Cutting back on utilities may be a little difficult without returning to the stone ages and giving up our creature comforts we are used to, but with a little thought here and there it is possible. Here are a couple ways to cut your electric bill so you have a bit more to cut your debt and add to your savings!
One of the biggest wastes of your electric bill is the lights we use. Besides just remembering to turn them off here are couple things you can do.
Change your light bulbs to CFL or LED. I know the Feds are trying to force you to do this by making the old lightbulbs illegal (oh that could be a whole other post) but changing on your own can save you money in your electric bill and replacement costs. Your average 60w lightbulb will last you about 1500 hours of light, while you eqivalent CFL will draw only 14w and last you 10,000 hours. LED equivalent, while a bit expensive still, will draw 6w and last 60,000 hours.
(How long will the light bulb last?)
|60,000 hours||10,000 hours||1,200 hours|
Bulb (Wattage Equiv. at 60w)
|Cost Per Bulb||$15.98||$2.98||$1.25|
electricity used over 60k hours
Cost ( @$0.20 per KWh )
|Bulbs needed for 60k of usage||1||6||50|
60k hour Bulb expense
|Total cost for 60k hours||$87.98||$185.88||$782.50|
|Calculate Your Energy Savings per 60,000 hours and assume #30 bulbs per Household|
|Total cost for 30 bulbs||$2,639.40||$5,576.40||$23,475.00|
|Savings by Switching from Incandescent||$20,835.60||$17,898.60||0|
I know there are still some issues with both these alternatives. For the CFL’s they are not really enviro friendly when it comes to disposal. They contain mercury so you cant just toss it in the dumpster, you have to find a place that recycles them (I hear Ikea and Home Depot do). Some also take time to warm up to full brightness and that can be annoying. LEDs are new on the block so they are still pricey and I dont think you can get higher than 60w’s yet. On the plus side you can get them in the smaller sizes for track lighting that CFLs wont do. Another cool lighting idea is the LED strips for like over counters.
Personally we just replace every lightbulb in the house with CFL’s. After our budget gets more defined we will slowly start going to LED.
Another Big one for me is forgetting to turn lights off. A good fix for this is to install motion senors. We have a motion sensor in the hallway which will turn the light on when someone approaches and turn it off after a min. Installing one in the bathroom is another location. They do have overrides for say when you are in the shower so it dosent leave you in the dark after a few mins.
Another sensor would be a light sensor for your outdoor lights. This will cut off the electricity to the lights off during the day but allow you to have them on at night. Wife often forgets to turn off outside light and it will stay on till I get up and go out and notice (this can be all day if Im really lazy) so this is next on our list.
Installing a ceiling fans in your house can lower your heating and cooling costs by circulating the warm or cool air. Almost all ceiling fans have a direction switch so you can change direction based on the season. In the summer time you want the fan running counter clockwise (when you look up at it) forcing the air downward and causing a wind chill effect. In the winter you run it clockwise at a lower speed drawing air up to the ceiling and forcing the warmer air down and out towards the walls.
Our house has 3 ceiling fans currently, one in each room except daughters and ours but its on our list!
Putting it all together
Well these were just a couple ways to knock your electric bill down. Like your budget the best way to stay focused is to track your progress. Besides waiting around for your monthly bill to see if it goes down how are you supposed to know? Well modern technology comes through again! In our neighborhood all the old style meters have been replaced with smart meters, allowing SDGE (our local gas and electric company) to get updates every 15 mins without coming near our home. Now there are pros and cons of this and we’ll see how it develops, but one of the cool factors is this info is put online for us to check in our account. They show you graphs of usage by year, month, day and even hour! They even put a nice median temperature reading on the graph so you can compare. So you can log in a couple times a week to see how you are doing and make adjustments if you need to bring it down some more.
Nothing like tracking your electric usage like you do your money to help focus and work to lower it!
What do you think? have you started ways you can cut back on your electric use?