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Tips to Save Money on Your Electric Bill This Summer

Photo Credit: swisscan via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: swisscan via Compfight cc

The following is a guest post from our friends over at The Mighty Electricians. This is actually MoneyJournal’s first ever guest post, so I hope you enjoy and I hope you’ll comment to let our guest-poster know what you think! If you’d like to contribute a guest post, please visit our Guest Posting page to fill out an application. 

When the scorching summer months finally get here, everyone seems to have more of a smile on their face and a spring in their step. Perhaps you have a family vacation planned, or are simply looking forward to the longer days, which means you can have more time set aside for relaxing by the backyard pool or spending a few hours barbecuing succulent meals for your friends. As soon as summer arrives, the possibilities for fun and frolics seem never-ending!

No matter what you and your family have planned this summer, one of the shortcomings of the hot weather is that the rising temperatures cause rising utility costs. As rooms around your household get warmer, the natural response is to turn on the ceiling fans and whack up the A/C. And if it’s a particularly hot summer, that enjoyable spring in your step will probably vanish completely when you see your electric bill! However, by adopting the following tips, you might be able to minimize the amount of energy you utilize, which will hopefully lead to an electric bill you’re happier to see.

To Crock Pot or Not? – If you think about the major appliances around your home, one of the easiest ways to heat up the kitchen (as well as the rest of the house) is to use the oven. This is sometimes a bit of a pain, because you want to cook a tasty afternoon meal, but without making the temperatures soar and getting the windows all steamed up! It’s obviously impractical to open the windows if you live in a sun-drenched state such as Arizona, California or Texas, so what other choices do you have? A good alternative is to use a slow cooker. Not only do they use less energy and minimize heat production, but who needs an excuse to break out a crock pot and cook the family a delicious pulled-pork sandwich or a tasty batch of quadruple chocolate chip brownies?!

Cold Water Laundry - When doing the laundry, choose cold water as opposed to using the hot water selection. Furthermore, make sure that you are doing a full load instead of doing just a few things that can wait; while it is obviously a bad idea to overload a washer or dryer with too many clothes, it’s also counterproductive to fill it only halfway.

Drape, Drape, Drape – If you have big windows at the sides of your house, it’s a good idea to buy blinds or curtains, or possibly even hanging up a few heavy drapes or sheets, so you can decrease rays from the glaring sun.

Unplugging - Unplug electronic devices as soon as they have completed their charge, and take electrical plugs out of the wall whenever you are not using TVs, DVD players, laptops, desktop computers, and so on. In addition, hit the OFF button instead of simply hitting STANDBY.

Switch Out Your Light Bulbs – With extended sunlight hours during the summer, it stands to reason that you’ll need to use the lights in your household much less. This means that, for at least three months, you will only be utilizing light bulbs for the bare minimum amount of time. As such, make the switch at the beginning of the season from normal 60- or 100-watt light bulbs to compact fluorescents, which will save you money in the long run.

Cooling an Empty House? – Granted, no-one wants to leave the warmth outside and then get hit by searing inside air when they enter the house. However, if you take the time to calculate how much money you lose if you leave the A/C on high when you leave for work in the morning, you’ll probably be really surprised at the amount of funds you waste. If you’re actively trying to curb your expenses, install a programmable thermostat timer and ensure you use the energy saver option as much as possible.

For over a decade, TheMightyElectricians.com has worked hard to become one of the premier electrician teams in the Phoenix metropolitan area. We are proud to provide professional electrician services for all your residential and commercial needs, including security light setups, electrical troubleshooting, main breaker replacements, appliance circuits and ceiling fan installations. For further information, please visit us online at The Mighty Electricians today.

 

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June 23, 2014
  • http://debtdebs.com debt debs

    I’ve been discussing with my husband about getting timed power bars for some of the electrical items like TV’s etc. Let’s face it, unplugging all that stuff is a pain. He says the power bars are expensive and not worth the miniscule savings. What’s your opinion on this?

    • http://www.moneyjournal.com Zac Fields

      Hey Deb – thanks for commenting. I actually know a good bit about the different types of electricity saving power strips so I’m happy to chime in.

      There are a few different options. The “Smart” power strips are the most expensive, but the easiest to sort of “set and forget.” They have outlets that can sense when your devices are only using a trickle of power (ie: your television after you’ve turned it off) and it cuts power to those devices. These aren’t horribly expensive, as you can get a decent one for $25 compared to maybe $10 or $15 for a standard power strip.

      Another option would be a power strip that has a remote control to turn it on and off. I actually own one of these, myself. It’s a pretty simple concept – you hook it up to your television system or computer system and when you’re done using the electronic, you press a button on a simple remote control to turn off the power to the devices. This solves your concern of having to reach back behind your TV to unplug the power strip. It won’t automatically switch your devices off, so this option is really only as good as you make it. The cost of these are pretty comparable to what a normal power strip costs – maybe $5 more expensive.

      The final option I have not yet tried, but the Belkin Conserve Socket is a neat little device that plugs directly into the wall outlet. It costs $10 on Amazon, and it’s incredibly simple to use. It works on a timer that can be set for 30 minutes, 3 hours, or 6 hours. To turn on the power, you press a button on the socket and it automatically cuts the power after the length of time you’ve chosen.

      There are other options as well, such as outlets that can be programmed to turn off during a specific time of day (IE: between midnight and 6am), outlets with simple On/Off switches.

      My personal opinion is to stay away from the “smart” outlets. The reviews I’ve read on them are mixed in terms of how well they work, and the upfront cost just might not always be worth the money saved. Hope that helps! Lots of good options out there for you that are very cost-effective.

      • http://debtdebs.com debs

        Thanks, Zac

        I think we will look into the smart power bar and maybe one with a remote control for the bedroom.

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