Save energy, save money
Our top 10 tips for saving on your power bill
Updated Sept. 21, 2011
Here in Los Angeles County, hot weather is not only a summertime event. Temperatures often stay high through the fall and that means you’re likely faced with more high monthly electricity bills.
But when it comes to your energy bill, there are many steps you can take save a few dollars. Some are difficult and a bit costly up front. Others are simple and free. You will see that any of them will save you some of your hard-earned money in the long run.
Here are the top 10 common-sense tips for saving cents on your energy bill:
1. Change your thermostat settings
When you’re away from your home, turn off the air conditioner or turn the thermostat up to about 85 degrees. When you’re home, keep the thermostat around 78 degrees. These changes alone will save you over $100 a year.
2. Clean the air conditioner filters
When air can’t flow easily into air conditioner, the system will have to work extra hard to keep your home cool. Clean your filters monthly and replace them on a seasonal basis.
3. Close the blinds
It’s simple. Cover the windows + block the sunlight + keep out the heat = profit!
Pay special attention to windows facing to the south or west, which will get more light during the day.
You can also go the extra mile and get insulated window treatments or window films to block the sunlight more completely.
4. Click on the fan
This tip likely goes back to the beginning of time. Circulate the air around you with a fan and it will cool you down. A little breeze makes all the difference.
Just as important to remember: fans make the people cooler, not the room. So when you leave a room, save some energy by turning off the fan.
5. Change your light bulbs
No, you aren’t breaking the law by keeping your incandescent bulbs. But California has new laws this year which force light-bulb manufacturers to make more energy-efficient varieties.
So change is coming, but you can get a head start and save some money in the long run by switching to new light bulbs. Compact florescent bulbs are more expensive up front, but they use less energy, generate less heat and will save you money on your energy bill.
6. Consider unplugging
Anything that’s plugged in, even if it’s not “on” uses energy that you will pay for. So be wise when you’re plugged in. Don’t charge your cell phone all night. Unplug kitchen appliances when you’re not using them, particularly the fridge in the garage you rarely use. Plug multiple devices into a power strip and turn off the power strip when they’re not being used. Studies say that up to 10 percent of your energy bill comes from standby power.
7. Cook with the microwave
On the other hand, when you cook, use the microwave if possible. Microwaves are quite energy efficient and typically use about two-thirds less energy than your stove.
8. Crowd your refrigerator
Make it a Super Bowl party all year round and fill up the fridge as much as you can. When you have a lot of food inside, it will keep the refrigerator from warming up too fast when the door is open. A cooler fridge means less work means a lower bill.
9. Chores can wait
Use your appliances early or late whenever possible. Avoid the heat of the daytime or in the peak hours of 4-6 p.m. Ovens, dryers and dishwashers pump out heat and the air conditioning will work harder to make up the difference. Use only full loads in the washer or dishwasher. Use cold or warm water on your clothes.
10. Close up those leaks
Seal the door and window frames of the house so cool air can’t leak. Use some caulk or weather-stripping to plug up these drafts. Have an expert inspect the ducts in your air conditioning system for cleaning or sealing.