Ways to Lower Your Power Bill and Save Money

Depending on where you live in the US, your power bill can be a real burden on your monthly expenses. During the summer in Las Vegas last year, my bill was hitting around $250 a month. That’s before I learned the key tips to lowering my power bill to save money and go greener.

Light bulbs

Although fluorescent light bulbs may be a bit more expensive, the investment into them is well worth the price. The cost of using a single standard incandescent light bulb costs the same as using 6-10 fluorescent bulbs. The fluorescent bulbs last up to 10 times longer as well. There are various shapes and types to choose from which include attractive compact units that give off a pleasing, soft illumination like traditional bulbs. 

“If every American home replaced just one light bulb with an Energy Star qualified bulb, we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year, more than $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars.”

Stop those vampires!

These are not your regular blood sucking vampires, but never the less they do suck the energy from your home and the money out of your wallet. Devices like DVR’s, Digital Cable and Satellite convertors, VCR’s, DVD players, TV’s, computers, radios, electric razors, battery chargers and so on drain power even when you think they are off. Usually, these devices just go into standby mode as long as they are still plugged in. The easiest solution is to buy a power strip to plug the devices into or unplug the devices in general. When you’re not using them, just flick the power strip off or unplug them and these energy vampires will no longer be siphoning power and raising your electric bill. 

Air conditioners

During the long, hot summers here in Las Vegas is when our power bills reach record breaking heights. The main suspect in all this is definitely the AC. Even the Power Companies tell you this. A lot of central air conditioners now come with a control pad that lets you adjust the house’s temperature on the fly. Although it’s a good idea to turn it down or up when you feel the need, a better solution is to program your AC to cool the house at certain temperatures during certain times of the day. My household is set at 80 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the hottest periods of the day and at night around 10pm; it goes to 78 degrees so that the wife and I can sleep comfortably. In the morning at 8am, it kicks back up to 80 degrees again (You’ll see why it’s so important in the next section below). This routine runs all 7 days a week. That way I don’t have to worry about adjusting the temperature all the time and if I’m not at home (vacation or away) it maintains itself. If you want to save even more money, try opening your windows throughout the day and turn the AC off. 

Use appliances during non peak times

Just like a cell phone service that offers nights and weekends free, Power Companies have their peak and off-peak hours. I didn’t know this for a very long time and I can tell you that it saves you a lot of money! So how can you take advantage of this? During peak hours (here in Nevada it’s about 1pm-7pm) limit your appliance and device activities. If you’re not using your TV, Computer, DVD player and so on, then turn them off through the power strip or unplug them so they are not siphoning energy. Set your air conditioner to about 80 degrees or so during the day. Instead of drying your clothes in the dryer, hang your clothes to dry outside. This works very well in areas with high summer temperatures. During off-peak hours at night, do your laundry, run the dishwasher and dry your clothes. I also set my AC to 78 degrees at night because it’s still very hot during the evening and it’s harder to sleep when you’re too hot. Also remember, wash your hands and dishes in the sink with cold water as hot water uses energy to heat it up. Below is a break down of the peak and off-peak hours and prices for Nevada Power. As you can see, during peak hours, the price is 21-23 cents as compared to 7-8 cents.  You do the math. So make sure you check your power company’s website or call customer service and find out the breakdown for your state.

Price per kWh

 Summer Peak

1-7 p.m. June 1 thru Sept 30

23.081¢ kWh Single Family

21.972¢ kWh for Multi-Family

Summer Off-Peak

7:01-12:59 p.m. June 1 thru Sept 30

7.578¢ kWh Single Family

8.079¢ kWh for Multi-Family 

Your water heater

Here’s another way to take advantage of your power company’s off-peak hours. The electric water heater in your home draws almost as much power as anything else in your house. Any easy solution for this is to put your water heater on a timer. Set it to turn off at around 6am and to come back on at 7pm. A lot of heaters have enough insulation and are big enough to maintain the heated hot water throughout the day. If there is ever an occasion where you need more hot water than what is already being held, simply turn on the hot water heater and you’re good to go. 

The refrigerator/freezer

Most people only utilize one, maybe two refrigerators/freezers in their house. Older refrigerators and freezers can use up to three times more power than the newer energy efficient ones. In the end, this runs up your bill. What you can do is get rid of them. I know that Nevada Power runs a free program where they will pick up your old appliance for free as well as give you $30 for it just for recycling it through them. This is a great way to lower your monthly power bill, earn some extra cash and help the environment.

By cutting back on power, you’re helping the environment, saving yourself money and you can educate other people about what you now know. After applying these changes myself, my power bill went from $250/month last summer to under $150/month this summer. 

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