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How to Save Money on Your Electricity Bill

Money Girl's 10 tips to lower your utility bill and save money as the heat rises this summer.

By
Laura Adams, MBA,
Episode #276
changing the temp

Tip #6: Use Fans

Portable fans or ceiling fans are inexpensive and allow you to raise your thermostat several degrees and feel just as comfortable in the summer. Just remember that fans cool people, not air—so be sure to turn them off when you leave the room.

There’s a switch on most ceiling fans that reverses the direction of the blades. Make sure they’re turning counter-clockwise at medium or high speed during the summer so air is pushed down to cool you off. During the winter you can run ceiling fans clockwise at low speed to gently circulate warm air that rises.

Quick and Dirty Tip: To prevent your air conditioner from working overtime, keep your interior doors and air vents open so air can circulate freely throughout your home.

Tip #7: Use a Microwave

Cook with a microwave oven when you can during warm weather. They’re inexpensive and use up to 30% less energy than a traditional oven. Plus, they don’t generate heat in the kitchen.

Tip #8: Upgrade Your System

If you need a major repair on an older air conditioning system, consider replacing it with a new energy-efficient unit. They are more expensive, but can cut your energy costs in half.

The best systems have a SEER rating, or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, of 14 or higher.

Installing energy-saving products can also qualify you for a credit on your utility bill. So do some research on your energy company’s web site for recommended products and savings opportunities.

Also, check the online Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency for financial incentives from the federal, state, and local governments when you replace appliances with more energy-efficiency models.

Tip #9: Seal Leaks

If you have lots of cracks around windows and doors, that can be as wasteful as leaving a window wide open all year long! Use inexpensive caulk or expanding foam to seal cracks that are draining your money.

Most energy companies offer a free program to help determine whether you have leaky air ducts and other inefficiencies in your home. Make an appointment for an energy home inspection—you might be surprised by how much they can help you save!

Tip #10: Sign Up for Energy Programs

Visit your power company’s web site to find out if they offer an energy management program. You may be eligible to enroll some or all of your appliances in a system that temporarily powers them down during occasional periods of high energy demand. 

The power company installs a small switch on equipment that you enroll in the program, like your water heater, pool pump, or central air conditioner. If you’re willing to give them control over this equipment during limited times, you’ll receive a nice rebate. This is a great option for people who are away from home during a large part of the day.

Try these tips to stay cool and battle rising energy costs during the summer. If you have more money-saving energy tips, be sure to share them on the Money Girl Facebook page.

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