10 Energy Saving Tips to Save Money on Your Electric Bill

By Stephanie Snay, Angie's List

Change your air filters monthly to save on energy costs. (Photo by Eldon Lindsay)

Do you suffer from sticker shock when you see your monthly electric bill? No matter what your financial situation looks like, paying bills is about as much fun as a root canal. If saving money sparks your interest, read on for simple ways to lower your electric bill.

1. Close the curtains
During the summer, close curtains on the sunny side of your house during the day. Alternately, leave them open during a sunny day in winter.

2. Don't forget annual heating and A/C maintenance
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heating and cooling your home uses more energy than any other system, typically making up 54 percent of your electric bill. Ensure your systems are running at their highest efficiency by hiring highly rated heating and A/C technicians to perform annual cleanings and checkups. Also, be sure to change out your air filters.

3. Consider unplugging
You might think your appliance aren't using energy since they're turned off, but this isn't always the case. To avoid using what's called vampire power, unplus devices when not in use. If the outlets aren't easily accessible, plug devices into a power strip that you can switch off and on when needed.

4. Upgrade outdated appliances
If your systems are old, consider updating to more energy efficient products. The energy savings and tax rebates available prove the investment's worth.

5. Change your light bulbs
Switching to compact fluorescent or light-emitting diode bulbs provides drastic energy savings. In fact, LED bulbs are 80 percent more efficient than incandescent lighting, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

6. Program your thermostat
Set your thermostat at a comfortable temperature in the winter and summer, but program it to raise and lower the temperature when you're away from your home or sleeping to save on heating and cooling costs.

7. Keep your HVAC unit clear of debris
Shrubbery, branches or debris on or near the system can hinder its overall performance. However, an awning or tree over the unit provides shade, which cuts energy consumption.

8. Plant a tree
Not only are you helping save the planet, but the shade can provide relief on cooling costs.

9. Check for air leaks
Make sure no air is getting through the weatherstripping around the windows, doors or attic. Seal any areas where you find leaks.

10. Turn down the heat
Lower your water heating base temperature to 120 degrees. Wash your clothes in cold or warm water when possible, and only wash when you have a full load. Turn off the heat dry on your dishwasher.

Consult a highly rated, licensed electrician if you have questions about reducing your electric bill. You may also want to consider an energy efficiency home audit to see if additional home maintenance might be needed to save on future energy bills.

Click here to see the original article on Angie's List.

Put the money from your energy savings back into your home. Check out these 5 Home Improvement Projects to Tackle This Fall and Winter.

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