Rising fuel prices have an effect on nearly every sector of the economy. In turn, consumers' living expenses rise, and some of the more noticeable increases come in the form of higher monthly electric bills. Such costs mount because electricity fuels just about everything in a house. But you can cut costs. Try some energy saving tips and watch the bill go down for a change.
Things You'll Need
- Fluorescent light bulbs
Set your thermostat to 78 degrees when cooling the house and 68 degrees when using the heat. Keep it on the auto setting. Keep the water heater at the recommended setting of 120 degrees. Clean or replace the air conditioner filter once a month and turn ceiling fans off when leaving a room. Buy some caulk and seal windows and doors and close the blinds.
Wash your clothes in cold water and make sure the water level matches the load size. Don't over-dry your clothes, and clean the lint filter between loads. Use your dishwasher to clean the dishes and avoid prerinsing. When replacing appliances, be sure they have the Energy Star label. This means they meet government energy-efficiency standards.
Stretch a dollar and invest in energy-saving fluorescent light bulbs. They last 10 times longer and use 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs. One bulb can save more than $40 in energy over its lifetime, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Plug gadgets like cell phone chargers and microwaves into a power strip that can be turned off. These devices generate heat and use standby energy that can account for between 5 percent and 10 percent of residential electricity use, according to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Keep your computer in the sleep mode or turn it off when not in use. Look for the Energy Star seal when purchasing electronics as well.
Shop around for providers. If energy use is deregulated in your state, you can choose your own source.
Tips & Warnings
- If you cannot afford to pay your electric bill, the government has the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program or LiHeap. It is income-based and you can find a local outlet by accessing the program's website (see Resources).
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