Top 5 Ways to Lower Your Electric Bill

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To say that Americans are addicted to electricity is an understatement. According to a 2013 report by the World Bank, the average consumption of electric power per person in the United States was 13,395 killowatt hours in 2010. Compare that with the world average of 2,977 killowatt hours per person. This dependence on electricity doesn’t come cheap. The average American family spends more than $2,000 a year in electricity bills. The good news is that there are smart and easy ways to save money on utility bills.

5 Turn Off the Lights

Your mother was right — you should always turn off the lights when you leave a room, especially when you are leaving for a while. You could save $274 a year by simply turning off five 100-watt light bulbs—or their equivalent—that would otherwise be switched on during 10 hours a day. Just turning off one 100-watt light bulb that would otherwise be on constantly could save you $131 a year.

4 Fans and Dryers

Go retro and do things the way they were done in the good old days. For example, switch from air conditioning to fans. According to a 2011 report by “Forbes,” using ceiling fans instead of air conditioning can save you about $438 a year. According to the same report, allowing your clothes to dry the old-fashioned way—on a clothes line or rack—instead of using a dryer could save you 65 cents a day, which adds up to $237 a year.

3 Insulate Your Home

Unless your home was particularly designed to be energy-efficient, chances are adding more insulation can help you save big bucks on your utility bills. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the cost of adding insulation to your home is a smart investment, because it will pay for itself in lower utility bills. A typical family in the Northern United States could save 12 percent in utility costs by sealing air leaks and adding insulation.

2 Space Heaters

Instead of spending money on warming empty rooms, use space heaters in the rooms you are occupying. Space heaters are not practical for all householders but can provide big savings for those who make the switch. If you do decide to buy a space heater, the Department of Energy recommends that you buy only models with the latest safety features. As many as 25,000 home fires are linked to the use of space heaters each year.

1 Fine-Tune Your HVAC System

Heating and cooling accounts for as much as half of the energy you use in your home, so it makes sense to attack the biggest energy-user first. Maximize the efficiency of your heating, ventilating and air conditioning, also known as HVAC system, to save money on your utility bills. Change the air filter of your HVAC system regularly—at least every three months—and install a programmable thermostat, so your HVAC system works only when you need it to.

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