21 Ways to Keep Your Electric Bill Manageable

We’re already experiencing price shock at the gas pump.

The Energy Department recently predicted that winter heating bills will be 30 percent to 50 percent higher across the U.S. with the steepest increases hitting those who heat their homes with natural gas.

That would add an extra $100 to $150 to a monthly $300 electric bill.

LIGHTING:

There’s a lot you can do:

1.Install dimmer controls for incandescent and fluorescent fixtures.

2.Change iridescent bulbs to fluorescent.

3.Turn off lights in rooms that you aren’t using. My mom instilled this in me from the time I was 12 and now that I have my first house I do the same with myself.

HOT WATER:

Hot water accounts for about 16 percent of a home energy bill.

4.Wash clothes in cold water.

5.Shower for five minutes or less.

6.Install low-flow showerheads and sink aerators to reduce hot-water use.

7.Insulate water tanks with a wrap to hold heat inside.

8.Drain your hot water regularly to remove sediment.

9.Think about getting a tankless water heater.

HEATING AND AIR CONDITIONING:

10.Heating and air conditioning typically account for more than half of your total home energy use.

11.Lower the thermostat eight degrees Fahrenheit for eight hours a day to save up to ten percent on home heating costs.

12.Parties are a great time to turn down the thermostat.

13.Close heating vents in unoccupied or minimally used rooms.

14.Clean or replace your air-conditioning filters once a month or as needed.

15. Have a professional inspection of your heating and air-conditioning unit.

16. Programmable thermostats can save hundreds of dollars.

17. Don’t leave kitchen or bathroom ventilation fans running.

18.Keep draperies and shades on south-facing windows open during the heating season to allow sunlight; close them at night to reduce the chill from cold windows.

YOU’VE GOT THE POWER!

19.Visit powertochoose.org to learn about all the retail energy providers and your choices.

20.Check your retail electric provider’s Web site.

21.Want to find out if your energy use is above average? If you have five minutes and your energy bills are nearby, this governmental Web site can tell you: energystar.go.

A MYTH THAT COSTS YOU:

“A common misconception associated with thermostats is that a furnace works harder than normal to warm the space back to a comfortable temperature after the thermostat has been set back, resulting in little or no savings.”

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