How to Lower the Electricity Bill

At our household, we are always looking for ways to save money. One of the things we do is lower the electricity bill. There are many ways to cut down on the electricity bill without having to sacrifice comfort. It just takes a little planning, a little compromise, and a little mindfulness. Simple changes in daily habits really make a big difference, so never assume that one action makes too small a difference. Per usual, I would recommend setting this one up as a month-long frugal challenge. Try to adopt as many of these tips and see how low you can get your electricity bill!

Ways to Lower the Electricity Bill

Lighting

  • Turn off unnecessary lights.
  • When the house has holiday lights on, we keep the rest of the lights off. The soft glow of the Christmas tree is enough to read a book by.
  • Use natural light whenever possible. I throw open the blinds the minute I wake up to allow natural light in. During the day, all doors are kept open to dissipate light into areas of the home with less windows.
  • Use task lighting as much as possible. Task lights use up less electricity than turning on the ceiling lights in a room. (This one is a favorite). I also really love under-counter lights in the kitchen. You can rig a set easily under your kitchen cupboards.
  • Install dimmers on your lights. We have a dimmer on all the important lights, including the bedroom, living room, and guest room.
  • Opt for better bulbs. LED is great!
  • Use candles. I love writing and reading by candlelight. One birthday, Mike gifted me a handful of candlesticks. I love using them with this Notary Ceramics candle holder.

Temperature

  • Invest in good insulation in the doorways and windows.
  • Turn off AC/the heater when not at home.
  • Use a fan instead of an AC.
  • Layer up instead of turning on the heat.
  • Lower the thermostat. Lowering the thermostat by 2 degrees Fahrenheit can lower the electricity bill by 5%!
  • Allow daylight to warm up the house during the day. We see a difference in temperature as big as 10 degrees Fahrenheit! This is especially useful in the winter.
  • Close the drapes and blinds to prevent heat from escaping in the evenings. This will keep the house warmer during the day.
  • Keep up with replacing air filters for AC.
  • Use a programmable thermostat.

Water

  • Take a quick shower. If possible, take a shower in cold water. We have an electric water heater so any hot water uses up electricity.
  • Avoid baths.
  • Turn off the water when shaving, brushing your teeth, or lathering with soap in the shower.
  • Fix any leaky faucets.

Electronics

  • Unplug unused electronics. Use a power strip to plug in all electronics in the same area. Turn off the power strip when they are not in use. For example, we have a power strip in our media console, as well as in Mike’s office. This one is pretty AND affordable!
  • Don’t run the TV in the background. Some people love background noise. Luckily, I absolutely abhor it. I find it too distracting. While I can’t speak for the value of having a TV on in the background (some swear by it!), I can definitely say you’ll save more money if you turn the TV off.
  • The same tip goes for keeping the TV on for aesthetics. We own Samsung’s 65″ Frame TV and I love that it looks like a picture frame when you keep a still image on it. But we do NOT leave it on ALL day long. In fact, our Frame TV automatically turns off within a few minutes of not sensing movement in the room. I will turn it on to photograph the space, but even with guests around, most of the time the TV is actually off!
  • Opt for doing analog activities over digital ones. Save electricity by playing outside instead of playing video games, reading a book instead of reading on the laptop, or playing a boardgame instead of watching TV.

Cooking

  • Reduce heat in the kitchen in the summer months by grilling outdoors. This will reduce your need to use AC. Mike gifted me an Ooni Koda 16 Pizza Oven for Christmas. I will be using it on our balcony for more than just pizza all summer long. It can grill meats and veggies on a cast iron, as well as bake sourdough bread. We chose the Koda 16 because it is gas powered and for its larger size. The Koda 12 can do the same thing for cheaper, as well as take up less real estate, but the pizzas are tiny!
  • When heating up food on the stove, add a lid which will help heat it up faster.
  • Keep the oven doors closed until the last minute.
  • Avoid broiling food. Broiling is the most energy inefficient cooking method. If there is an alternative, do that instead.
  • Use the toaster oven instead of the oven. My Balmuda toaster oven pretty does everything my oven could. Since it is a smaller space, there is no need to waste time pre-heating. I use it to make individual servings of garlic bread, when I bake cookies, small servings of casserole, and more. This toaster is seriously amazing! My review on why I love the Balmuda toaster can be read here.
  • Declutter the fridge. This might sound like an odd one, but the efficiency of your fridge depends on the ability of the air inside to circulate. It may be impeded when the fridge is very full!
  • Meal prep and cook all the meals in one day. By doing so, you will have to preheat appliances less. It also makes the week way easier!

Washers

  • Wash laundry with cold water. It will be just as clean, promise!
  • Hang dry the laundry. We first came across this on our trip to New Zealand, and then again in Australia, Spain, and Mexico. The rest of the world does it, why don’t we? By the way, the California Energy Commission says that a dryer uses up 6% of a home’s electricity bill. WOW!
  • Wash full loads of laundry. I can’t imagine anyone wouldn’t? Do the same with the dishwasher.
  • Skip the heat dry function on the dishwasher. I just run ours on wash, and then open the door afterward to allow the dishes to air dry.

Other

  • Install solar panels. We just moved into our new home in November and thankfully own our own roof! We are installing Tesla panels early 2021 to reduce our electricity bill as well as become more environmentally friendly.
  • Know your electric company’s Residential T.O.U. (Time of Use). Our electric company is SDG&E. They have different TOUs and charge different rates for each time period. The cheapest rate per kWh is between 12pm to 6am, when electricity use is “Super-Off Peak”. The most expensive rates occur between 4pm and 9pm, when electricity usage is “On-Peak”. Lastly, the middle ground, or “Off-Peak” Hours are from 6am to 4pm, and from 9pm to 12pm. This means that we are better off running the heat at night between 12pm and 6pm. We do our laundry and take showers during the day, between 6am and 4pm. We cook meals and meal prep before 4pm if possible. And we run the dishwasher after 9pm.
  • Participate in OhmConnect.
  • Opt for a tiny home!

This barely grazes the surface but I hope you find ideas in this post. I hope it helps you in your frugal challenge to reduce your energy bill. If you have other ideas, please share with the community!

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash