Finding simple ways to save money is always a good idea, but in uncertain times when more of us are stuck and home and every penny counts, it's a priority now more than ever. Fortunately, there are a few easy ways you can cut back on the electricity you use, even if you've switched to a work-from-home workday.
To help create as much certainty as possible in these turbulent times, we've put together our favorite tips and tricks to save wherever possible on your electric consumption. From ensuring lights and electronics are turned off before you leave a room, to simply turning down your water heater's temperature, these tricks will help you save a little more on your monthly electricity bills.
1. Conduct energy sweeps
To save money, get in the habit of doing a nightly energy sweep before you go to bed, or even before you leave a room. Make sure that all unnecessary lights, ceiling fans, and appliances are switched off when you're not in the room. And think outside the box, you’ll probably be surprised by what you find. For example, simply turning off your cable box between uses can have a noticeable impact over the course of a year, up to $50 by some estimates. Put simply, if you’re not using it at that moment, turn it off.
2. Explore time-of-use plans and implement pre-cooling
Utilities generally charge more money for power during high-demand hours, also known as “on-peak” hours. Fortunately, most utilities also offer rate plans that incentivizes customers to shift their highest energy demand into cheaper off-peak hours. In some cases, these times shift from season to season. By pre-cooling your home then coasting through the higher-priced hours with the AC on low, you can help maintain comfort throughout the day while keep your power bills under control.
3. Wash clothes in cold water
For maximum sanitation always opt for a hot water cycle, but consider switching to warm or cold water if situations allow. It’s estimated that as much as 90% of the energy your washer uses goes to heating the water. Multiply that by an average of 400 loads per year for the typical American household! According to treehugger.com, washing on the hot/warm cycle for a year is equivalent to burning about 182 gallons of gasoline in a car; in an average (19.8 miles per gallon) car, that’ll get you around 3,595 miles. When you use cold water to wash, you only need energy to run the machine – about .24 kWh. That .24 kWh translates to about .41 pounds of CO2 per load, or about 162 pounds of CO2 per year. That’s just 8 gallons of gas, or 164 miles of driving. That’s the equivalent reduction of 174 gallons of gas!
4. Go solar for savings and future preparedness
Most people think about going solar when the temperature and their bills start to rise. In truth, going solar before the summer heat hits will ensure a much better financial return in your first year of ownership. Most Arizona utilities support net metering, which credits solar customers for any excess electricity they feed back into the utility grid. These credits can be used during hotter months to further reduce your bills. Your best chance to “bank” these credits is when your AC system is turned off, so going solar in the cooler months will maximize the over-production timeframe.
Going solar will also help prepare you for whatever the future holds. Whether that's by saving even more money on your electric bills, adding a battery for back-up energy when the power goes out, or increasing your home's value when you go to sell, solar has many benefits that can help you prepare for the future.
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If you are interested in taking advantage of a great time of year to make the switch to solar and start building up your energy credits, then we invite you to request a free evaluation and estimate. You can also download our exclusive solar guide to help you understand some of the most important considerations when considering a solar investment.
*This blog has been updated since its original publication of 12/18/2017.