Saving electricity: How to reduce your energy costs

How much electricity does your computer use? Your refrigerator? Your washer and dryer? Do you know how to save money on water heating costs? Michael Bluejay‘s guide to saving electricity answers these questions and more. Bluejay calls himself “Mr. Electricity” — the title is apt!

My guide on Saving Electricity gives you a bit more than you might get elsewhere. I explain exactly what a kilowatt hour is and how much you pay for one. And I show you how to calculate exactly how much electricity your household appliances use, so you know which items are guzzling the most juice (and which ones are the best targets for savings). You'll learn exactly how to read your electric meter. (Find that on any other website!) Finally, I not only give you meaningful tips for slashing your electricity consumption, I give you the tools to figure out exactly how much you're saving as well.

Bluejay recommends you attack the biggest energy users first: “You'll save more electricity by dealing with the biggest electricity-guzzlers rather than worrying about items that don't use much electricity.” Because appliances that heat and cool use the most energy, these provide the greatest opportunities for saving. For example:

  • If you use space heaters instead of central heating, you can save nearly $1200/year!
  • If you use fans instead of air conditioning, you can save about $600/year.
  • If you dry your clothes on a line instead of in a dryer, you can save $150/year.
  • If you wash your laundry in cold water instead of hot, you can save $150/year.
  • If you replace regular light bulbs with compact fluorescents, you can save nearly $100/year.
  • If you get rid of your television, you can save $75/year.
  • If you put your computer in sleep mode when you're not using it, you can save $60/year.

For more on these numbers, including the assumptions behind them, check out the first page of the Saving Electricity site. This chart from the Department of Energy demonstrates average U.S. home electricity use in 1997:

Saving Electricity includes a wide range of infromation, including a look at how electricity companies charge you, a discussion of electricity myths (“There's no power surge when you turn on a light. Turning the light off ALWAYS saves electricity, even if it's for just a second.”), and more!

If you're interested in cutting your electrical usage, Bluejay recommends the Kill-a-Watt electricity meter. This device measures how much energy an individual item is using, helping you to target the money sinks in your home. I plan to purchase one of these and review it in the next few months.

More about...Home & Garden

Become A Money Boss And Join 15,000 Others

Subscribe to the GRS Insider (FREE) and we’ll give you a copy of the Money Boss Manifesto (also FREE)

Yes! Sign up and get your free gift
Become A Money Boss And Join 15,000 Others
guest
10 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
alan bluehole
alan bluehole
13 years ago

When I took a class at Mr. Sun Solar, Mr. S. demo-ed one of those kilowatt meters and it was shocking — things like coffee urns use tremendous amounts of electricity. It illustrated what’s known as phantom load (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phantom_load ). PL from VCR clocks,stereos, etc. eat your money too.

Rosemary
Rosemary
12 years ago

This is a really good posts on reducing electricity costs. With the way energy costs are rising, it’s more important than ever.

Rosemary
http://her-home-blog.com/2008/04/3-easy-ways-to-make-your-home-green-this-weekend/

Caitlin
Caitlin
11 years ago

Some are great tips, but like everything else, some are not for everyone. A mere $150/year for clothes that are soft from a dryer instead of crunchy clothes from a line that are full of pollen and other allergens to make wearing them unbearable? I’ll keep my dryer thank you!

Unknown
Unknown
2 months ago
Reply to  Caitlin

Of course, everyone’s opinions and priorites are different, that is understandable. However, from a scientific standpoint, those softening detergents are actually horrible for the enviroment. Phosphates, a common ingredient in detergents, will build up in water runoff, lead to huge algea blooms, sucking up oxegen from fish and other marine life, eventually creating deadzones. Over time, the tumbling in the washing/drying machine can wear down clothes and their thread, making them rougher and less pretty (in my opinion).

Steve
Steve
11 years ago

Most of those things, with the possible exception of using space heaters (and definite exception of light bulbs), are not worth the money to me. I’d gladly spend $.50 a day to use my dryer!

Barnabee
Barnabee
9 years ago

Great detailed information about how to save on energy cost. I would like to ad to this after you have the most possible energy efficient home, then in many States you have the choice to shop for competitive rates for you Electricity and or Natural Gas. Many States already part of the new and not so new Utility Deregulation’s. Naturally your utility supplier will not contact you about the changes. Also by using instant water heater you save on your water bill. In the following States you have the choice to switch for better rates on Residential Natural Gas: Michigan,… Read more »

Dr Vinny
Dr Vinny
8 years ago

Great tips for lower utility costs… to piggy back off barnabee, It is important to know your rights as a consumer and along with the deregulated states.. you get some real savings and even great benefits (like credit card rewards points) BUT its not all roses.. some Energy Service Companies (ESCO’s) can charge contract fees, unfavorable terms, no perks and little to no savings. 🙂

Gerald Felton
Gerald Felton
7 years ago

Those are really helpful tips in saving electricity. I have applied all those tips and also use an energy saving strip which helped lower my electric bill by shutting off devices automatically when not in use.

GastonGary
GastonGary
6 years ago

Fantastic article.Tips are very valuble, I hope they will work.

Ankur Singh
Ankur Singh
3 years ago

Electricity saved is electricity generated ! It will be a great service to the mother earth and help combat climate change.

Ankur singh

shares