Learning to how to save energy at home is not the most exciting subject to think about. At least, for me. On one hand, I love having enough lighting and warmth in my home and not having to worry about every possible way I might be wasting home energy. On the other hand, I care about the environment and want to avoid the unnecessary waste of resources as much as I can. So is it possible for someone like me to save on the electricity bill without resorting to living in a dark, cold home?
It turns out that with some research and simple preparation it’s definitely possible and not even that hard! In the last ten months, I’ve been experimenting with simple strategies to save energy at home with a lot of success. If you want to learn how to save anywhere from 25%-50% on your home electricity bill, keep reading.
Most people are aware of the well-known ways to lower their energy consumption at home. This is something we typically learn in our childhood from our parents:
- Turning off unnecessary lights
- Setting the thermostat to lower temperatures
- Not leaving various tools plugged in when not in use
- Taking shorter showers
- Doing laundry less frequently
Following these steps was basically all I did to save energy for most of my life. Before I became a single mother on a mission to optimize and stretch my monthly budget, I wasn’t too concerned about researching any further into this subject. Without an actual budget, my expenses and utility bills did not seem significant. This is why in most of my posts you’ll see me saying that improving your finances starts with having a budget. Once you start tracking your finances, you can easily identify hidden money leaks. This includes paying more on your electricity bill than you really have to. You can download your free budget template here.
The good news is that if you’ve been using these simple strategies to save energy, you are already ahead! I know quite a few people who are not as aware, as well as many who simply don’t seem to bother. Besides undermining their negative impact on the environment, these people are also missing out on some very attractive savings they could be pocketing every month.
My desire to make my home energy-efficient came from a simple observation that in some months my electricity bill was substantially lower than in others. This made me realize that I was already doing something right. All I needed to do was to repeat that every month. This led me to expand my knowledge, and discover less-known but super effective ways to lower energy consumption at home. Even though I live in a smaller apartment, I was able to cut my electricity bill by 40%. If you live in a larger home or a detached house, your savings will be even more significant!
If you are ready to seriously lower your energy consumption, these 10 easy steps will help you save on your electricity bill all year round:
1. Change all light bulbs.
Want to know how you can use 75% less energy without doing much? Change your regular light bulbs to energy-efficient LED bulbs. Make sure to do it everywhere in your home. While these bulbs are pricier than regular ones, they last 25 times longer and will result in a smaller electricity bill every month. Remember to still turn off these lights when lighting is not necessary.
2. Invest in energy-saving outlets.
Did you know that leaving your electronics and home appliances plugged in all the time can result in a higher electricity bill? You can save hundreds of dollars by using an energy-saving outlet. It allows you to set the desired interval when to stop supplying power to your plugged in devices. I love Belkin conserve sockets, which might seem pricey but save me a lot of money every month. An added bonus is having them to do all of the “unplugging” of my devices for me.
3. Know your local off-peak electricity rates.
Ok, I must admit, I was completely clueless before that there was such a big difference between peak and off-peak electricity rates! Once I did, I saw a sharp drop on my electricity bill. It is not always possible to do all your home chores in off-peak hours, but you can try to do as much as you can when the electricity rates are at their lowest. Just do an online search for your local electricity rates. To give you an example, here is a chart offered by Toronto Hydro. As you can see, the savings are huge!
4. Charge everything at night.
As you can see from the chart above, it makes a lot of sense to charge all your devices at night time. Before I knew about off-peak electricity savings, I charged my phone, computer, and other devices whenever. Now I leave them charging at night.
5. Wash your clothes in cold water.
Washing your laundry in cold water cycle is substantially more efficient and economical. See BC Hydro’s points 14-17 on their list how to save electricity to learn how much you can save on adding small tweaks to doing your laundry.
6. Clean your dryer lint filter.
Did you know that cleaning your dryer lint filter every time can save you quite a bit of money? According to home appliances experts, your dryer uses a lot more energy if its lint filter is not cleaned every time you use it.
7. Live in a well-lit home.
If you are moving or looking for a new place, search for a well-lit place. By having a bright indoor space, you will use less artificial lighting naturally.
8. Turn everything off when you are traveling.
See the point #2 on this page to learn why you need to do this. Turning everything off will also prevent any potential incidents at home while you are away.
9. Utilize the power of blackout window curtains.
I love blackout curtains, but who knew they can also help to save up to 24% of energy costs at home? Besides making your home nice and dark for a good night rest, they also help you use your heating and cooling system at home more efficiently. If you don’t have blackout curtains already, I got a nice set at IKEA.
10. Teach your children to conserve energy.
We are not born with the knowledge how to best use the resources we have. We all need to learn. Children can use up a lot of energy (literally and not!) without realizing it. Teach them some simple ways how they can help you save electricity at home, and explain why it matters.
So there you have it! By optimizing your home with the simple strategies described above, you can make your home energy efficient and save hundreds of dollars each year.