In the days of paperless billing and auto-pay, many of us aren’t paying as much attention to our utility bills as we used to. And whether you have realized it or not, you have committed to paying an electricity bill for the rest of your life, so it’s important to know where your money is going and what you are paying for.

Here are some tips and tricks to save energy and money this summer.

1. You have “vampire” sources of energy draining power.

We are not talking about the Dracula type of vampires, we are referring to the type of appliances that stay plugged in and continue to draw power from electrical outlets, even when turned off or idle.

Considering how many appliances are used in an average household, costs associated with ‘energy vampires’ can quickly add up to $100-200 a year. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, an appliance constantly taking in 1 watt of electrical current is equivalent to 9kWh per year, adding up to $1 in annual costs (basically $1/watt/annual).

So how can you stop these vampire sources of energy from driving up my energy bill? Unplug them!

2. Your utility company charges peak-time energy usage.

The demand for electricity has a tendency to increase during the warmer months of the year due to air conditioning usage, as well as during the day, especially around the hours of 9am and 5pm when people are starting or ending their days.

Time-of-use-rates were put in place to incentivize customers to consume energy during times when the demand is lower (i.e. evening), and to disincentive energy consumption when the demand is high. If you have peak-time energy rates and are trying to cut down your electricity bill, try saving some of your more energy intensive chores for the hours when the electricity demand is not as high.

3. Electricity rates are increasing

According to the Energy Information Administration, residential electricity rates have increased nationally by around 15% in the last 10 years.

While you cannot stop your utility company from raising rates, you can cut down on your electricity usage or go solar which locks in your electric rates! When you switch to solar power, you lock in a fixed electric rate and reduce the cost of the electricity you would otherwise buy from your utility company. With locked in rates you are able to calculate fixed costs for the next 25+ years.

4. Your home is not very energy efficient.

Energy efficiency is a term used to describe things that use only as much energy as is needed without wasting any, or using less energy to get the same job done. In the process, this can significantly reduce your energy bills and reduce pollution. Here are some actions you can take to make your home more energy efficient.

a.) Stop buying incandescent light bulbs.

LED bulbs last 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs and use at least 75% less energy. They are a bit more expensive upfront, but in the long run they’ll help you save money.

Old incandescent lightbulbs and compact florescent bulbs emit light and heat in all directions, which wastes a lot of energy. Look for energy-star certified LED bulbs. These are sure to lower your electricity bill and your carbon footprint.

b.) Your home is not well insulated.

You wouldn’t leave your fridge door cracked, would you? No, because you don’t want the cold air to escape. Well one of the biggest culprits behind high electricity bills is insufficient insulation from doors, windows, and attics, accounting for about 50% of air leaks in homes.

The North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA) estimates that roughly 90% of existing U.S. homes are under-insulated. Considering that heating and cooling your home accounts for almost half of your monthly utility bill, it makes sense that insufficient insulation can drastically increase your bill.

c.) The appliances in your home are outdated.

In the 1980s, the average refrigerator consumed around 2,000 kwh a year. Now, refrigerators consume an average of 438 kwh annually. Although new appliances come with an upfront cost, the savings are sure to make it a worthwhile investment.

Check out the Energy Star Flip your Fridge Calculator to find out how much your old refrigerator or freezer costs to operate and how much you can save by upgrading it.

Whether you already have solar power helping to keep your electric bills low, or you’re just looking for tips, we hope this guidance helps you stretch your dollar further. If you aren’t taking advantage of the sun yet, give us a call to find out how much you can save on your electric bill by going solar.