Today I have some tips and tricks on how to save money on an electric bill and use less energy.
After a mortgage, gas and electricity can be the next highest household bill we have to afford each month. And it seems to go up year after year.
But there are lots of ways to ensure that you’ll be able to save money on your next electric bill.
Need to save on your heating bill too? Here are some clever tips for heating your home without central heating.
Start with an electricity audit
Before you begin the quest to reduce your energy bill and your consumption it is a good idea to get a home energy audit. This is usually a professional service which you will have to pay for.
If you are in the UK you can apply to get a Green Deal assessment carried out which you may or may not need to pay for depending on your circumstances.
You will receive an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) which rates your home for energy efficiency and will include recommended improvements. You will have to pay to carry out any work they recommend, but it is worth checking to see if you can get a grant.
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How to save money on an electric bill – lower your electricity bill with these 5 tips
First off, let’s check on 5 smart things you can do to lower your electricity bill. If you are paying over the odds for your electricity all your efforts to limit usage won’t have the best outcome in terms of saving money.
1. Check you are on the best tariff
First off you will want to ensure that you are on the best tariff for your usage. For example, it might suit you better if you are on a plan where electricity is cheaper during the night. If you are in all day then that isn’t such a suitable option.
You can usually check your tariff and get advice on your energy provider’s website or give them a call.
2. Switch energy providers
It can seem a bit daunting to switch your energy providers but actually, it is pretty straightforward and when you have done it you might be wondering why you didn’t do it before!
There are several websites where you can easily compare energy providers and tariffs against your current service.
Here are a few things that I took into account when we switched a while ago.
1. Paying via monthly direct debit is usually cheaper
Setting up a monthly direct debit where you pay a set amount each month is what most energy providers want you to do and they will reward you with a lower bill if you do so.
2. Combine electricity and gas to get a discount
If you use the same energy provider for both electricity and gas you will most likely earn a discount.
3. Check for other benefits
My energy supplier used to add Tesco Clubcard points which represented a big saving for us. Sadly they stopped doing that, so that meant it was time to switch! It is worth checking for similar incentives that you are likely to gain from.
3. Install solar panels
You will need to do some maths as to whether solar panels will save you money in the long run, and how long it will be your break-even. But, what they will do is reduce your energy consumption.
We installed our solar panels a few years ago. We aren’t in the black yet in terms of savings, but they save us considerably each year.
Just recently we attached the solar panels to the water heater. So now the sun will heat our water instead of gas.
A big tip from me is to make sure your installer puts some mesh around the panels to stop birds nesting underneath. Our installer didn’t do this and we had to add it later after experiencing a lot of mess and noise!
4. Check if you are entitled to a grant
It is very worthwhile checking for available grants that you might be entitled to. You might, for example, be eligible for help paying for solar panels, insulation and a new boiler or money off your electricity bill. These change all the time of course and there are usually deadlines.
For UK check at Simple Energy Advice.
5. Get a smart meter
Smart meters will tell you exactly how much energy you are using at any time. They can be a good incentive for keeping usage down for both gas and electricity. Watch the usage indicator turn into the red zone when you switch on the kettle or the oven. It can be very enlightening as to which activities use the most energy.
How to save money on an electric bill – use less electricity with these 14 handy tips
Now we turn to ways you can reduce your energy usage. If you can use less, then ultimately you will pay less. Plus you will do your bit for the environment by reducing your carbon footprint too.
1. Don’t leave appliances on standby
You might think you have switched off your TV, but if you look you’ll find it is actually in standby mode which means it is using energy even though you aren’t watching it. If you turn off devices at the plug it will stop drawing your precious electricity.
2. Choose efficient appliances
Old appliances are sadly less efficient than new ones. I hate to replace things before they have worn out or broken beyond repair so this is a conundrum for me. I know this is odd but I get attached to older things too.
Still, if you need to buy new, check the energy efficiency grading to make sure you are getting the best for your money.
Pro tip: Keep your kettle clean so that it uses less energy to boil it.
3. Switch to energy-saving lightbulbs and LEDs
The energy-saving lightbulbs are much more efficient than halogen and fluorescent-based lighting. If you haven’t already switched it makes sense to do so immediately. From September 2021 halogen lamps will be banned from sale and fluorescent strip lighting will follow soon after.
4. Switch off lights
It’s a no brainer, but get used to switching off lights. If you are not present in a room then you really don’t need to keep it lit.
This is where a PIR (passive infrared sensor) can come in handy. If you think you are going to forget to turn off lights then install a light with a sensor that switches on when movement is detected and then off again a few minutes after. We have one installed in the bathroom because the kids always forget to switch off the light.
5. Install dimmer switches where possible
If dimming the light in a room makes sense for you it can save electricity when you don’t need full strength light. Before you go ahead, check that the bulb you want to use is capable of dimming. Some bulbs don’t dim very well.
6. Use your microwave
Putting your big oven on to cook a small thing can use a lot of energy needlessly. Consider using your microwave instead where you can.
7. Use a slow cooker
If you aren’t such a fan of microwaved food and you need to avoid using your oven, then a slow-cooker is your answer. You can buy them very cheaply and some even have timers so you can schedule them to finish when you arrive home.
Slow cookers cook the food for longer but at lower temperatures which means that overall the energy consumption is less.
- How To Cook Chicken Leg Quarters In A Slow Cooker
- Slow Cooker Beef Stew With Red Wine And Potatoes
- Slow Cooker Beef Stew With Red Wine And Potatoes
- Best Slow Cooker Pork Chops With Apples Recipe
- Easy Slow Cooker Chicken and Lentil Tandoori Curry
8. Wash your laundry at a lower temperature
All the newer washing machines heat cold water to the desired temperature rather than draw hot water from your tank. This means that reducing your washing temperature will most definitely impact your electricity consumption.
If you move from a 40deg wash down to 30deg you will hardly notice a difference and you will save money too. Try moving to a completely cold wash and you only pay the much smaller amount it costs for the motor to run.
Another thing to check on is to make sure you only run full-loads.
9. Avoid using your tumble dryer
If you have a garden consider drying laundry outside instead of in a tumble dryer.
When you use a tumble dryer make sure it is running at its most efficient. Clear the lint to make sure the air can flow freely.
Using these dryer balls by Ecoegg can reduce the drying time by up to 28%. Another option is to add a fluffy towel at the beginning of the drying time.
10. Skip the heat-dry setting in the dishwasher
The last leg of your dishwasher cycle is the drying phase. If you don’t need your dishes dry stop the cycle before it gets to that point. If you open the door you can let the dishes air-dry naturally.
11. Check your fridge and freezer temperatures
Is your fridge and freezer temperature set too high? If it is unnecessarily cold you will use more energy than you need to.
Make sure your fridge’s temperature is between 37°F (3°C) and 40°F (5°C). and your freezer is set at 0°F (-18°C).
12. Keep your freezer full
You have an excuse stockpile! A full freezer is a more economical freezer.
13. Switch to an induction hob
If you have a normal electric plate hob switch to a more efficient induction hob. Induction hobs heat up much more quickly and they only heat the area where the pan touches and so waste much less heat.
An induction cooktop is more efficient than gas too because again, gas wastes a lot of heat around the sides of the pan which induction cooking does not.
Since we got our induction hob I have never looked back, I love how responsive it is and how cool it keeps the kitchen. I would never swap it for anything else.
14. Don’t overuse your oven
Schedule in time to do a big baking session and take up all the space in your oven if you can. If you are looking to replace your oven, fan ovens cook more efficiently than ordinary confection. Plus, you can cook different flavours together without getting them mixed up between dishes.