Last month I opened my electric bill and literally almost fell over… $190!!!! WHAT!? Is this real life? $190 for one month…one month that we were not even home for a week!! Now, let me clarify, my electric bill is usually between $80 and $100. Recently however, it has crept up. This bill was over the top and prompted me to take action.
When I was growing up, my dad was constantly telling us kids to “turn off the lights”. He was pretty adamant about it. I certainly didn’t understand then, but I DO NOW!! So, that’s where I started…
1. Turn off the lights and remind my kiddos and Better Half to do the same.
I walked around the house and began turning off the lights. Three of my kiddos have classes most days and so they leave in the morning and come home around dinner time. The boys’ rooms have wall sconces and an overhead light. Most often when I go in one of their rooms, there is at least one wall sconce on. Eight hours of power with no one in the room to benefit from it. UGH!! I also talked to each of the kiddos in my not-so-calm voice about how much our electric bill went up and how they need to help out the family by turning lights off. I will admit, it has helped a bit.
2. Make a trip to the garage, shed, barn, basement, or any other places on your property you don’t frequent every hour and turn things off.
I walked out to the garage and found the track lighting system on in the garage. Our garage is also our workshop, so we have extra lighting out there and it was on. That means 4 light bulbs had been on, at least all night, probably longer…with NO ONE using them. Other things like the air compressor and table saw get left plugged in but used infrequently. These are things that could be unplugged and save on phantom electricity usage.
3. Clean the refrigerator coils to keep the refrigerator and freezer from running so often and long.
So, I decided to take on this task and enlisted the help of one of my big boys. He tipped the refrigerator backward while I used the vacuum to try to clear the coils. This didn’t work very well and I could still see a thick layer of dust bunnies on the coils. So, I decided to use the air compressor and blow off the coils. This worked EXTREMELY WELL!! A little too well from my son’s perspective. Dust flew EVERYWHERE…particularly all over him! It did take me an hour or so to dust the kitchen, but the coils have never been cleaner and my refrigerator is running less already.
4. Defrost the freezer.
I had begun to notice that ice was building up quickly on the walls of my chest freezer. It had gotten so bad that ice was building up to the top of the freezer prohibiting a good seal when the door was closed. Obviously, without a good seal the freezer would run a lot more, increasing my electricity consumption and consequently my bill. So, I transferred all my frozen goods to my other freezer and defrosted this one. I’m certain this will make a difference on my bill next month.
5. Clean or replace A/C and furnace filters.
This job takes just a few minutes but is often overlooked because it’s “outta sight, outta mind”. We have window air conditioning units and the filters pop right and can be blown out or rinsed off and just put right back in. It’s an easy fix, but will help the unit run more efficiently when clean.
6. Turn off stuff you are not using.
This sounds like a no-brainer but mindlessly (no pun intended), I leave stuff on all the time. When looking around for things I could turn off, my own bedroom had three fans running and I’m hardly in there during the day. I like to have fans on at night for noise and because I’m, well…a furnace! There is NO REASON for me to leave them on during the day. My boys leave their computers on all the time. As I mentioned earlier, they are rarely home during the day and honestly don’t use them much in the evening, but they leave them on anyway. I’m sure keeping them running requires energy, also with them running, the fans in the computers are constantly blowing heat into their rooms. Heat that we are paying to cool off. Some people leave their TV on all day whether they are watching it or not. Turning it off is another way to save!!
7. Turn off the A/C or raise/lower the temperature by a few degrees.
This one makes me smile when I think about it. I hear people all the time say how much they love summer, but in the next breath say how hot it is. I know of other people that “love summer” but stay in their 67 degree air conditioning for the entire season. In order to save a few dollars on your electric bill, I would encourage you to turn your air conditioning off. Yep, you heard me right…turn it off, open the windows, breath in the hot humid air, and enjoy the beauty of this lovely season. If that is a bit extreme for you, why don’t you turn your thermostat to 77 in the summer and 67 in the winter? You will see a savings if you are doing the opposite now!!
So, there’s the seven steps I’m taking to save on my electric bill. I’ll let you know soon how much they worked. I know there’s many more so if you have any tips, be sure to leave them in the comments.
UPDATE: Before I had a chance to publish this post I got my latest electric bill and in less than 30 days, I saved $32 by following this tips!!