12 Ways to Lower Your Electric Bill

Posted on 06/21/2007

When it comes to cutting back and saving money, The Bargainist is all for ways that don't hamper our lifestyle too much. Here are several ways to lower your electric bill and save money for things that count. Like gadgets and cat toys.

1. Keep blinds and curtains closed. If you don't have mini blinds on your windows — get them. They serve as a great insulator.

2. Install energy saving windows. Those old single pane windows really let a lot of heat and air conditioning escape.

3. Change the filters in air conditioners and furnaces. Not only does it keep systems running at optimum efficiency, it keeps the air in your home cleaner too.

4. Place window air conditioners on the shadiest side of the house. It won't have to work as hard and will use less power.

5. Make sure air conditioners and furnaces are the right size. Too small, it has to work too hard. Too large and they lose their efficiency, therefore using even more electricity.

6. Have regular checkups performed on systems. This keeps things running smoothly and could catch a problem before it's too late. Like the middle of that unexpected snow storm, or hottest ever day of the summer.

7. Keep weeds and shrubs trimmed. Keep them away from outside heating/cooling units for best airflow.

8. Plant shade trees. This is especially important on the side of the house that gets the most sun.

9. Use timers to turn lights on and off. For when you're not around, it's better than leaving a light on constantly, and also works to fool burglars.

10. Use compact fluorescent bulbs. Although they cost a little more than regular bulbs, they last up to 10 times longer and use a lot less electricity to burn.

11. Unplug appliances and electronics. Some of these items tend to keep using a little electric even when turned off.

12. Adjust the temperature before leaving the house or going to bed. Or better yet, install a programmable thermostat. It will eventually more than pay for itself.

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Posted on 12.03.09 at 11:35 PM

Tip 13

Change to a cheaper power company.


Posted on 05.11.10 at 11:17 PM

I am quite interesting in this topic hope you will elaborate more on it in future posts.


Posted on 02.27.11 at 12:56 PM

Get rid of your house phone! Nowadays, household phones are practically irrelevant. I got rid of mine and got a prepaid phone instead. With my TracFone prepaid, I was able to transfer over my home phone number. Now my cell phone is receiving all of my home calls as well!


Posted on 11.02.11 at 10:43 AM

I relaly appreciate free, succinct, reliable data like this.


Posted on 01.22.12 at 2:39 PM

Great ideas! We bought about 10 yards of insulated material from a great sleeping bag and outdoor clothing store (on line) and we sewed (meaning my wife)all new insulated curtains for the whole house for under $100.0
Check out www.wiggysbags.com for the material


Posted on 01.27.12 at 4:07 PM

CUT DOWN ON ENERGY? simple , shutitoff at the box ,,learn to live without it it canbe done ,, as im doing it and surviving and loving it , plus saving a heap of my cash

Natalie Dalton

Posted on 05.14.12 at 1:26 PM

Thanks you for this post! This is just want I have been searching for. I have been combing the internet for how to lower electric bill and haven't found as many practical tips as you have here. Thanks again!


Posted on 10.18.12 at 9:35 AM

Turn off the A/C when you leave home for even a few hours. The myth that it costs more to cool the house down after letting it heat up is just that, a myth. In a few minutes the house will cool down when you return and you will have saved hours of A/C cost, the most costly part of your electric bill, and the same applies to electric heat in winter.


Posted on 02.06.13 at 10:25 PM

Sometimes I think it is cheaper to get rid of the cell phone instead of the landline,especially for families.If the kids are home alone (and old enough) how can they call anyone if the parents have the phone? I know, some people think they would die without their cell phone :)

Sarah Isbister

Posted on 02.24.13 at 6:47 AM

Dont hqve air con on at all..... if its hot in the house open a window.

Line dry your clothes.

Turn heating off when not home,

Onlu change clothes if really dirty, saves washing.

Change lights to low energy, can cut bill by half


Posted on 12.05.13 at 1:45 PM

I have done the lowering the AC to 82 degrees while away and 79 degrees when I'm home. True enough I sometimes keep it at 82 because that's comfortable for me. I live in Florida and it gets hot. It has help my light bill ALOT. True story I went from 190.00 to 116.00 within a month. Check my bill again today I'm just under 100.00 NOW!! Turn your ceiling fans off when you leave area.


Posted on 12.27.13 at 10:50 AM

Florescent light bulbs? No thanks. Have you read the hazards of these things if they break? Go with LED if you don't like the old style incandescent.


Posted on 06.20.15 at 11:09 AM

It's now wiggys.com and I don't see any option to buy just the fabric.


Posted on 06.20.15 at 11:11 AM

re: light bulbs

When this was written in 2007, LEDs were rare & expensive. Now (2015) they're still a bit expensive, but getting better.

The main reasons to avoid incandescents are that they mostly give off heat (adding to the cooling bill)... and related to that, they're an inefficient way of lighting, since most of the power goes to making heat (you're using the glowing hot filament to see by).


Posted on 01.19.16 at 10:33 AM

Wash clothes in cold water, and lower the temperature on the water heater, so it is not trying to maintain 130 degrees in the tank. These tips saved me over 100.00 per month!


Posted on 10.17.16 at 4:35 PM

It is true that turning off the air conditioner when you aren't home saves ore money then just turning it higher. I was told it puts more strain on the air conditioner when it is turned off completely. I lived in an uninsulated house and the air conditioner never seemed to shut off for more than 15 minutes then it would run for hours until the next 15 minute shut off. The air also came out very warm as well. I saved over half my previous months bill by leaving it off the next month when the temperatures were even hotter here in Las Vegas, NV. Now maybe I had too small a unit but I have noticed in my mobile home I can turn it off all day and turn it on for about 4 hours at night to cool it down. My mobile is insulated and I have insulated curtains and a reflective white roof as well. I still pay less than half what I did when leaving it on and my place is just as cool. I always leave by about 12:00 p.m. just as it is starting to get hot. I recommend the 80% cooling roof coating plus it lasts about 12 years. It is more expensive(not that much especially when you include the cost of labor) but in the long run you save more money than the 70% cooling roof. I am not sure how many years the 70% lasts but it lasts less years and reflects less heat for about $30.00 less than the 80% coating costs initially. I haven't had my air on since temperatures went into the 90's. I actually need a light blanket or sheet at night because my place stays so cool.

Cassie G

Posted on 08.04.17 at 6:49 AM

Kim: Do NOT Lower your water tank to under 130F. Bacteria can grow in your tank /waterlines and make you sick or potentially kill you. Take it from a liscenced plumber. Or don't, and google "Legionnaires disease". You are better off getting low flow faucet aererators and shower heads. They are cheap and will pay for themselves within a couple of months on average. Another option is to put your hand on your tank. If you feel heat, then it needs an insulation jacket to stop heat loss.


Posted on 03.12.18 at 1:17 PM

@Kim. Cold water wont wash your clothes. I use hot or warm water all the time because it loosens the dirt. Cold water, does Nothing!


Posted on 03.12.18 at 1:19 PM

If you really want to save $$$, Go to Totally Frugal Forums. Best ideas on the net!

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