Drop Your Electricity Bill


List of Electricity-Saving Tips:

  1. Use compact fluorescent bulbs in lamps that are on for more than one or two hours per day.  Fluorescent lights have greatly improved in quality over the past ten years, and prices have come down recently: you can get 13-watt bulbs for less than four dollars.  Fluorescent bulbs are 6-8 times more energy-efficient.  They last 10-20 times longer than normal bulbs, so you won’t have to change them for years.  You can buy fluorescent bulbs that give off a very warm yellowish light, not that harsh white light.  According to the Rocky Mountain Institute, a fluorescent bulb will prevent the emission of 1000 pounds of carbon dioxide from electrical power plants.Let’s say you have a light on for 4 hours a day, 250 days in a year.  On average, running a 23-watt fluorescent bulb for that long will cost you $1.88, while a 100-watt incandescent bulb will cost you $8.30 in electricity.  A 23-watt fluorescent bulb costs about $13, but it saves you $6.42 in energy costs per year, so it will pay for itself in 2 years.  Your local power company might even help you pay for your fluorescent bulbs.Note: Sometimes you’ll see a light bulb advertised as a “long-life bulb”, or something like that.  That’s not a fluorescent bulb, and it won’t really save you much money.
  2. Do you work at a desk at home?  Use a 20-watt desk lamp instead of turning on a 60-watt light bulb that lights the entire room.  You’ll save about $5 on electricity for every 500 hours you spend at the desk.
  3. Go around your home and unplug devices you haven’t used in the past month.  Even if they aren’t turned on, they probably use some juice just to stay warm.
  4. Use a microwave oven or toaster oven when cooking small items.  They use less energy and they don’t require preheating.  The approximate yearly cost to use ovens of various types is:
    • Electric Oven: $27
    • Toaster Oven: $14
    • Gas Oven: $13
    • Convection/Toaster Oven: $10
    • Microwave Oven: $5
  5. A computer system can use $35 to $140 worth of electricity per year.  You can reduce this cost by about 85% if you use a laptop computer. Or you could use the “standby” mode that’s available in newer desktops, and/or use flat-screen monitors.  You can go to your PC’s power settings and tell it to automatically go into standby after not being used for a while (when it wakes up, your PC will still have the files and programs that were there when it “sleeped” itself.)
  6. Set your refrigerator temperature to 38-40 degrees Fahrenheit. If it’s set 5 degrees lower than that, it’s costing you about $5 more per year than it should.  Defrost it as needed, to save another few bucks per year.  Don’t open the door too often, or for too long.
  7. Employ your kids as “Energy Rangers”: Offer to pay them half of the utility-bill savings they can generate, compared to last year’s bills.  Turn them loose on this site, then sit back and watch as they frantically plug every energy leak you can imagine.
  8. Get your deposit back from the power company (you probably paid it when you moved in.)  Usually you can get it back after living in your home for a year or two.  So if you’ve established a reliable payment record, ask to get it back.  They’ll usually pay you 6% yearly interest on the deposit.
  9. Washer/Dryer. You can save money by washing clothes with cold water, drying only full loads (without overloading), cleaning the lint filter, and stopping the dryer as soon as the clothes are dry.
  10. Your local power company probably has a “Time of Use” program.  This means you’ll be charged more for electricity during prime times and less during off hours.  When you switch to TOU, the power company will install a new meter.  You may be able to save as much as $500 a year with this idea.  Businesses can participate too.
Time to complete: 5 minutes to unplug devices
10-20 minutes to buy bulbs
Money you’ll spend: $3 to $13 per fluorescent bulb
$80-120 for a microwave or toaster/convection oven
What you’ll get: Around $100 to $500 per year off your electric bills.


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