You can do a lot to lower your bill by making some simple changes around your house.  The things on this list can be done in a single day and you will reap the benefits immediately.  And these are all free.  Free is good.  So what are you waiting for?  Not only are these tips free but they won't change your family's lifestyle.  If you do these things right you'll get a lower electric bill and no one will even notice the changes.

Appliances

Use microwaves and toaster ovens to warm leftovers.  You will use less electricity than cooking with a conventional oven.

Set your dishwashers on economy mode to use less water and electricity.

Turn off your dishwasher after the wash cycle and let your dishes air-dry.  You'll save energy and keep your dishwasher from heating up your kitchen.

Keep the oven door closed while cooking.  The temperature can drop by as many as 25 degrees each time you open the oven door.

Keep stove reflector pans clean to reflect more heat upward while cooking.

Set your refrigerator temperature between 34 and 42 degrees.  Use the power-save switch if you have one.

Set your freezer temperature between 30 and 32 degrees.  Everything is already frozen at 32 degrees.  How much more frozen do you need it to be? 

Dust your fridge the next time you dust your house. Check the coils behind the refrigerator and use coil vacuums or dusters to clean it off and keep costs down.

Turn off the oven or burners when your food is almost ready and let existing heat finish the cooking for you.

Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans use no more electricity than a standard light bulb and they are reversible.  All you have to do is flip the little black switch on the side of the motor.  Set your ceiling fans to turn in a counter-clockwise direction In the summer.  In winter run it at low speed but flip the switch to make it run clockwise.  This will circulate the cool air in summer and force the warm air down in winter.  The ceiling fan's breeze can make you feel three to four degrees cooler in summer, allowing you to raise the thermostat setting and still be comfortable.  The ceiling fan can do the same thing with warm air in winter, reducing the need for heating.

Electronics

Modern electronics use small amounts of power even when turned off but if you use a power strip you can positively turn things off when not in use.

Unplug battery chargers when the chargers are not being used. Most chargers draw power continuously, even when the device is not plugged into the charger.

Turn your computer off when not in use.  If you must leave it on set it to hibernate when it is not in use.

Heating and Cooling

Change the temperature on your thermostat to 78 degrees in summer and 68 degrees in winter.  If you have a programmable thermostat set it to 80 degrees in summer and 62 degrees in winter at night and when you are away.  This really cuts down on the system's load when you are away or asleep and you won't notice a thing other than the lower bill.

Close your exterior doors and windows when the air conditioner is on and only run kitchen and bath exhaust fans when you need them.

Open interior doors so that air flows freely through your home.  If you have any unused rooms you can close their air vents so you are not paying to heat or cool them.  Also be sure not to block air vents with drapes or furniture.

In summer use shades, blinds, or drapes. to block direct sunlight.  Do the opposite in winter to take advantage of free solar heat.

Close the flue in your fireplace to keep in the warm air.  If you don't you are just providing a way for your expensive heated air to easily exit your house.

Laundry

Always wash with cold water.  Your detergent will work fine and you will save about forty cents per load.

Unless you have been out rolling in the mud it is safe to run the shortest laundry cycle you can.  Use the Gentle setting unless the clothes are really dirty.

Electric motors and heating elements are the largest users of electricity and your dryer uses both.  Remove your laundry immediately when the dryer finishes it's cycle and dings the first time.  If  you don't you are just paying to dry clothes that are already dry.

Clean the dryer lint filter before every load to keep your dryer running efficiently.

Lighting

Turn off the lights when you leave a room.

Water Heater

Your electric water heater is responsible for 17-21% of your electric bill.  It heats water 24/7 to ensure a plentiful supply whenever you need it.  This convenience is great but most water heater temperature settings are too high, which means you are paying for hot water you'll never use.  Most people have to mix cold water with their hot water just to lower the temperature enough to make the hot water usable.  Why are you paying to heat your water hotter than you need it?

Most water heaters are set at 140 degrees at the factory.  Set your water heater temperature to the lowest temperature you can stand.  120 degrees is a good place to start but you can and then set it lower in increments until you find the temperature that works for you. 

Take shorter showers.  Your morning schedule and electric bill will thank you.

If you are going out of town for a few days you have no need for hot water at your house.  Turn the hot water heater off at the main breaker when you leave and turn it back on when you get back.  That way you won't pay to heat water you will never use.

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