How to Reduce the Shock of a High Electric Bill

The dreaded electric bill has just arrived! You can feel the sweat start to roll off your forehead as you begin to open it. This time you are in for a pleasant surprise! Your bill is $ 30-50 lower than the previous month!

How were you able to get this to happen? Here are some very easy tips that you and your family can do that will make a big difference!

Basically, the whole key to a lower electric bill is to unplug items that are not needed all the time. What people don’t realize is that devices will still use electricity even though they are not actually being used. This is called secondary power. By unplugging unnecessary items, you can save several hundred dollars a year! Plus, you reduce the chance of your items being damaged by power surges.

The first thing that you want to do is go room by room and unplug things that are not used all the time, and can be accessed easily if needed. Examples of this would be any kind of charger or seldom used lamps. If you have a guest room that is not in use at the moment, unplug everything. Even go out in your garage and look for extension cords that are plugged in from a previous activity but are now not being used. Check for power bars that are plugged in but no longer being used. If you do not watch many DVDs, unplug the player if accessible.

When my daughter went off to college, I went through her whole room and unplugged every single item. Also, when my son goes to his father’s, I do the same, plugging them back in on the day he returns. At first, this used to drive him nuts but he has now seen the results on the electric bill.

The most easiest is the washer and dryer. These humongous monsters pull a lot of power. Just by unplugging these items when I am through using them has lowered my bill $30.

If you are able to reach the plugs for your counter top microwave and toaster, unplug them! It costs more for the clock to show on your microwave than it does to run the microwave. Any counter top appliance should remain unplugged if not used all the time. Most homes have electric toothbrushes. They actually recommend that the battery be allowed to run down and then be recharged to lengthen the life of the battery. Unplug them!

The next thing that I turn off is the switch from my furnace to my thermostat. If I am not using either the AC or the heat, why do I need to know the temperature of my house?

If you can, keep your refrigerator and freezer as full as possible. They will need to run less because the food will hold the cold longer. Also, keep up with the maintenance of these items in order to keep them running efficiently.

If your neighborhood is safe, consider turning off the lamppost, if you have an individual switch. I have quit giving my plants a night light for about five months and they have learned not to be afraid of the dark! Speaking of lamps, whether inside or out, replace burnt out bulbs. They are still drawing power!

What has really made a difference is how I keep my house cool. I leave my screen doors and windows open all night long. If I know that the day is going to be hot, I close everything up early in the morning, and make sure the drapes are drawn. By doing this, it reduces the need of using the AC unit. I make use of ceiling fans or floor fans, and only turn them on when I am IN THAT ROOM! I also have acclimated myself and my son by setting the thermostat at 82 degrees during the day. At night I lower it to 79 degrees and use the ceiling fan. I may turn it on once to remove the humidity, but then readjust the temperature.

Granted, I did have some days where the AC actually did have to be on for several days at a time. Sometimes, there is no way to get around this. Or maybe you or a family member have health or age issues and cannot keep the thermostat set so high. But if you try to do everything possible to reduce your electricity elsewhere, the cost will still be better than it could be. I have not paid a bill higher than $75 this summer.

I know that some may disagree on my next suggestion. It will really depend on what you feel comfortable doing and where you live. When my son is gone, and I have to work the afternoon shift, I do not leave on any lights. Actually, some say that it is easier to see if someone is in your house, because they will be using flashlights. They will not want to put your lights on if you keep them off normally, which the neighbors will be used to seeing. I also have Attack Cats!

The other key to saving is retraining family members. If you are alone, this all becomes quite easy. It is possible to do, even with teenagers! When my daughter was home from school, it was hard to get her used to my new “rules”. Now that she has to pay a portion of the electric bill where she lives, she uses all the same tips. She is having a harder time training the other people she shares the apartment with.

My son, who is thirteen, is also learning. Upon returning from work, I went to put his football clothes in the dryer, and he proudly claims that he already did this! Then, as I started to bend down to unplug my dryer, he again states that he has already down this! I was so proud of him!

In the beginning, you may find yourself following behind them and reminding them to turn off items when not using them. But if you keep after them, eventually they will learn new habits and it will become second nature.

Some people say that having more lights on during the evening will help reduce depression. If that is the case, than change to the daylight type bulbs. Receiving a high electric bill is more depressing than using less lights!

By doing these simple things, and doing them diligently, you will see the rewards for your efforts in your next bill!

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