Rake in Summer Savings the Lazy Way
Summer is here, and it is HOT.
Mind you, this week has been a bit of a reprieve from the oppressive heat, but last week was certainly a scorcher.
It got me thinking.
When temperatures start rising, so do electric bills.
Obviously, where you live plays a big part in how much you end up paying on your monthly electricity bill. Some places like Southern Louisiana for instance, have cheaper electricity, but scorching hot summers raise costs compared to more energy-expensive states like Northern California, where the climate is more temperate.
But no matter where you are, I have some tips that can help you save on your monthly bills.
The average US household spends about $112 a month on electricity according to the US Energy Information Administration. And a large portion of that is based on heating and cooling usage.
Is it worth moving to save a few bucks on electricity? Possibly.
Especially when you factor in “energy choice” states like Connecticut, Delaware, Washington D.C., Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Texas where you can negotiate cheaper contracts with providers.
But that’s a conversation for another day.
Today I’m giving you the lazy-man’s way to save on electricity.
No state hopping. No having to buy new energy-efficient appliances. No installing smart programmable thermostats. No extreme home makeovers to save a few hundred bucks on your electricity bill.
Because most of the big savings you’ll find on your monthly electricity bill don’t require a lot of money or investment.
These are my top 10 ways to save on electricity every month – the lazy way.
1. Fill the Cracks
Unless your home is brand new, there’s a good chance your windows and doors are leaking money.
Fill these cracks with caulk and weather-stripping to reduce drafts and your electric bill will drop dramatically.
According to Consumer Reports, sealing leaks in your home can reduce energy costs by 15 to 30%.
2. Use MAJAPs at Night
When it’s hot outside, avoid using your stove, washing machine, clothes dryer and dishwasher. All these major appliances (MAJAPs) draw a lot of energy and typically produce heat.
This in turn causes your AC to work harder trying to maintain your home’s temperature. Also, depending on where you live, your electricity provider could offer reduced rates at different times of day.
Typically evening usage and weekends are cheaper than daytime during weekdays.
3. Use Ceiling Fans
Even if you have a central HVAC system, consider turning on your ceiling fans to help cool and heat rooms faster.
Fans push hot and cold air through your whole house so you can reach your room’s desired temperature a lot faster. Ceiling fans can save you up to $438 per year.
4. Wash Your Clothes in Cold Water
There’s no excuse for not washing the majority of your clothes in cold water.
Almost every detergent brand now dissolves just as well in cold as hot water at no additional cost and cold water proves to be less damaging to your fabrics.
Estimated savings for washing your clothes in cold water is around $150 per year.
5. Skip the Electric Dryer
If you have a yard and can set up a clothesline, do it.
But if space is limited or you’re worried about allergens, buy a few clothes drying racks off Amazon and hang dry heavier items like towels, jeans and sweatshirts.
Line-drying reduces average monthly electricity costs by $15.
6. Use a Slow Cooker
Avoid using your MAJAPs during the day but if you really want to cut costs, skip cooking in your oven altogether and use a crock pot or instant-pot.
Crock pots heat less of your house than traditional ovens and the best part is they require less work. Most crock pot meals are set it and forget it so you’ll save money and time using a slow cooker more often.
7. Reduce “Electricity Vampires”
Did you know 75% of the energy used by home electronics is consumed when they’re in standby?
These electricity vampires include TVs, computers, cable boxes, cellphone charging stations, and appliances – basically anything that holds a time or other settings.
Consumer Reports says that you can save $25 to $75 each year just killing these phantom electronics.
The easiest way to kill electricity vampires is to use power strips. Make it a habit of shutting off the strips between uses or buy a smart power strip that automatically shuts off when your electronics go in standby mode.
8. Turn Off Lights.
This one should be obvious.
Turning off lights you aren’t using or in rooms you’re not occupying saves a considerable amount of money every month.
Turning off a single 100-watt light bulb from running constantly saves around $131 per year.
If you really want to boost savings, switch all your lights to LED.
9. Raise/Lower the Temperature When You’re way
In the summer, raise your thermostat when you leave the house and in the winter lower it. There’s no sense cooling or heating an empty home.
Programmable thermostats are ideal for this but if you don’t have one, don’t think you have to go out and buy one.
Changing the temperature manually works fine too, it just takes more diligence.
10. Clean Air Filters Every 30 Days; Replace Every 3 Months
When your air filters are dirty your HVAC system has to work harder, which ends up costing you more money.
A good habit to get into is regularly cleaning and replacing your home’s air filters. Clean every 30 days and replace every 3 months is a good rule of thumb.
It might seem like your savings will be eaten up by the cost of replacement filters but that’s not the case.
Most people see savings from $20-$40 annually following this simple hack.
All of these hacks should add up to noticeable savings and don’t require much time or money.
To a richer life,
— Nilus Mattive
Editor, The Rich Life Roadmap