Whether you want to lower your electric bill to save money or save the earth from climate change, you need to do the same things. Whatever your reason for wanting to reduce your electric bill, you need to take the same simple steps.
First, conserve as much energy as possible before you look at alternative sources of energy.
Heating and Cooling
One of the biggest culprits of high electricity consumption is the heating and cooling of homes. By installing a programmable thermostat that is set at a comfortable temperature and by improving insulation of homes, it is possible to dramatically reduce your electric bill.
Better insulation in homes means checking the attic, the doors, windows, roof, and floor for air leaks. Also check around vents for drafts. If possible install double paned windows to help insulate your home better. An added advantage of insulating your home for heat is that it keeps out noise pollution as well.
Heating water uses an enormous amount of energy. So keep the water heater thermostat at 120 degree Fahrenheit. Also wash your clothes in cold water. Your clothes will be just as clean and you will save on your electricity bill.
When on the topic of washing clothes, try not to use the clothes dryer. Use a clothesline or drying rack to dry your clothes and you will pay less on your electricity bill. Your dishes too can be air dried. Also, operate the dishwasher and washing machine only with full loads. This way you will save both electricity and water, thereby doing the world a lot of good.
After lowing your heating and cooling bills, try to reduce the energy consumption of the other appliances. Upgrade your appliances to those with an Energy Star rating. This will ensure that they consume the minimum amount of electricity. First replace those appliances that you use on a regular basis, before replacing occasional-use appliances.
Next, tackle your lighting system. Switch over to energy saving CFLs (compact fluorescent lights) from incandescent bulbs. Though CFLs are costlier than incandescent bulbs, they last longer â€“ up to 10 times longer. Apart from this they consume only a quarter of the energy that an incandescent bulb does to produce light of the same lumen. Because of these double savings, CFLs are cheaper in the long run.
Another way of saving on your electric bill is to upgrade your refrigerator. Get a model with the freezer on top. This is more energy efficient. Also, remember to set the thermostat of the fresh foods section at 40 degree Fahrenheit and the freezer section at 5 degree Fahrenheit. This is enough to keep your food fresh, while at the same time saving your energy.
Residential Solar Power Systems
Once you have adopted all these energy conservation methods, go in for a solar power system. Such a system converts solar light energy into electricity. As solar energy is free, you have no fuel costs. The solar panels last for up to 30 years, so that is a one-time investment. There is no pollution from such a system, and it can safely be installed in homes. It is relatively maintenance free as well â€“ all it needs is an occasional wash to remove dust. Most solar power systems pay for themselves in a period of seven years. So, this is a great way to save on your electric bill.
As is clear from the above discussion, it is first necessary to conserve as much electricity as possible before you go in for a solar power system. This is because solar power systems are still costly â€“ that is, the initial installation costs are high. It makes much more sense to upgrade the insulation of your home first, than to install a solar power system for all the extra energy an uninsulated home will consume.