Family life can be hectic, with work and school activities plus the distraction of managing the home and household budget. But even the busiest family can be shocked into paying attention by home electricity bills that seem to grow larger with each passing month. If you have begun to experience a moment of dread each time your new bill arrives and want to take steps to shrink it back down to size, here are some proactive tips to help you achieve your goal.
Review household appliance settings and usage
Misuse of appliances is often the cause of increased electricity usage and higher power bills. Homeowners who have noticed their bills creeping upward should start by:
- checking thermostat programming to make sure that the settings are at or below 68 degrees in winter and no lower than 78 degrees during the summer cooling season
- making sure that electric water heaters are set to heat water to temperatures no higher than 120 degrees
- checking refrigerator settings to make sure that they are no lower than 34 degrees
- making sure that washer settings are switched to take advantage of both cold water wash and rinse cycles
- making sure to only wash full loads of laundry
- ensuring dishwashers are set to air dry and only operated with a full load of dishes
Additionally, homeowners may want to speak to family members about their energy usage habits. When doing this, homeowners should explain the financial costs involved in wasteful behavior such as taking showers that last longer than five minutes, or randomly raising the heating system settings instead of putting on a sweater to remain comfortable.
Make small changes
Spending some time caulking cracks, hanging insulated curtains or blinds over windows, or just being watchful for activities that waste energy can pay off by shaving dollars from your household's electricity bill. Taking time to disconnect instant-on digital equipment, such as televisions and computers, can help to reduce the amount of electricity you use.
Get an energy audit
Many electricity providers offer energy audits for their customers to help them discover usage habits and conditions that may be adding to the cost of their monthly electricity bill.
If your electrical provider does not offer this service, consider contacting a certified electrical contractor in your area to have this service performed. In addition to helping you discover the causes of wasted energy in your home, companies like RDS Electric can examine your home's wiring and electrical connections for potential issues that may be unsafe or capable of causing higher electricity bills.