The average monthly power bill for a household in the United States was $110.14 in 2011. When you multiply that by 12, you get $1,321.68 per year. That’s quite a bit of money when you think about it. With energy costs being what they are, it’s no wonder people are starting to get serious when it comes to conserving energy and reducing their power bill. But there are some surprisingly simple ways to cut back on your energy consumption without having to install solar panels or replace all your appliances. Here are a few ideas…
1. Install a programmable thermostat if you don’t already have one. If you have one, make sure you’re using it properly. Set it so it uses less energy during the time you’re not at home. For instance, if you leave your house at 7:30 am to go to work, and you won’t return until 5:00 pm, set your thermostat to use less heat/AC during those hours that you’re gone.
2. Use your television’s energy saver mode. Don’t know if your television has one? If it’s a modern television, it probably does. You may have to consult your manual or search through the on-screen menu to find it, but most of today’s sets have it. By setting it to energy saving mode, it will use less power to brighten the screen. You may notice that the color looks slightly different or the contrast is a little lower, but the picture should still be just as clear.
3. Use natural light whenever possible. If you’re home during the day, don’t use electric lights if at all possible. Open your blinds and windows and let the sunshine in. Natural light is great because it doesn’t cost anything to use, it helps make your home look more attractive, and some health experts say that sunlight actually can have emotional health benefits, even helping treat depression and anxiety.
4. Don’t run your dishwasher or clothes washer unless it’s full. Why waste the water and power to heat the water on a load that’s only half-full? Wait until you’ve got a complete load and you’ll be doing less work, using less energy and saving water – all at the same time!
5. Practice energy efficient computer use. The United States Department of Energy suggests turning off your monitor if you’re not going to use your PC for more than 20 minutes. They also suggest turning off both the CPU and monitor if you’re not going to use the system for more than 2 hours. You should also make sure your monitor, printer and other accessories are plugged into a power strip/surge protector. When these systems are not in use for long periods of time, turn the power strip off to prevent the electronics from drawing power even when they are turned off.
Got any other suggestions for saving on your power bill? Let me know in the comments!