Thursday, February 4, 2010

Electric Bill Makover...

Electric bills can vary from month to month but there are little things you can do year round to cut costs in this area.

First, learn to turn off lights when you are not using them. I have been known to joke about my husband being the light police, (see The best things in life are free), but when our electric bill plummeted from $109 to $54 in one month after him making us do this one little thing, I couldn't argue with the results.

Training the kids to do this can be a biggie. How about doing random "light checks" with a little reward for them if you find no extra lights turned on? Or how about offering a treat incentive if the electric bill goes down by a certain dollar amount by next month? While it may seem you are nagging for the first few weeks as you remind them CONSTANTLY about flipping off the lights, you will find that it will quickly become a habit.

Second, consider using compact florescent light bulbs which cost a little more, but last between 8 to 15 times as long as regular light bulbs. They also use between a fifth to a third of the power as a regular light bulb, so they can save big in the long run.

Third, unplug items you are not using. Many things now-a-days use electricity just to stay on standby mode. Look for the little tell-tale lights on things such as DVD players, TVs, computers, video game systems and printers. If there is any kind of light on, it is using power to keep itself in standby mode. In my kids rooms, I hook all those items up to a power strip with a main switch which they can switch off after they are done using it. That way they don't have to walk around pulling plugs on everything which can be inconvenient.

Fourth, if there are appliances in your kitchen that you don't use frequently, unplug them! Toasters, toaster ovens, blenders... it takes only a moment to plug it in and unplug it if you need it. Chances are you are not using items like this daily.

Finally, When it comes to major appliances that need replacing, consider energy efficient models. While they can cost a little more up front, the savings in the long run can be substantial. Not to mention that some power companies offer rebates on certain models. Check with your power company before making a purchase to see what they offer.

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