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#tipsEnergy: Ways to Save on Electricity Costs

July 22, 2013 - 4:18pm

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#tipsEnergy: Ways to Save on Electricity Costs

Every month we ask you to share your energy-saving tips, and we feature some of the best ideas in a Storify to encourage others to save energy and money at home. For this month's #tipsEnergy, we want to know how you save on electricity costs.

Storified by Energy Department ·
Fri, Jul 26 2013 17:27:57

From powering our homes’ lights and kitchen
appliances to running our TVs and computers -- electricity is an essential part
of our modern life. It should be no surprise that the average residential
electricity bill is more than $110 a month, according to the Energy
Information Agency
. This month, we want to know how you save money on
electricity costs.    

As temperatures rise, many families turn to air conditioners
to keep cool. Did you know: Air conditioners
use about 5 percent of all the electricity produced in the United States --
costing homeowners more than $11 billion a year. Regular maintenance -- like
cleaning or changing air filters -- will ensure that your air conditioner is
running efficiently and help cut electricity costs as one Twitter user points
out. Check out our tips
for maintaining your air conditioner

Be sure you aren't using electricity when you aren't there
to benefit from it. Consider installing a programmable
thermostat
and set it back when you’re away at work or on
vacation. You can save as much as 10 percent a year on heating and cooling
by simply turning your thermostat back 7-10 degrees for eight hours a day from
its normal setting.

You can also keep electricity costs down in the summer by
using a ceiling fan to supplement your air conditioner. A ceiling fan will
allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4 degrees without impacting
your comfort.

But don’t forget to turn the fan off when you leave the
room. Fans cool people -- not rooms -- by creating a wind chill effect.

If you live in a climate where it cools off at night, like
one Twitter user does, natural
ventilation
will help you keep your home cool without raising your electricity
bills. Consider turning off your cooling system and opening your
windows while sleeping to take advantage of cooler air, but be sure to shut the
windows and blinds in the morning.

Air sealing
is one of the most cost-effective and quickest ways to cut energy
costs. Reducing the amount of air that leaks in and out of your home will help lower your heating and cooling load -- directly translating into smaller
energy bills. Check out suggestions from a couple Twitters that focus on improving
your home's envelope to save on electricity costs.

Don't heat your house with appliances and
electronics. By using the microwave, toaster or a counter-top grill rather
than an oven, you’ll use less energy and avoid excess heat that increases room
temperature.

As one Twitter suggests, installing a timer that turns
off your electric water heater at night or when you don't use it can help you
lower your electricity bills. Check out the other tips for saving on
water heating costs
.

An average household spends about 10 percent of its energy
budget on lighting. One quick way to reduce those costs is to switch to
energy-efficient light bulbs. By replacing 15 inefficient incandescent
bulbs in your home with energy-saving bulbs, you could save about $50 a year.
Learn more energy-saving
lighting tips
.

Whether you call them energy vampires, phantom loads or standby
power
, appliances and electronics still use electricity when plugged in
even if they are turned off. Many Twitter users' tips focused on unplugging
appliances and electronics to save electricity. 

If you're looking to replace your old appliances, consider
purchasing ones with an ENERGY STAR label. These products incorporate advanced
technologies that use 5-35 percent less energy and water than standard models,
and when used throughout your home, they could save nearly $750 over the
lifetime of the products.

A number of Twitter users pointed to renewable energy as a
way to save on electricity costs. After successfully addressing the low-hanging
fruit recommended in a home energy audit --
check with your local utility to see if they offer free or discounted energy
efficiency programs -- it may be time to consider incorporating clean
energy into your home energy-saving strategy. Check out this guide
to figure out if solar, wind or another type of small renewable energy
system is right for you.

Many Twitter users got in the energy-saving spirit by creating
their own blog posts about different ways to save on electricity costs and the
tips they found most helpful. 

For more ways to save on electricity costs, check out Energy Saver.

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