Editorial Feature

Ten Simple Ways for Consumers to Save Money on Electricity Bills

Maximizing Energy Efficiency
Ten Steps to Energy Savings


Little did Thomas Edison realize that the right light bulb would (eventually) generate big savings, not to mention help out the environment.

With consumers and businesses alike looking for ways to reduce expenses, never has there been a better time to become more energy efficient and ultimately save money by altering electricity use.

Maximizing Energy Efficiency

"There are simple ways to save money on electricity bills without sacrificing comfort in a home or workplace," says Greg Schuman, electrician program chair at Everest College in San Bernardino, Calif. "That starts with understanding the biggest drains on energy and cash, and then focusing on these areas to maximize savings."

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the costs of heating and cooling a home make up nearly half of a family's monthly energy bill. Schuman says setting a thermostat as high as comfortable in the summer and as low as comfortable in winter is the first step toward saving money on electricity bills.

Ten Steps to Energy Savings

Schuman offered the following 10 additional steps consumers can take to manage their energy use more efficiently:

  1. Conduct an energy audit either on your own or by hiring a professional. A do-it-yourself audit consists of inspecting areas around your home that could be a drain on electricity, such as locating air leaks and adjusting heating/cooling equipment. A professional auditor generally goes into greater detail and incorporates a room-by-room inspection with a cost analysis on utility bills (your state or local government may help you identify a professional auditor).
  2. Swap out old light bulbs with compact fluorescents. A household that invests in compact fluorescents could save up to 12% on electricity bills over the five-year life span of the bulbs.
  3. Install a programmable thermostat that will turn on and off on its own. Installing a programmable thermostat could offer a cost savings of about $180 a year.
  4. Look for Energy Star labels when purchasing appliances. Purchasing energy-efficient Energy Star appliances could save a household $75 a year.
  5. Unplug entertainment systems when they are not used for extended periods of time. Many of these systems have clocks and other energy consuming characteristics that feed off electricity even though the system is turned off.
  6. Add an extra layer or two of blankets to help reduce heating costs.
  7. Seal windows and doors to prevent cool air from entering and warm air escaping (or vice versa depending on season).
  8. Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120 degrees).
  9. Turn off computer monitors if you aren't going to use your PC for more than 20 minutes.
  10. Turn off both the CPU and monitor or switch them to hibernate mode when you aren't using them at night. This simple move can offer savings as much as $90 a year.

Source: Everest College

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