Adopting “green,” or environmentally friendly, habits can make you feel good about yourself. Saving money is nice too. The great thing about saving money on your power bill is you get to do both at the same time. You don’t have to invest thousands of dollars in solar panels, either. In fact, most of the things you can do to lower your power bill cost very little up front, and many cost nothing.
Swap out your old incandescent light bulbs for compact fluorescent lamps or CFLs). CFLs are the funny looking spiral bulbs you can buy almost anywhere light bulbs are sold. According to Energy Star, CFLs last up to 10 times as long as conventional bulbs, more than offsetting the higher initial cost. CFLs use 75 percent less energy and save an average of $40 over the lifetime of each light.
Replace worn-out appliances and electronics with energy efficient models. An easy way to determine if a device is efficient is to look for the Energy Star logo. Products bearing the logo are certified to meet energy efficiency standards set by the United States government. Again, while you may be out some cash up front, you'll save money in the long run -- and improve the look of your kitchen and laundry room to boot.
Improve your home’s energy efficiency with do-it-yourself projects. It’s not hard to replace old weather stripping around doors and windows. Wrap your hot water heater in a layer of insulation. Another example of inexpensive steps you can take to save money on power bills is to replace a worn out gasket on the refrigerator door. If you are handy with tools and more ambitious, try replacing old windows with double-paned energy saving window panes or adding insulation to the attic.
Reset thermostats. Power Scorecard suggests you set your central air system to 68 degrees in winter and 78 degrees in summer. Turn down your water heater as well. Many people spend money keeping water at 140 degrees when 120 degrees is usually sufficient.
Avoid waste by turning appliances and electronics off when not in use. Run only full loads in dishwashers and clothes washers. Use cold or warm water whenever possible.
- You can save money on power bills even if you rent. Your landlord probably won’t let you tear out and replace old windows or make other major alterations. But you can switch to CFLs, adjust thermostats and work with your landlord to make sure weather stripping and other items are in good condition.
Based in Atlanta, Georgia, W D Adkins has been writing professionally since 2008. He writes about business, personal finance and careers. Adkins holds master's degrees in history and sociology from Georgia State University. He became a member of the Society of Professional Journalists in 2009.