Just when you thought you had this month’s budget under control, here comes the electric bill. You’re not sure if the rates increased or your attention to shutting off lights decreased, but you’re not thrilled with the super-high bill either way. Rather than going off the grid or vowing to use only candles at night, you can make some simple switches around your home that can cut down on the amount you’re forced to shell out for electricity every month.
Image by Flickr user remcovandermeer
Chill Out with Laundry
The way you do laundry may be piling up charges on your electric bill. If you have a hot water heater that’s fueled by electricity, switching to cold water loads only can help you cut back and save some cash. Regardless of how your water’s heated, you’ll save money in general if you only use your washing machine if you have a full load. To conserve even more energy and cash, go au naturel when it comes to drying the load by skipping the dryer and hanging the clothes in a well-ventilated area or outside.
Switch the Light Bulbs
Retiring the old-school incandescent bulbs in favor of energy-efficient light bulbs can improve your lighting as well as your electric bill. The more light bulbs you replace, the more you can save. Energy.gov estimates that replacing 15 of the incandescent babies with their energy-saving counterparts can cut down on your bill by about $50 per year.
Choices include the spiraled compact florescent light bulbs (CFLs), which use up to 35 percent less energy and last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs, and LED bulbs, which use up to 75 percent less energy and last 25 times longer. Switching any light bulb off when you’re not using it, of course, will also help cut down your bill even further.
Mind Your Modem (and Router)
Like your entertainment center, your modem and router are two of those sneaky little things that can be using up electricity even when they’re not officially in use. Shutting off your modem and router after every Internet session might not be all that feasible, but switching to an energy-saving modem-router combination can be. If you still have a cable Internet connection, you may be fueling both a modem and a router.
Switch to a DSL connection, with services from sites like http://www.dsl.com, and you can instantly cut your energy in half with a single small appliance that combines a modem and router into one. Connect even deeper with savings if you opt for a specialized DSL modem-router designed to be green.
Plug in the Surge Protector
Any electrical appliance you leave plugged in is constantly gobbling electricity, even if it’s not turned on. This counts for your TV, DVD player, stereo and anything else with a plug attached that happens to be sticking into your wall. Surge protectors can be savvy energy savers since you can shut down the electricity flowing to all devices connected to the protector with the simple flip of a single switch.
Surge protectors can be particularly helpful for shutting down electricity-eating entertainment centers and desks stocked with computers, printers, scanners, MP3 players and smartphone chargers.