A few months ago I went and got my mail as usual.
Among the junk mail and letters was my electric bill. Nothing out of the ordinary here.
Except when I opened it.
My jaw hit the floor.
I owe how much for electric?
I was certain there was something wrong, like a typo or I was sent my neighbors bill.
Sadly, it was my bill.
I didn’t like paying this much for electric and knew I had to take steps.
I set an ambitious goal for myself. I wanted to figure out how to cut my electric bill in half.
I am proud to say that I succeeded with my goal.
There were a handful of things that worked, some better than others.
Today I am sharing with you the things that worked the best to lower my electric bill.
By following these tips, you too can cut your electric bill in half.
How To Cut Your Electric Bill In Half
There are a total of 10 steps I took to save money on electricity.
Below is a summary of the tricks that performed the best, followed by more details.
I then talk about the other things I did that didn’t lower my energy bill that much.
I am including them because they might make sense for you.
Lastly, at the end, I cover the common questions readers ask me about saving money on electricity.
The 10 Steps To Save Money On Electricity
#1. Get An Energy Audit
The first step to saving money on electricity is to get an energy audit.
Most electric companies offer these to their customers for a small fee.
When we did ours, it cost us $99.
In addition to the audit, we also received coupons for energy saving devices, discounts for larger energy efficient upgrades to our house, and a bunch of free LED bulbs.
The audit took a little more than an hour and I walked through the house with the technician who pointed out any issues.
When it was complete, we ran through everything and I got a nice checklist of what to do.
Was the $99 fee worth it? Definitely.
In addition to the discounts and free LED lights I mentioned, I now had a plan of what to do around the house.
And I knew what would have the biggest impact in terms of savings on the money I was going to spend.
#2. Shop Around For Electric Service
If you are lucky enough to live in a state with deregulated electricity, you must take the time to shop around for your electric supplier.
Most states have a dedicated site that you can view all the offers and how much you will pay.
Just fill out the short online form and your electric utility will do the rest.
You still get the same bill, but you pay a lower price.
For example, our local utility was charging $0.07 per kilowatt hour. I found a 6 month rate from another supplier for $0.045 per kilowatt hour.
Just from this alone almost cut my electric bill in half.
I do have to remember to find a new plan every few months, but every time I do this, I’ve found a more competitive rate.
#3. Focus On Heating And Air Conditioning First
The next area to focus on when it comes to lowering your electric bill is to focus on the things that cost the most.
This means your heating and air conditioner.
For most people, your bill will spike in summer and winter because these units are running. In the fall and spring when they aren’t running, your bill is likely more manageable.
So how do you lower the cost of running these units?
There are a couple of simple, low cost things your can do:
#1. Buy a programmable thermostat. There is no point in heating or cooling your house when no one is home. Buy this thermostat and you will start saving money immediately.
#2. Adjust the temperature. In winter, set the indoor temp lower than you have it now. Try for 68 degrees. In summer, set the indoor temp higher. Try for 73 degrees.
#3. Buy ceiling fans. Buy a couple of ceiling fans for the rooms you frequent most, like your bedroom and the living room and run them all summer long.
It’s clear that the programmable thermostat and adjusting the temperature works, but what are the tradeoffs?
In the winter, your house will be cooler, so you will have to dress a little warmer or use blankets at times to stay warm.
But your body will quickly adjust.
And by having a cooler temperature in the house, your indoor air won’t be as dry, allowing for better health.
Having a ceiling fan will keep you cooler. We increased the temperature in our house and thought it was going to be too hot.
But with the ceiling fan moving air through the room, it feels colder than when we had the thermostat set to a lower temperature.
In the end, these items will cost you money upfront. But they pay for themselves every month with a lower electric bill.
In our case, we earned back the money we spent in less than a year.
#4. Change Out Light Bulbs
Another thing to focus on is your lighting. If you still use incandescent lights, you are throwing money down the toilet.
LED bulbs are much more energy efficient and the price to buy them has come down considerably.
Still, there is a cost to buying these.
For us, we replaced the bulbs in the rooms we used most often. This meant the kitchen, our bathroom and the living room.
In all we spent $20 in LED light bulbs. Here is the link to Amazon for the best low cost LEDs we bought.
How much did we save?
We estimate that save around $2.50 a month because of the LED lights.
And since the LED bulbs last 25 times longer, we will save by not having to replace the bulbs that often either.
#5. Buy Kill A Watt
The last thing we did was buy a Kill A Watt device.
This will tell you how much electricity anything uses. Simply plug the item into this device and then plug it into an outlet.
When we used one, we were surprised by how much electric some things used. And there were some things we assumed used a lot of electricity that ended up not using that much at all.
By identifying energy sucking items, we could make it a point to use them less often to save money.
Other Things We Did To Lower Our Electric Bill
We did do a handful of other things around the house as well to help with the electric bill.
Figuring out the money impact on some was harder than others, but we see benefits overall.
Here is the short list of things we did.
#1. Caulked Around Windows
I waited for a cold day outside and then went to every window in our house. I slowly ran my hand around the trim to see if I felt a draft.
If I did, I got my caulk and placed a bead of caulk between the trim and the wall.
It took me a Saturday afternoon to do this for our entire house.
And while I can’t give specific money savings, I know it is contributing to lowering our electric bill.
This is because we rarely ever feel those random drafts of cold air in the house. And the fewer drafts of cold air means our heater has to work a little less.
Here is a short video showing you how to caulk around your windows.
#2. Replaced Weather Stripping Around Doors
Another thing I did was replace the weather stripping around our doors.
I looked at all of the weather stripping and if it looked smushed and in bad condition, I replaced it.
I also closed the door and looked at the gap around the entire door to see if I could see light. This was an indication new weather stripping was needed.
Again, the money saved is hard to estimate, but we don’t feel the drafts like before.
Here is a great video showing how easy it is to replace the weather stripping.
#3. Bought Smart Power Strips
The next thing we did was we bought smart power strips.
These work by completely shutting off power to devices that are turned off.
If you aren’t aware, a lot of electronics use power, even when they appear to be off. In reality they are in standby mode and use electric.
This includes printers, blenders and even phone and laptop chargers.
A smart power strip stops these devices from using electricity, saving you money.
Here is the one we use and recommend.
Our estimates are we save around $5 a month using this device.
#4. Get A Drying Rack
We bought a wooden drying rack on Amazon to dry most of our clothes in the winter. In the summer, we hang our clothes outside.
By not using our dryer, we save money on electricity. We estimate it costs around $0.50 every time we run the dryer.
And since we have little kids, we were running the dryer a few times a week. This comes to roughly $10 a month we save.
But we also save money with our clothes by not using the dryer.
Using the heat of the dryer breaks down clothes much faster, meaning you have to buy new clothes more often.
#5. Get A Home Energy Monitor
We didn’t do this, but have a friend who did.
They cost around $300 and install directly into your electrical box. The downside is because of this, you need an electrician to install it.
But the benefits are huge.
From your smartphone you get a live analysis of what is using electric and how much.
It really opens your eyes as to how much electricity certain devices use.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here is a list of questions I get asked the most from my readers about saving money on electricity.
What is the best way to save money on electricity?
Hands down the best way to save money on is to get an energy audit.
This will give you a plan to know what will have the biggest impact on your monthly bill.
From there, if you live in a state that deregulated electricity, shop around for the best price.
How I can use less electricity at home?
If you are proactive, you can easily use less electricity at home without having to buy anything or changing your lifestyle dramatically.
Simply turn off lights when you leave a room and unplug unused appliances.
Change your thermostat settings as well.
Finally, think through things.
Try air drying your clothes as much as possible.
Wash clothes in cold water if you have an electric water heater.
Instead of using an oven, can you use a smaller toaster oven to cook? Or use a grill?
By being smart and making small changes, you can easily use less electricity at home.
How can I lower my electric bill in my apartment?
Lowering your electric bill in an apartment is harder because you don’t own your residence.
For starters, check with your landlord to see about updating the thermostat in your unit.
By using a programmable thermostat, you can save money.
From there, lower the temperature in the winter and raise the temperature in the summer.
Next, if your windows are drafty, meaning you feel cold air in the winter, buy some heavy curtains and hang them to block the draft.
After that, pay attention to what appliances you use and make it a point to unplug things you don’t use a lot.
When I lived in an apartment, I had certain items plugged into power strips and then turned the power switch off before I left for work and turned it back on when I came home.
I also adjusted the temperatures as well and the end result was a steady $60 monthly electric bill.
How can I save on my electric bill in summer?
The easiest way to save money on electric in the summer is to buy ceiling fans and keep them running.
They don’t use a lot of electricity and the moving air will feel cold on your body.
Make sure you also increase the temperature of your air conditioner as well.
Even with warmer air, it will feel colder as the air moves around.
How do I lower my electric bill in the winter?
For saving money on your electric in the winter, the solution is to lower the temperature, wear warmer clothes and use blankets.
Obviously you don’t want to turn the thermostat down too low, but you can go down into the upper 60s and enjoy your home.
If that sounds cold to you, realize in a few days you will get used to the cooler temperature and won’t be cold.
Does it make sense to replace my windows to save money on electricity?
If your windows are extremely old, are single pane, or are very drafty, then you should look into buying new windows.
But don’t run out and replace all your windows thinking you will save a lot of money on electricity.
Even the most energy efficient windows won’t net you a savings.
This is because of the large upfront cost of the windows and the very small savings you will experience.
For example, the typical cost of new replacement window installed is $700.
And studies estimate you will save roughly $100 a year in heating and cooling costs.
If you replace 10 windows, your out of pocket cost is $7,000. It will take you 70 years to break even when you save $100 a year on energy costs.
A better solution would be to use plastic wrap on the windows to insulate them in the winter.
Or you could strategically use your blinds.
In the winter, open the blinds on south and west facing windows to allow the warm sun to naturally heat your home.
Keep the other blinds closed.
In the summer, reverse this and keep the blinds closed on the south and west facing windows to keep the hot summer sun out.
At the end of the day, you have a lot of control when it comes to your electric bill.
By taking some initiative, you can cut your electric bill in half.
Our friend who bought the smart home energy monitor cut his electric bill by 75%!
While you will have to spend a little money upfront, the savings come quickly and you should break even within a year.
For larger improvements, like a new HVAC unit, the savings will take longer to realize.
The bottom line is, be smart about your electric use and you can save money on your electricity bill.
We took the steps I outlined and lowered our bill 53%.
You can too.
Just follow my steps and then review what the energy audit recommends.