When we talk about how to save electricity at home, the easiest thing to do is to be smart about it. With inflation going up and the economy going down, saving money has become more of a necessity. And what’s the best way to save money? By cutting down on your electricity bill.
I’m sure that if you’re reading this blog post, you must have read many other posts as well. But this one is going to be different. I’ll be adding different yet doable methods from which you can save electricity at home.
Use a Crockpot
I told you, this list is going to be different. Don’t worry, I’ll come to the “basic” stuff later. Anyway, coming back to crockpots, they can cut down a lot of your bills.
Let’s say you need to cook a roast for the family, a crockpot will require eight hours, an electric oven will take around one and a half hour. Here’s the kicker, the crockpot will use only 0.8kWh whereas the electric one is going to use 3kWh. Which one is the winner? Crockpot.
Moreover, crockpots cost around $30-100 whereas fancy oven tops can cost you a ton more.
Another reason why people are moving towards Crockpots and why I shifted to a crockpot is that it enabled me to buy cheaper cuts of meat. Crockpots can easily tenderize cheap meat cuts and it will taste just as delicious.
Hold The Door
Sorry, this just sounded funny in my head. Anyway, how many times have you heard your mother, siblings, friends say to “close the door you’re letting the cooling out”? I’m sure many times.
What if I told you that a closed-door policy can cost you more when it comes to saving on electricity bill?
I know right, actually, this is what inspired me to write this post. I always thought that COMPLETELY sealing the door will help me save money but that’s not the case.
In theory, if you have a 500 cubic feet room along with 100-200 cubic feet hallway, you will likely completely seal the door so air doesn’t escape. But here’s what happens, this creates a pressurized compartment i.e. your room. Once the pressure exceeds a certain limit the trapped air is going to escape one way or the other and will be replaced by hot/cold air. Home energy, a non-profit publication department suggests that the replaced air can be as great as to 300-900% which can actually cost you a lot.
Here’s what you can do about this
Have properly sized air ducts in your bedroom.
Alternatively, cutting out a 14-inch portion of your bedroom door. I know this sounds dumb, but after reading this I’ve seen many bedrooms and offices where they have the exact same thing going on. I was too afraid to ask for the reason behind it because I didn’t want to sound dumb but now I know.
What this will do is create stable airflow and keep your room cool/warm for a longer period of time.
Switch to LED Light Bulbs
Now I’m sure if you’ve read around on how to save on electricity you must have come around this recommendation. But let us do some math, shall we?
Let’s assume on average you pay around $0.27 per kWh of usage. And let’s just assume that you have 100-watt bulbs installed in your home and you use these lights for 6 hours every day. If you go ahead and buy a bright, big 15 watt LED from Wallmart here is the amount that you’re going to save
(100-15)/1000 × 6 × 365 × $0.27= $48
You will be able to save $48 yearly on ONE BULB. If you use 2 bulbs and you shift to LEDs, your savings will double.
Turning off unnecessary lights is also another way to go about it but that’s a given for most people who are trying to be frugal about electricity.
Turn Down Your Monitor Brightness
So I use a pretty old, rugged computer monitor. Guess what I found, it that it uses 22 watts per hour on full brightness, that’s like half a cent every hour in my country. I just changed the settings to minimum brightness and VOILA, saving money already.
Just so you know I work on my computer for at least 9-10 hours a day and I’m sure people who do WFH jobs are much likely to be more on their computer. Every cent and penny counts 🙂
If you’re a CEO or a startup business and most of your employees work on laptops and computers, you have to give this idea a try.
Spend More Time At Work
This is pretty unconventional but hear me out on this one. Hot summer days can be tough, that means you will have to use the Air Conditioning more, you’ll use the fan more, you will likely desire cold water that basically means more refrigeration. You see where I’m going now right?
If you decide to spend your hot summer days at the office more often, you will likely shave your electricity bills by a quarter, you will stay better hydrated, you will get a lot more work done so on and so forth. With that being said, everyone’s situation is different, I more or less have a desk job so it’s easy for me to stay behind for an hour or two. For many, this might not be possible.
A colleague of mine gave me another brilliant idea, he charges his electric car at work, that’s absolute brilliance. That’s like saving $30-40 per month.
Furthermore, this might be a bit off topic but try getting coffee at work, it will save you a lot of money and time.
Use Blackout Curtains
This recommendation came in from a very dear friend and this for all you folks who live in areas with hot temperatures. Apparently, blackout curtains have thermal insulating properties.
For instance, living in Arizona can be tough because of the hot weather, so he gave this a try. He managed to change all his curtains and replaced them with these blackout curtains, the result? He was able to raise his air conditioning temperature by 1-2°C and was able to save $27 in a month.
Moreover, these blackout curtains are pretty cheap, I checked them out from Amazon and they’re totally worth it.
Install A Window Exhaust
Living in a two story house can be a bit difficult, especially for people who are living upstairs. In hot temperatures, occupants upstairs rely on cross ventilation where one window is open one room and another open in a different room to facilitate a stable airflow between rooms.
Here’s what I think if you install a window fan that’s going to “speed up” the process of cross ventilation. All you have to do is set up a window fan at the highest point of your bedroom window which will help in an efficient cross breeze.
I would also like to point out that this tip is very subjective. For instance, if you live in the city, it’s highly unlikely that you will be getting any cross ventilation because of the surrounding buildings blocking the air. Moreover, humidity, that’s your worst enemy during summers. If you live in a place where humidity is around 90%, this tip won’t help you at all and you will be better off with a split or window AC.
Also, the window fan tip will only work if the outside temperature is lower than the inside. Again, you can give this a try but it will only work in cities where nights are a bit cooler than the day.
Call The Electric Company
So what mostly happens is when you move into a new place, you tend to get bills that are just too much for you to handle. The reasons behind it can be numerous but I think we can narrow it down to 2 reasons, either you have a rogue appliance or there’s something terribly wrong with your wiring.
So how can we tell if it’s one of the two reasons?
You call your electricity supplier. Basically, you have to ask them for the bill of the same month as last years and check how much it was with the previous tenants. This will give you an idea of what your bill should be like.
Let’s assume your bill is high as compared to last years, here’s what you can do about it:
If you want to be frugal about this and don’t want to call a professional, ring up your friends who are good at electronics and let them check out your apartment. Ask them to look for appliances that are consuming or maybe potentially consuming a lot of watts.
A few months ago, in summers, there was something awfully wrong with the wiring of my apartment, so I turned off all the lights, appliances, fans, basically, everything and the meter was still spinning. That’s one way to check if you have good wiring but I’ll admit it’s not a good way. But hey, it worked for me.
This is a VERY subjective tip if you have any better methods of finding out the culprit do mention it in the comments below 🙂
High Definition DVR Is An Absolute NO NO!
This rather seemed interesting, I stumbled upon an article published by NY Times where it said that the biggest culprit of your apartment when it comes to being frugal about electricity could be you high definition DVR setup.
Just a little background, it says in numerous studies that these high definition DVR setups are almost 160 million, one for 2 users across the United States.
Anyway, circling back to the topic, these types of setups use around 446-kilowatt hours a year. Comparatively, that’s 10% more than an energy efficient refrigerator. (Forget the A.C, get rid of this first)
The worst part is, that even when you’re not using them they’re still consuming electricity. One study found out that these energy drainers account for $3 billion in electricity each year.
Are You Sharing Your Electricity?
Usually, what happens when you move to a new apartment that is adjacent to or on top of a local business, you might be paying their electricity bill.
I read about this on Reddit, a user got an insane $400 bill for a 2 bedroom apartment but here’s the kicker, that user shared the same address with that of a salon.
Again, the best way to check this out is to look at your bill and check out your meter number. Unplug everything, turn off all lights. go out and check if your meter is still running. If it still is you might as well be “sharing your electricity” with someone.
Smart Meters Are A Life Saver
Smart meters have been placed mostly across the United States and these bad boys can help you save electricity at home.
You can use these meters to check which appliance or to be precise which power breaker is using the most electricity. For this, you have to get access to your online portal and turn off all the power breakers of your apartment. Hopefully, the reading should stop. After a couple of minutes start turning on the power breakers one by one and if you see a spike in the meter reading that power breaker is using the most electricity, check the appliances that are on that power breaker and you will find your power hog.
Most electricity providers have a 5-minute interval, that basically means the system updates itself after every 5-minutes. So for this to work, you have to turn on each power breaker after every 5 minutes.
Minimize Electricity Use During Peak Hours
In the beginning, I talked about how you have to be smart to save electricity at home, this is what I was talking about.
Different electricity companies have different peak hours when the price of a unit consumed in that particular time could increase from anywhere between 2 to 4 times. Peak hours may differ from state to state and from city to city, however, the most common timings of peak hours are between 2-7pm and 5-9pm. During this time, you have to be extremely careful of what appliances you are using.
Using a crock pot during peak hours or prep your meals before that time is one perfect way to go about it when it comes to food. Turning off the AC, not running the dishwasher and using your laptop battery during peak hours are other effective ways to reduce your electricity cost.
A friend of mine suggested not to wash clothes during this time too, I’ve been religiously following these ideas and I’m saving almost 30-40% especially because I used to do all my work during the peak hours.
Let’s move on to some of the basic stuff
Set Your Air Conditioning
Although I’ve mentioned some unconventional ways to save electricity at home, the biggest power hog at your home is your Air Conditioner.
Being said that, there are certain ways in which you can reduce the electricity your AC uses, for instance, clean the air filter. Blockage in the air filter can significantly reduce the warm air drawn by the AC and the cold air blown out of it. This is more of a do it yourself tip, another good advice would be to get your AC serviced by professionals.
Last summers I shifted to a DC inverter Air Conditioner and it’s been saving me a ton of money too.
Depending on the weather you can always set the temperature of your AC to 26°C, that’s what I’ve been told is the optimum temperature if you want to save on some bills.
Limit Electricity Draining Appliances
Although most companies are making dishwashers, dryers, and washers that are energy efficient, there are still ways where you can take it up a notch.
Here are a couple of options which you can try:
Washing Machine – Washing clothes in cold water as compared to hot can save you a ton of time and money. You can mix darker and lighter shades together which means you will be doing your clothes in bulk and you’ll save money by not using warm water.
Dryer – This is going to be a tough one for many but you can save some money on your electricity bill by not using the dryer and hanging clothes in the sun. If you’re like me, I do my laundry early in the morning and I let them dry in the sun even in the winters. You should definitely give this a try if you haven’t, see how it goes.
Dishwasher – I’m old fashion, I never let my dishes dry in the dishwasher because there’s no need of making them go through a dry cycle, I let the air take care of it. I pulled up some numbers from Google on how much a dishwasher uses in electricity, it uses somewhere between 1200 to 2400 watts, if you’re using a dishwasher which uses 1800 watt for one hour and assuming that electricity in your area is $0.10 per hour, you will be using $0.18 worth of electricity in one hour, $5.48 a month and $65.71 in a year.