No one likes to open a physical bill or an email to see that this month’s electricity bill is astronomically high. Especially with many states experiencing the hottest days on record this past summer, people are working harder to keep their homes cool and comfortable, hoping they don’t break the bank on the resulting bills. Here are a few ways people are getting creative and improving their electricity bills over time.
Make your electricity with solar panels.
While it can be a significant investment if you buy your own, solar panels are a compelling way to get out from under the costs of mass-produced electricity. Whether you lease panels (usually lower price, but also you don’t own the panels outright) or buy them, they exchange your current variable electricity costs for the free energy from the sun, meaning that you begin “earning back” your investment as soon as your panels are activated. If you sell your home at some point, solar panels increase property value in many places.
There are still some drawbacks: the initial costs are steep, and many people have to buy them with loans, which makes the payback period longer. Others are in areas where a lack of total sun exposure or frequent cloudy days can take many years to recoup your costs.
However, in areas where the payback period is between 9 and 13 years (a standard amount for areas where solar is popular in states like New Jersey), you may have as many as 12 to 16 years of free electricity coming from those panels since the typical board is rated to work for 25 years. A long-term, not short-term, fix!
Examine your windows, seals, and insulation.
One of the best ways to cut your electricity bill quickly is to audit your home’s various openings. Windows seals around doors and insulation zones allow heated and cooled air to escape, making your HVAC work harder and running up your bill.
When you re-caulk windows, replace broken weatherstripping on doors, and redistribute or add insulation, your home becomes more tightly sealed, keeping cool longer on the same amount of electricity.
Program your thermostat or install a smart one.
One of the most frustrating parts of a high electricity bill is knowing that, at least sometimes, your home isn’t even occupied when you’re paying all this money to keep it cool. One of the best ways to reduce those times is to program your thermostat carefully or install a smart one with a motion sensor. We are eyeing the Ecobee thermostat for our next house.
These thermostats can help you commit to a particular level of coolness when no one is home, a more comfortable level when people are home, and a third level when people sleep. Through practice, you can notice when the house feels notably cool and consider adjusting the temperature just a bit, saving a little money without sacrificing comfort.
Little efforts like ensuring your home gets a little warmer while you’re on vacation, at work, or at school can add up to a much lower electricity bill.
At the end of the day, it’s all about making smart decisions and recognizing the possibilities of reducing your electricity bills.
Utilizing energy-efficient appliances and lights, regular maintenance checks and mindful consumption will help you to save money and prevent you from having to stress over high bills. Not only will you be able to save money in your pocket, but you’ll also help conserve the environment by cutting down on energy consumption.