I’ve talked about how I’m saving money on groceries, but I’m also working at cutting costs in other ways. One big monthly expense is our electricity bill or as we call it here our hydro bill. There’s no getting away with not having an electrical bill in this digital age and I wouldn’t want to not have it. I was on a mission to find ways to save money on my power bill and stop wasting away energy (and my hard earned dollars too).
Growing up, I remember dad always drilling into us about turning off the lights. I can distinctly remember him saying, “You’ve got every light in the house on!” or “Do you think money grows on trees?”. Back then I didn’t really have any money worries. My parents took care of anything. Now that I have my own family and the only one working, I can’t not think about ways to reduce our bill.
I’ve been researching ways to cut costs on my power bill over the last month and wanted to share some tips I’ve learned so you can save money on your power bill too.
1. Determine what your utility company’s off peak hours are. During the off-peak hours you’ll be charged a lower rate for the electricity you use. I found a chart on my utility company’s website detailing the costs and times of day. This gives me an idea of when I should be doing any of my energy-intensive household chores like laundry and running the dishwasher. As you can see, my off-peak hours are weekdays from 7 pm to 7 am and all day on the weekends and stat holidays. The worst time for me to be doing laundry is weekdays from 11 am to 5 pm when the rate is almost double!
2. Charge electronics during off-peak hours. Plug in your devices like your phones, tablets, etc during this time. I’ve gotten into the habit of charging my cell phone every evening. Then I bring it into my room at night because I use it for an alarm in the morning. Don’t forget to take the charger plug out of the socket when you are done!
3. Run the dishwasher during off-peak hours and only when full. Don’t use the heated drying function. Let the dishes air dry. I run the dishwasher once a day in the evening, if needed. Then I open it a little to let them air dry. I leave them there all night and in the morning when I’m getting Bridget ready for the bus, I’ll unload the dishes and put them away.
4. Wash large pots and pans by hand in the kitchen sink. This way you aren’t taking up space in the dishwasher and can use it less often.
5. Do your laundry during off-peak hours washing your clothes in cold water only. I can count on one hand how many times I’ve washed something in hot water.
6. Only do full loads of laundry. It doesn’t make much sense to run a load for a few items. I wait till I have a full load and then will do a wash.
7. Keep your dryer’s lint trap clean so clothes will dry faster. I empty mine out after each load. It’s crazy how full it gets especially after drying towels!
8. Use a drying rack or clothes line in the summer. I hang all my clothes on a drying rack in the laundry room. I use the dryer in the winter for undergarments, towels, dish clothes and Bridget’s and John’s clothes. Olivia does her own laundry and has her own drying rack for her stuff.
9. Keep your deep freezer full. If you don’t have enough food in it to fill, use water jugs. It will run more efficiently when full.
10. Switch to ENERGY STAR CFL bulbs. Use up the light bulbs you currently have so you don’t have a huge upfront expense. When you need to replace the bulbs, buy them.
11. Turn off lights if you aren’t using them. Seems like a no-brainer right? Yet, I’m constantly reminding everyone to do this in my home.
12. Use table lamps to light a room instead of turning on the main overhead light.
13. Open the blinds/curtains in the morning to light up the house with natural sunlight. It will also help to heat the house too in the winter. Close them at night to keep the heat in and prevent any nosy neighbours seeing what you are up too.
14. Turn off porch lights before bed. Lately, I’ve been leaving my exterior lights off unless I know someone is coming over.
15. Use a night light in the hall instead of leaving the overhead light on all night. I don’t like to leave everyone in the dark in case they need to make a late night bathroom run.
16. Take shorter showers instead of baths. A bath these days is a luxury. I remember the days I used to have one every night.
17. Use your microwave to reheat food instead of the stove or oven. The microwave uses less energy.
18. Make sure your vents are open so your furnace doesn’t have to struggle to circulate the heat in your home.
19. Plug your electronics into a power strip and then turn off the strip if you aren’t using them. Remember that chargers and anything with a clock like your coffee maker, DVD or Blu-ray player, computer, etc are drawing power every single second they are plugged in. Alternatively, you can simply unplug them from the wall when you are done using them.
20. Make a routine of doing a nightly walk through your home before you go to bed. Turn off any lights that are left on and unplug any appliances that you aren’t using. During the holidays don’t forget to unplug the Christmas tree lights! Not only is it a waste of power, but it’s also a fire hazard.
With a few small changes, you can make a difference in how much you are spending each month on your power bill. Over time you’ll eventually form new habits and can teach your family how to conserve too.
What do you do to save money on your power bill?
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