our modern civilization might permit.
I love LED bulbs! I bought several on clearance at the grocery store. Apparently you can also get them cheaply from some utility companies. I also use LED holiday lights, they work really well and use hardly any electricity.
I think a person might be able to save some electricity through judicious use of a crock pot, if they would otherwise be boiling something at high heat. Also, don’t forget to use a big spoon or wooden paddle instead of always breaking out the mixer!
Drying food can sometimes be done inside hanging mesh racks rather than using an electric dryer.
Alternate lighting. Cooking oil burned in small lamps costs only a penny per hour — much cheaper than candles. The book “Olive Oil Lamps &c.” (by yours truly) has 15 different designs — more like 22 or 23 if you count all the variations.
After moving to FL we questioned the AC guy about closing vents in unused rooms – he answered that unless you have thermostats in each room it doesn’t save any money. The only was is to block off the ductwork where it divides from the main ductwork – otherwise you’re just filling ductwork with cold air. By shutting off vents, apparently, it can also disrupt the efficiency of the unit. To keep our electric usage down during the summer we keep the thermostat at 80, use ceiling fans and wear lightweight sleeveless shirts and shorts. Our electric usage – based on Kw’s is about 1/3 less than neighbors with same sq footage homes. Other than that I think your hints are really good.
All good tips if your home is ‘all electric’. It’s difficult to cuts electric usage in a rural home that is not ‘all electric’ because you’ve already distributed your energy use and costs among multiple energy sources (usually using propane for water heating and cooking and wood for heating). Don’t overlook local programs for energy audits and check out any cost-share or rebate programs from your utility or state for passive changes like adding insulation, or replacing windows. Changes that reduce energy costs for all energy types are good returns on investment. Think about long-term changes not just short term fixes. Cost of electricity is perpetually going up, so this year’s increases are not a temporary change. Where we live we went from seeing electricity costs double in 10 years to the present doubling in 5 years or less. By the end of 2023 electricity rates will have increased 36% over just last year. Plan for it.