Who doesn’t want to save money on their utility bills? How many times a day do parents plead with their kids to turn out the lights and shut the television off when they leave the room? Surprisingly, all that well-intentioned lecturing may not make much of an impact, as many of our electronic devices in the home continue to drain energy, even when they are “off.” So much for conserving energy and dollars, right?
Although today’s electronic devices and appliances are much more energy-efficient, most of our homes have more devices than ever before, which is the first reason why our electric bills are rising. Homes used to be limited to lamps, electric ovens, dishwashers, refrigerators and washing machines; now we have those appliances along with multiple computers, tablets, iPods and cell phones, just to name a few.
Kim Komando wrote a great article on this topic for USA Today back in 2012, and her advice is still relevant – if not more – today. We’ve pulled together five tips, including her suggestions, to help you put your vampire energy suckers to rest.
5 Tips for Saving Money on Your Electric Bill:
- Turn off & unplug unnecessary devices. This may sound time consuming but you can also turn it into a family game every evening. Unplug table lamps in every room that you don’t use regularly. Unplug phone chargers, toaster ovens, televisions, computers and anything else that you don’t need during the nighttime hours. Decide if you can unplug the coffee maker or if it’s worth having it automatically programmed to make your cup of coffee every morning. The more you can unplug the more money you can save. And you may find that some of these items remain unplugged for multiple days, until you need to use them again.
- Use inexpensive power switches or socket adapters. These switches or adapters plug into your wall sockets but they have an ‘on/off’ button, so your plugs can remain in the power switch over night but the power button can be shut off. If there’s no power leading to the device, there’s no extra cost of keeping the device plugged in. Some of these adapters have timed switches, so you simply set the timer and it shuts itself down. This is a great alternative for the coffee maker and television; simply set the time the power should go off and what time it should go back on.
- Purchase a smart power strip or surge protector. These are handy for desktop computers and also televisions with game stations because the ‘smart’ power strip can identify when a component has gone idle and will then shut down the outlet. Many of these smart strips also come with remote controls so you don’t have to squeeze behind tables or into corners to physically turn on the power.
- Turn off your hot water heater when on vacation or shut down the power with a timer switch. We often forget about our hot water heaters since they’re usually buried down in our basements but keeping the setting at 120 degrees or less will save you money and reduce the risk of scalding. Likewise, unless you have a house sitter while you’re away, turning off the water heater while you’re away will save you even more money.
- Always buy Energy Star appliances and keep reminding your kids to turn off their electronics!
What are your energy-saving tips? Tell us here!