A strong heat wave is covering the U.S., and for many of us that means much higher electricity costs. Even with air conditioners running more than usual, there are steps that homeowners can take to reduce the pain when the electric bill arrives.
The Smart Money website lists “13 Simple Ways to Lower Your Electric Bill,” and these suggestions apply whether the temperaturs are freezing cold or blazing hot. Here are some highlights:
- Keep it clean. Clean air filters monthly for central air and individual window or wall units. Dirt and dust hinder air flow, reducing efficiency.
- Program the thermostat. Give the air conditioner a break during the work day. Shifting the settings to allow higher daytime temperatures could cut the average household’s electric bill by $180 a year, according to Energy Star.
- Avoid chores. The hotter the space, the harder an air conditioner must work to keep things cool. Limit the use of heat-generating appliances such as the oven, dishwasher and clothes dryer during the daytime hours.
- Unplug. Gadgets like a cellphone charger or microwave suck energy — and generate heat — as long as they’re attached to a power source. The standby power accounts for 5% to 10% of residential use, according to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Plug those devices into a power strip that can be turned off when not in use.
- Consider time-of-use plans. A growing number of electric companies are offering time-of-use plans, which offer lower rates for energy consumption during off-peak hours (usually from mid-evening to early morning). Users often pay more for peak-hours use, so consider your daily schedule before signing up.
Read the whole article at http://www.smartmoney.com/spend/family-money/13-simple-ways-to-lower-your-electric-bill-22933/?mg=com-sm
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