Save Money on Your Electric Bill

Anyone who’s ever struggled to pay the bills would like to cut down on their utility expenses. The EPA wants you to save money on utilities too because it’s good for the environment when people reduce their energy consumption. The EPA reports that almost half of home energy use is from electrical usage, so focusing on saving electricity has a significant impact on cost. Here are three key ways to save money on your electric bill.

Lighting

Your home’s lights cost money to turn on, and they use about 10 percent of your total home energy costs. Energy-efficient light bulbs use up to 90 percent less energy, produce up to 90 percent less heat, and last up to 25 times longer than traditional light bulbs. Energy-efficient light bulbs include LED (light-emitting diode) and CFL (compact fluorescent lamp), which produce light in different ways. CFL bulbs emit light and heat in all directions, while LED bulbs emit light in a specific direction and direct heat into metal heat sinks that wick away from the light source itself, and run cooler.

Pool and Spa Equipment

A study of energy costs of homeowners revealed that homes with pools use up to 49 percent more electricity than homes without pools. The pump and filter water are the main reasons but heating operations are another, especially for spas and hot tubs. It’s important to use energy-efficient pumps and heaters and take steps to conserve energy whenever possible. Effective pool, spa and hot tub covers reduce energy consumption significantly by keeping warmth in and reduce the need for continuous heater operation. They also keep the water cleaner and reduce the filter operation.

Vampire Power Drains

Your home is using valuable electricity even when you think you’ve turned everything off. If plugged in, an appliance can drain away electricity even if no one pushes the on button. This vampire power drain goes by many monikers, including phantom load, leaking energy, ghost load and idle current.

The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory measures standby power, the power used by appliances when plugged in but not in active operation. Your microwave uses 5 Watts, your DVD player doubles that at 10 Watts, and your coffee maker uses about half of what the microwave uses at 2.5 Watts. Over time, and over the 30 to 40 appliances in your home that you have plugged in but not turned on, your home is draining away a significant amount of electricity.

Although some appliances have to stay plugged in to a power source, such as refrigerators and DVRs set to record, many others do not. The surge protector is an effective tool to fight vampire power drains. Use them for computers, cell phone chargers, and other items that you typically leave plugged in all the time, and simply press the off button when you’re leaving to cut power to these appliances.

About the Author: Heidi Cardenas is a freelance writer with a background in human resources, business administration, technical writing and corporate communications. She specializes in human resources, business and personal finance, small business advice and home improvement.

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