These days Destiny Child’s 1999 hit “Bills, Bills, Bills,” resonates even more than it did over a decade ago. Bills of any kind are expensive, but with most of the country engulfed by the polar vortex, electricity bills are going to be especially painful this winter. Luckily there are some easy ways to reduce the amount of electricity you use every day.
While you’re at it why not also conserve water? Check out our guide on how to reduce your water bill.
- Open your vents. If all the vents in your house are open, the air conditioner or heater doesn’t have to work as hard to circulate air. Even if you think all the vents are open it might be a good idea to give them a quick check.
- Use an electric blanket. Yes, I understand that electric blankets use electricity, however if you use one when you sleep, it will focus the heat just to the bed so you won’t be paying as much to heat the entire room. This comes with some warnings though, so read all the instructions before spending the night with one of these bad boys, don’t turn them up higher than they are supposed to be, and get ready for a warm night. Newer electric blankets are much safer than ones made even ten years ago, so if you’ve had one lying around for a decade, it’s probably time to invest in a new one. If the idea of an electric blanket makes you nervous, you can always go low-tech and just stick a hot water bottle between your sheets.
- Turn the heat down but not all the way off during the day. If you are not going to be in your house for long periods of time, it is good to turn the heat down, but not off. It costs more money to completey reheat a room, so even if it seems crazy, just turn that nob down a bit.
- Close your doors. If you know you are going to be in a room for awhile, say at night, close the doors to that room and conserve the heat. This will heat up a room in no time, especially if you have more friends with more body heat.
- Open the shades in the morning and close them at night. Depending oh which way your windows face, sunlight can do a lot to heat up a room. However at night, it is best to close blinds and curtains so that heat doesn’t leak out through the glass. It will also keep the light from coming in and waking you up in the morning, which is the worst.
- Seal windows and doors. Not entirely, obviously – just enough to keep drafts out. This is particularly important if you live in a older home. A hardware store will have weather stripping that has a sticky back so you can just cut it to size and stick it under anything that might be leaking.
- Turn them off for a change. I know you really need to keep that one tab on your Chrome open and bookmarking it is out of the question, but the world won’t end if you just turn off your computer. An easy thing to do is to connect multiple things to a power strip, like a TV and speaker dock, so you can just turn the strip off before going to bed. Make sure to not overload power strips though, as this will lead to an entirely different problem.
- Unplug chargers. Though it is extremely convenient to leave chargers in the wall ready at anytime to juice up your phone, they are still drawing power that is going nowhere. Whenever you’re done charging a device just unplug it and leave it near the outlet. It is worth the extra three seconds of time it will add to your daily routine.
- Update an old fridge. An old refrigerator just sucks power. It seems like a big investment at first, but over time, a more energy-efficient fridge will save you money in the long run. Plus you can get one with a TV in it, so double win.
- Turn down the heat. Washing clothes in cold water, which is better for colorful clothes anyway, will save a ton of electricity. This will change nothing about how you do laundry, you just push a different button.
- Don’t over-load. Though it may seem faster to just squish everything you own into a dryer, if the clothes don’t have room to move they won’t dry properly. This leads to weird smelling clothes and the dryer working harder than it should be to dry everything. Just do two smaller loads with a lower heat.
- Use lower heat. It’s the same as washing clothes. You don’t need the heat to be as high as you think. Yes, hot water is important especially for sanitizing dishes, however dishwashers have different settings for a reason. The manufacturer wouldn’t add a setting that made washing dishes unsafe.
- Turn them off. This seems obvious but there is more than just turning off lights when you leave a room. Only use lights you need. The overhead light doesn’t have to fill up an entire room if you are just sitting in the corner reading. Get some lamps so you can choose which parts of the room should be lit.
- Buy LED or CFL light bulbs. If you don’t know what these are you must’ve found one hell of a cave to hide under for the last ten years. To catch you up, they are energy efficient light bulbs. They are a bit more expensive than iridescent light bulbs but they last longer so it evens out. Some people don’t like them because of their bright white color, but they are making ones that omit a more muted light. Replace lights that you turn on often like the bathroom and you’ll see a difference in your bill.
- Get solar panels. This is conservation level expert. If you have a chunk of money lying around and live somewhere the sun comes out most of the time you can put a couple solar panels on your roof. These will save money on your bill and are also tax deductible. Ca-ching.