Tips for Lowering Your Electric Bill

Say ​goodbye to high electric bills. These tips will help you increase your home efficiency for year-round savings.

  • 01 of 44

    Get an Energy Audit

    Father and son using tablet in kitchen looking at ceiling lamp
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    Many utility companies offer a free home energy audit to customers, and it's well worth taking advantage of. If there's no such program in your area, conduct your own energy audit instead. It'll clue you into areas where you could trim your energy use.

  • 02 of 44

    Install Dimmer Switches

    Light dimmer

     

    Diana Haronis / Getty Images

    The key to saving energy is within reach! Switch to dimmer switches, so you only use as much light as you need.

  • 03 of 44

    Keep Your Fridge and Freezer Full

    Full freezer

     

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    Everyone always tells you to keep the fridge closed. But did you know that keeping your fridge and freezer full can also save money? Food acts as insulation and lessens the amount of time that the fridge has to run to stay cool.

  • 04 of 44

    Install Ceiling Fans

    Wide angle of living space and kitchen with spiral staircase. Lights on
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    Keep the air circulating in your home, so your air conditioner doesn't have to work as hard.

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  • 05 of 44

    Line Dry Your Laundry

    Line Dry

     

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    Set up a clothesline in your backyard, and let Mother Nature dry your laundry. If this isn't an option, consider hanging clothes on a drying rack or shower rod.

  • 06 of 44

    Eliminate Phantom Loads

    Family using electronics

     

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    A shocking 75 percent of the energy used by home electronics is consumed when they're turned off. These "phantom" users include televisions, DVD players, stereos, computers and many kitchen appliances—basically anything that holds a time or other settings. A simple solution? Plug all of these items into power strips; then, get in the habit of turning off the strips between uses.

  • 07 of 44

    Install an Attic Fan

    Attic with ceiling fan

     

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    It'll pull cool air into your home, and help to remove the hot air.

  • 08 of 44

    Shield Your Home From the Sun

    Toddler standing in front of AC

     

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    Cut down on your air conditioning use by closing curtains and blinds on the sunny side of your home. For even more savings, consider installing tinted window film.

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  • 09 of 44

    Schedule Yearly HVAC Maintenance

    HVAC repair

     

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    Increase the efficiency of your HVAC system by having it inspected and cleaned once a year. Added bonus: cleaner air in your home.

  • 10 of 44

    Change Your Filters Regularly

    Male Hands Change Large Pleated Furnace Air Filter
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    Keep your HVAC system running at peak efficiency by changing the filter every 30 days. Set a reminder on your phone, so you don't forget.

  • 11 of 44

    Switch to LEDs

    Installing LED lights

    Steve Cicero / Getty Images

    LED light bulbs use 90 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs. Switch out the most widely used bulbs in your home. Then, replace the rest as they burn out.

  • 12 of 44

    Landscape for Shade

    Tree shade

    Spaces Images / Getty Images

    Plant trees to shade your home, and your air conditioning won't have to work as hard.

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  • 13 of 44

    Turn Off Heat Dry on Your Dishwasher

    Dishwasher
    Donald Iain Smith / Getty Images

    Most of the energy consumed by your dishwasher goes to heating water. Turn off the heat dry feature, and you'll minimize the drain.

  • 14 of 44

    Lower the Temperature on Your Hot Water Heater

    Hot water boiler

     

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    13 percent of your home's electricity goes to heating water. You can lower this percentage, by setting your hot water heater to 130-140 degrees. For even more savings, install an insulation jacket, and insulate the first six feet of piping that comes off of your heater.

  • 15 of 44

    Take Advantage of Off-Peak Rates

    Father carrying laundry basket in child
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    Does your town offer cheaper electric rates during off-peak hours? If so, this is a great time to wash laundry, heat water and run the dishwasher.

  • 16 of 44

    Upgrade to Energy Star Appliances

    Young family shopping for stoves in appliance store
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    If your appliances are 10 years old or older, consider replacing them with new, Energy Star models, which use considerably less energy.

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  • 17 of 44

    Wash Laundry in Cold Water

    Woman using washing machine

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    90 percent of the energy consumed by your washing machine goes to heating water. Turn the dial to cold, and skip the bill.

  • 18 of 44

    Only Wash Full Loads

    Piles of laundry

     

    Martin Poole / Getty Images

    Your washing machine and dishwasher uses a lot of electricity. Minimize the drain by only washing full loads.

  • 19 of 44

    Install Low-Flow Shower Heads

    Woman replacing shower head with eco-friendly low-flow shower head, DIY
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    Less water flowing through your shower head means less water to heat.

  • 20 of 44

    Get a Programmable Thermostat

    Setting thermostat

     

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    Then, set it to run less when you're at work and when you're sleeping.

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  • 21 of 44

    Pile on the Blankets

    Overhead view of woman lying in bed sleeping
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    An extra blanket on your bed in the winter months is often all it takes to push back the thermostat another couple degrees.

  • 22 of 44

    Clean Your Dryer Lint Trap

    Dryer lint trap

     

    Lisa J. Goodman / Getty Images

    Remove the lint from your dryer trap after each load to maximize your dryer’s efficiency. Then, scrub it down with soapy water and a brush once every couple months to remove any additional lint trapped in the screen.

  • 23 of 44

    Use Dryer Balls

    Dryer

    4FR / Getty Images

    Toss Dryer Balls into the dryer with your clothes to speed drying time.

  • 24 of 44

    Install a Tankless Hot Water Heater

    Tankless hot water system in the basement of a Green Technology Home
    Mark Hunt / Getty Images

    The next time you need to replace your hot water heater, consider going with a tankless hot water heater (also known as an on-demand hot water heater). They can cut your hot water energy cost by half.

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  • 25 of 44

    Insulate Behind Electrical Outlets and Switches

    Electrical outlets

    Hero Images / Getty Images

    Pick up a package of electrical outlet sealers, and place one behind all of the outlets and switches in your home.

  • 26 of 44

    Install Storm Doors

    Storm doors

     

    Adrian Peacock / Getty Images

    Storm doors are a great way to prevent energy loss. Install one on all of your exterior doors.

  • 27 of 44

    Clean Your Refrigerator's Coils

    Cleaning refrigerator coils

     

    Russell Sadur / Getty Images

    When your refrigerator has dirty condenser coils it has to work harder to cool your foods. Perform maintenance on your refrigerator once every three months to optimize its efficiency.

  • 28 of 44

    Turn Your Stove and Oven Off Early

    Mother and son baking cookies in kitchen
    Aliyev Alexei Sergeevich / Getty Images

    Turn the stove or oven off a few minutes before your food is done, and let the built up heat finish the job for you.

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  • 29 of 44

    Install Motion Sensors

    Front porch light

     

    chandlerphoto / Getty Images

    Motion sensors can be installed both inside and outside the home to ensure that lights only come on when they’re needed.

  • 30 of 44

    Use Smart Strips

    Power strip

     

    Eekhoff Picture Lab / Getty Images

    Replace you regular surge protectors with Smart Strip surge protectors, which automatically turn off power to plugs that are not in use. Then, say goodbye to those phantom energy users.

  • 31 of 44

    Install a Water Heater Timer

    Water boiler

    Image Source / Getty Images

    Traditional hot water heaters heat water throughout the day — whether you need it or not. Install a water heater timer, and set yours to run just when you need it. How much will this save? Expect to see a 5-12 percent reduction in your hot water heater's energy costs.

  • 32 of 44

    Replace Regular Night Lights With LED

    Reading LED light

     

    Teresa Short / Getty Images

    LED night lights cost less than 25 cents a year to run, and are guaranteed to last a lifetime.

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  • 33 of 44

    Switch to Solar Lights Outdoors

    Solar Garden Light
    PKM1 / Getty Images

    Harness the power of the sun by using solar lights for all of your outdoor needs. They'll absorb the sun's energy during the day, and run for free at night — a real bargain.

  • 34 of 44

    Don't Put Uncovered Foods/ Drinks in the Refrigerator

    Uncovered food

     

    gerenme / Getty Images

    Condensation makes the fridge work harder and costs you more money.

  • 35 of 44

    Allow Foods to Cool Before Putting Them in the Refrigerator

    Dinner

     

    Hinterhaus Productions / Getty Images

    Placing hot foods in your fridge will increase the interior temperature, and cause your refrigerator to work harder.

  • 36 of 44

    Keep Your Second Refrigerator in the Basement, Not the Garage

    Home garage

     

    Andrew Hetherington / Getty Images

    The extreme temperatures in your garage — hot in the summer and cold in the winter — will cause your refrigerator to work harder; so if you have a choice, place your second refrigerator (or freezer) in the basement, where the temperature is more constant.

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  • 37 of 44

    Cook With the Lids On

    Steaming pot

     

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    Foods cook faster with lids on because the heat can't escape.

  • 38 of 44

    Don't Preheat the Oven Unless You Have To

    Baking bread

     

    annebaek / Getty Images

    For casseroles — and other foods that require long cook times — preheating the oven usually isn't necessary. The exception: meats and other temperature-critical foods.

  • 39 of 44

    Use Your Microwave, Instead of the Oven

    Cooking peas in microwave

     

    Huw Jones / Getty Images

    Microwaves use less electricity and don't release as much heat into your home.

  • 40 of 44

    Remove Sediment From Your Hot Water Heater

    Water Heater

     

    JulNichols / Getty Images

    Sediment buildup in your hot water heater can reduce the efficiency of the heating elements. Use the valve on the side of your hot water heater to drain the sediment twice yearly.

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  • 41 of 44

    Insulate Your Hot Water Heater

    Gas Water Heater

    BanksPhotos / Getty Images

    Purchase an insulating jacket for your hot water heater to prevent heat loss.

  • 42 of 44

    Ensure Your Home Is Properly Insulated

    Insulating attic

     

    Gary Ombler / Getty Images

    The U.S. Department of Energy has an online tool that can help you determine if you have enough insulation based on the region that you live in.

  • 43 of 44

    Install Weatherstripping

    Window weather seal

    BanksPhotos / Getty Images

    Check around your windows and doors for any gaps. Then, purchase and install weatherstripping to fill them in.

  • 44 of 44

    Use Insulating Paint

    Painting house exterior

     

    ftwitty / Getty Images

    Go high tech, and paint your home (inside and out) with insulated paint. You can now purchase a ceramic additive that turns ordinary paint into insulated paint.

    All statistics in this article are based on current U.S. Department of Energy findings.