The average household’s energy consumption continues to rise each year in the United States. As of 2018, the average U.S. household used 10,972 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Tennessee and Hawaii tend to be the states with the highest and lowest energy usages each year, respectively.
According to the EIA, $117.65 was the average energy bill in 2018 for American households. While some families saw bills in the low $80s, others got as high as $150+ per month. Considering the average senior’s monthly Social Security check is around $1,400, every dollar counts. If you’re tired of opening your mailbox to find a large bill, here are five ways to reduce your consumption, and therefore, lowering your energy bill. Most of these tips will require little to no manual labor.
1. Install a smart thermostat
Welcome to the 21st century, where cars can drive themselves, and thermostats know when you are home. That’s right! Thermostats nowadays can learn your routine and will adjust the temperature accordingly. You can set you away temperature, so your thermostat automatically adjusts to the set temperature during the hours you assign. It will them readjust to your set temperature during the hours you are home.
There are even thermostats that can sense your presence. It might sound spooky, but it’s actually pretty convenient. You will still set your home and away temperatures, but instead of setting hours, it will sense you are home via a motion detector. When you walk by it, it will automatically adjust the temperature.
By having your thermostat remember when to turn off your air conditioning or heat for you, you’ll never have to worry about using up your energy while you’re away. While there are a ton of smart thermostats on the market today, Google, Honeywell, and Ecobee are a few top brands in the industry. Compare each smart thermostat and find the one that houses the features that are most important to you.
2. Switch to energy-efficient appliances
With all the knowledge we have gained over the years on energy efficiency, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a household appliance brand that doesn’t make some form of energy-efficient machine. From GE and Whirlpool to LE and Samsung, top-name brands offer energy-efficient options.
Many people don’t know this, but you can also switch out your energy-sucking lightbulbs with fluorescent or LED bulbs to cut down on energy consumption. This simple change could lower your bill by even $10 a month. When searching for energy-efficient household appliances and fixtures, look for the products with the Energy Star label on them.
3. Use natural light and air
Possibly one of the easiest ways to reduce energy bills is to open your windows and turn off your air conditioning and lights. Although this tip is a sure way to reduce your bill, it’s not something you can do every day all day. However, you should take advantage of pretty days every chance you get. Opening the windows allows you to have a natural breeze throughout your house and natural sunlight to fill your rooms.
4. Utilize non-peak hours
Peak days and hours for energy usage are on the weekends and during the daytime. This is when most households use the bulk of their energy. Instead of doing your household chores, such as cleaning dishes and doing laundry, during the day, hold off until the late evening, if possible. Your cost per kilowatt-hours may go down by doing this.
5. Switch to solar lighting outside
Most homes have some form of outside lighting, whether it’s porch lighting, lights to line your walkway or lights outside of your garage. It’s easy to forget to turn those off at night, and maybe you’re a person who likes to keep them on throughout the night. Either way, you should switch to solar lighting so the lights can be fueled during the day and automatically turn on at night.
Other small ways to reduce energy bills
There are so many things you can do around your house to help lower your monthly energy bill. For example, you could install dimmer lightbulbs or switches, don’t use the heat dry feature on your dishwasher, replace your filters more often, lower your water heater temperature, and so much more. You should also consider having an energy audit done once a year so you can see where you can save on energy.