13 Ways to Lower Your Electric Bill

“Paying my electric bill is the most fun thing ever!” — said no one. EVER.

Utilities are possibly the second most boring thing we have to pay for on a regular basis (the MOST boring thing being insurance). However, since heat and lights are pretty awesome things to have, they are a necessary evil. Check out these tips to save on your electricity bill!

1) Turn off your lights when you leave a room. Prepare to turn into your father, yelling at people to turn lights off in rooms they aren’t in. It’s pretty pointless to illuminate an empty room AND it’s energy wasting and money wasting. Turn off your lights and make sure anyone else living with you does the same.

2) Turn off your lights during the daytime. If the sun is up and you have windows, you really don’t have a reason to turn on lights. Tie up the curtains, pull up the blinds, and welcome natural light into your life. Not only will this save cash and energy, but you will also get the benefits of the sun — Vitamin D, a mood boost, and less pasty skin.

Related: 11 Ways You’re Throwing Your Money Away

3) Stop cranking your A/C. While some places are really, really hot, many places don’t actually require air conditioning. Open your windows! Feel that? It’s called a breeze. It was the original A/C.

If you cannot possibly live without an A/C, try turning it up (or is it down? Just make it warmer!). I guarantee you will live without the air conditioner set to 60 degrees. Try to deal with the 70s or even low 80s. You can do it! Embrace the sweat, you’ll have a “glow” enviable by even pregnant women.

4) Find another A/C. Get out of your house in the summer months and seek coolness elsewhere. Examples might include stores, museums, or the library. Free A/C and you look like less of a hermit? Score!

5) Unplug. Cords plugged in are generating a small amount of electricity at all times. Unplug chargers, coffee pots, and hair tools when not in use. The obvious exception to unplugging is your refrigerator. Don’t unplug that!

To make things easier, plug your stuff into a power strip and turn it off when the items aren’t in use. Conserving energy and saving money, win-win!

6) Upgrade your appliances. Besides tax incentives for purchasing energy efficient appliances, this can save you tons of money over the life of the appliance in electricity. Energy suckers that you might consider replacing include air conditioners, furnaces, and refrigerators. These upgrades will cost you on the front end but will save you money with use.

Related: 15 Ways to Save on Gas

7) Stop cranking the heat. If you have electric heat, you can save a considerable amount on your electric bill by turning the heat down. You don’t want to be uncomfortable in your own home, but consider hoodies and slippers instead of cranking the heat and running around in shorts. At night, you can turn it down even further, as you are surely snuggled up in flannel pajamas under your comforter and snowman printed flannel Christmas sheets.

This is your home, not a sauna. You can surely survive with temperatures in the high 50s and 60s.

8) Buy a programmable thermostat. For a little extra help with controlling the heat and A/C, invest in a programmable thermostat. They are super cheap and you can set the temperatures around your family’s schedule to prevent wasted energy when you aren’t home.

This is green AND it saves you green! The EPA estimates that you can save $180 a year on average by using a programmable thermostat.

9) Switch out your incandescent bulbs. You should consider swapping your incandescents with CFLs or LEDs. CFLs cost around $4 each and have an average life span of 8 to 10 years. These do contain mercury, so you will have make sure you dispose of them properly.

LEDs cost around 36 bucks, but last 40 to 50 years! That’s equal to or longer than your working life! Unlike CFLs, LEDs do not contain mercury or lead.

A cost comparison shows that CFLs will save you $10,000+ over a 10 year period. LEDs will save about $2,000 more! Not too shabby, eh? (Did I just write “eh”? What am I, Canadian?)

Related: 12 Ways to Save Money Eating Out

10) Seal cracks around door frames and windows. The air leaks in your home could be killing your electric bill — they could have the same effect as leaving one of your windows open ALL YEAR LONG. Financial ouch. Seal these leaks with expanding foam or caulk to save some serious cash.

11) Use cold water. For summer showers and year-round laundry, save cash by using cold water. It’s 90 degrees outside, your shower should not be steaming as you crank your air to 60 degrees! And don’t listen to anyone who says cold water won’t get your clothes as clean. It will be fine, stop wasting money (and energy!).

12) Use reusable filters. Your furnace and air conditioner are less efficient when you don’t change your filter, but who wants to go out and buy new filters? No one, that’s who. Buy reusable filters and just clean them off when dust and dirt build up.

This permanent filter will cost you 20 or 30 bucks, making up for its cost pretty quickly.

Related: 10 Ways to Save Money on Groceries

13) Hang your clothes to dry. Cut back on dryer usage by hanging your clothes to dry. This is easiest if you live in a place with a clothesline. Stereotypes tell me that this is in the country, probably on a farm. Air drying your clothing is free and better for the environment.

Saving on electric is a pretty easy process. Try any of the above tips to cut your electric bill, while also helping the environment by using less energy. You’re basically a tree-hugger now.

How do you keep your electric bill low? What tips did I leave out?