The 6 Easiest Ways to Save Big on Your Utility Bill

The increasing cost of utilities is a constant concern for the budget conscious. As populations grow energy providers are working hard to discover more cost effective resources to keep up with the demand. In the meantime there’s plenty that we all can do to lower the cost of our monthly utility bills. 

Switch to a Time of Use Electric Plan
The experts at explains that residential customers can save a ton of money on their monthly utility bill simply by switching plans. Today many providers offer plans with rates that vary depending on the time of day. It may take a little more management, but mindful electric customers that change up their daily routine to avoid electricity use during peak hours can reduce their cost without really reducing energy use. 

While you’re looking for a new plan you may also find that you’ve been paying more than needed for electric service. In many regions across North America providers set their own rate per kilowatt-hour. If you don’t shop around you may not get the best rate. 

Unplug Electronics and Devices When They Aren’t Being Used
Most people have heard of vampire energy (aka standby power), but many don’t know that how costly it can be. Chances are you only use your coffee machine in the morning, but it stays plugged in all day. Even though it’s turned off power is still being drawn from the outlet. In fact, your unused appliances and electronics can account for 10% or more of your monthly electric bill. The U.S. Department of Energy has also estimated that 75% of the energy used by appliances happens when they’re turned off. 

The Lawrence Berkley National Institute has created a great breakdown of how much electricity common home appliances and electronics use when they are in standby power mode. This can help you focus on identifying the biggest energy vampires around your house so you can start unplugging them. 

Invest in Smart Power Strips
Don’t want to plug and unplug appliances and electronics every day? That’s totally understandable. There are plenty of products that can help you cut vampire power without having to manage each device or appliance individually. New smart power strips allow you to do much more than plug in multiple devices. A few worth trying include:
• Wattstopper – Instead of turning the power on and off to the strip this product controls itself. Using passive infrared technology the Wattstopper detects the presence of a person in the room. When someone is there power to the strip is turned on, and when a room is vacant power is cut off. 
• Mini Power Minder – This pint sized power strip can be turned on and off with your smart phone.
• UFO Power Center – Not only can you remotely control each device plugged into this four-slot power strip, you can also assign roles so that they automatically shut off and see how much energy is being used in real time. 

The top three places to set up a smart power strip system are the entertainment center, home office and kitchen. 

Make the Upgrade to CFLs as Needed
Whenever a light bulb goes out it’s an opportunity to improve your energy efficiency. The U.S. Energy Information Administration has estimated that lighting makes up 14% of home electricity bills on average. You can slash that number by using compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) instead of regular incandescent lights. Not only will they use up to 80% less energy, they also last up to 25 times longer. 

Get Your HVAC Professionally Serviced
Having a professional tune up your HVAC system just once a year can reduce energy use by as much as 15%. It will cost you a little money upfront, but overall the energy savings are well worth it. If you own your home you’ll also benefit from professional service because it can improve the longevity of the system.

Adjust Heating and Cooling Settings
Another way to save tons of energy on heating and cooling is by setting the temperatures for optimum efficiency. 
• During the summer keep the temperature at 78° F. If you don’t have any pets you can bump it up to 80-82° F when you aren’t at home.
• During the winter keep the temperature at 68° F when you’re home and bump it way down to 55° F when you’re away or asleep. 
• Set electric water heaters to 120-130° F.

Using a programmable thermostat is highly recommended so you can set these suggested temperatures once and keep saving day after day without even thinking about it.

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