ENERGY TIPS

61 Tips Guaranteed to Lower Your Power Bill

If you’re looking for ways to save money, reducing your average household electric bill is the perfect place to start. Most households have ample potential for energy savings, from 5-minute DIY projects and energy-efficient upgrades to energy-saving habits that are easy to adopt.

Here are the easiest, most effective steps you can take to reduce your electricity bill.

What's a normal electric bill?

Your energy bills are determined by how much energy you use and the cost of electricity where you live. If you live in EPB’s customer territory, your electric rates are about 70% lower than the rest of the United States.

Homes that are around 2,000 square feet can use anywhere from 700 to more than 2,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) worth of energy, depending on energy efficiency, the time of year and whether you’re paying for a one person electricity bill or for your entire family’s energy usage. With this in mind, a “normal” energy bill for an average-sized home would fall somewhere between $67-$200 or more during the coldest and hottest months.

lower your power bill

Why is my electric bill so high?

If you have an average-sized home (around 2,000 square-feet in Chattanooga, Tennessee) and your energy bill is costing you more than $300 a month, it likely means there are opportunities for you to improve your home’s energy efficiency.

The key to lowering your average household electric bill is realizing that nearly every modern convenience is powered by the electricity that you purchase each month — so the more you can eliminate unnecessary energy usage using the tips below, the more you’ll save.

Understanding your power bill

Several factors go into determining your energy bill, including the following:

Your household’s total kWh usage — 1 kWh is equal to the energy it takes to power a 100-watt bulb for 10 hours.

The Fuel Cost — Your fuel cost is determined by the utility that generates your electricity. For EPB customers, energy is generated by TVA and distributed by EPB.

Outdoor temperatures — If you’re wondering, “is heating and cooling included in electric bill” the answer is, “yes.” Your HVAC system is your highest source of energy usage, which means cooling your home during heatwaves, and warming your home during freezing temperatures requires more energy.

Efficient operations — The cost of the labor and equipment used to deliver energy to your home. At EPB, we work hard to keep rates below the national average.

If you need additional help understanding your EPB Energy bill, our EPB Energy ProsSM can help.

As you can see, the part of your bill that is within your control is your household energy usage. There are plenty of ways you can reduce your energy bill without sacrificing convenience or comfort, especially when it comes to improving efficiency and automating energy-saving habits with the steps below.

Is it possible to save on your power bill?

Absolutely! The key is to adopt the mindset that nearly everything you do is powered by electricity that you purchase each month. Many of our daily activities that use the most electricity can start to feel automatic, like heating and cooling our homes, but the truth is, all energy usage “counts” toward your bill.

By making an effort to track your energy usage, you can identify opportunities in your home where you can help your appliances and devices perform the same tasks with less power. The more you can eliminate unnecessary energy usage with these 61 ways to reduce electricity bill, the more you’ll save!

61 tips to lower your bill

61 Tips to Lower Your Power Bill

1. Start with a Home Energy Audit

https://www.pexels.com/photo/man-in-yellow-safety-reflective-vest-with-hard-hat-doing-house-inspection-8293678/

See if your local energy utility provides home energy audits to help you save. If nothing else, you may be able to hire a local energy expert to assess your home.

A home energy audit will help you create a prioritized list of the ways to reduce your electricity bill quickly so you can start saving energy and money.

Here in Chattanooga, EPB Energy Pros provide FREE EPB Home Energy CheckupsSM. During your scheduled checkup, an EPB Energy Pro will visit your home, score your household energy efficiency and provide a detailed report of ways you could save.

2. Check seals on windows, doors, and appliances

Since your HVAC system likely uses more energy than any other appliance, sealing air leaks is one of the best ways to reduce your energy bill. That means preventing warm air from escaping when your heater is on, or preventing it from getting in when you’re running your air conditioner.

Helpful resources for sealing air leaks:

Learn how to add weatherstripping — EPB Energy Pros video

How to fill in gaps with caulk — EPB Energy Pros video

3. Ducts and Vents Maintenance

Leaky ducts can cause heat loss and lead to more power consumption. During your free EPB Home Energy Checkup, your EPB Energy Pro can help you determine whether your air ducts are leaking. If you get your energy from another utility, you may want to call and ask for help or get recommendations on contractors who can assess your ducts for you.

Helpful resources for sealing ductwork:

4. Get Annual HVAC Maintenance

Controlling the weather isn’t exactly easy. Your HVAC unit uses lots of energy to keep you comfortable, so scheduling annual or quarterly HVAC maintenance can save you thousands of dollars in energy costs and is an easy way to reduce your electricity bill.

Helpful resources on HVAC maintenance:

5. Clean HVAC Filters

https://images.pexels.com/photos/7541975/pexels-photo-7541975.jpeg?auto=compress&cs=tinysrgb&w=1260&h=750&dpr=1

One of the easiest ways you can save energy is by changing your air filters every 90 days. If you have pets in your home, especially ones that shed a lot, we recommend changing it once a month. This simple, 5-minute step can save you up to 15% of your yearly energy costs!

Helpful resources on changing out air filters:

Save up to 15% on energy costs with air filters — EPB Energy Pros video

lower your bill

6. Use a Programmable Thermostat

If you’re looking for a device to lower your electric bill effortlessly, consider investing in a programmable or smart thermostat. Standard programmable thermostats let you set your HVAC system to do less “work” during times when no one is home.

Smart thermostats do the same thing, but better. Sure, they cost a little more, but they can save you an average of $150 per year, which doesn’t take long to pay for itself. Many Smart Thermostats use AI to get to know your temperature preferences and factor in outdoor temperatures. Plus, you can control your thermostat settings remotely from your phone.

Helpful resources on smart thermostats:

Energy-saving benefits of Smart Thermostats — EPB Energy Pros video

7. Check your thermostat location

https://images.pexels.com/photos/7616651/pexels-photo-7616651.jpeg?auto=compress&cs=tinysrgb&w=1260&h=750&dpr=1

If your thermostat is on a wall directly exposed to sunlight, it may be unable to determine your home’s temperature accurately. This can lead to increased energy costs and decreased comfort. According to energy.gov, your thermostat should be located on an interior wall away from direct sunlight, drafts, doorways, skylights and windows to operate properly.

Helpful resources on thermostat location:

Thermostat article from energy.gov — scroll to the bottom for location information

8. Use Weatherstripping

An easy, affordable way to reduce energy costs is by adding weatherstripping to your windows and doors. This project only takes a few minutes and helps prevent costly air leaks.

Helpful resources for weatherstripping:

9. Extra-insulate your home

Make sure your home has plenty of insulation to prevent hot or cold temperature loss and air leaks. Air leaks are a common reason why people end up with higher electricity bills. It’s important to choose the correct type of insulation for both the area of the home (flooring, walls, attic) and the climate where you live.

Helpful resources for adding insulation:

how to save money on your bill

10. Shield your home from the sun

Depending on your climate, it may be in your best interest to prevent sunlight from hitting your home directly by planting trees on your property. This helps your home stay cool in the summer. However, keep in mind that in the winter or in areas with colder weather year-round, letting in sunlight can be a free source of warmth for your home.

Helpful resources about sunlight:

Article on energy-efficient home design from energy-gov

11. Landscape for shade

Adding native trees and plants on your property comes with many benefits, including providing shade from the sun to help your home stay cool in the summer. Plus, trees help protect the environment by providing food and natural habitats for local wildlife, and reducing soil erosion, which decreases the volume of storm water runoff.

Helpful resources about planting trees:

Choosing the right tree to plant — EPB Energy Pros video

How planting trees affects your energy bill — EPB Energy Pros video

Guide to planting trees and power lines — EPB Energy Pros video

12. Insulating paint

Insulative paint is a new technology that claims to prevent heat loss and transfer. However, research is still being done to determine whether insulative paint is worth the cost. Some studies have already shown that insulative paint does add some amount of insulation, but others say it’s ineffective in preventing heat loss.

13. Wear comfortable clothing

Lowering your electricity bill doesn’t always require changing something about your home. Sometimes, saving energy is as easy as changing your clothes to be more comfortable instead of changing the temperature on your thermostat. If your thermostat is set on 68ºF in the winter, but you’re feeling chilly, throw on some sweatpants, socks and a hoodie to see if it helps. In the summer, wear shorts or loose clothing to stay cool without cranking up the AC.

14. Use more blankets

Another way to save energy during colder months is to stay cozy under the covers. Get soft blankets that feel good against your skin and look beautiful with your decor. A good blanket may be enough to keep you warm without turning up the heat. You can even find energy-efficient electric blankets that can help you stay warm for less.

15. Reduce phantom power

Also known as “vampire energy,” this type of electricity is consumed by appliances when you’re not even using them. This can cause substantial increases to your energy usage and cost you hundreds of dollars per year.

save energy

Common energy vampires are:

● Device chargers (cell phones, laptops, tablets)

● TV set top boxes

● Gaming consoles

● VCR, DVD and DVR players

● Standby coffee makers

● Microwave ovens

● Devices that use a standby mode to turn on instantly

● Computer monitors

● TVs with screensavers

● Anything digital, clock or light that stays on

You can eliminate energy vampires by plugging them into a power strip and switching it off when not in use.

16. Adjust fridge and freezer temperature

According to energy.gov, the recommended temperature setting for maximum energy savings is 35–38ºF for your fridge and 0ºF for your freezer. Check your appliances’ temperature settings and make adjustments to save energy.

17. Keep your fridge and freezer full

https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-woman-holding-a-cellphone-in-front-a-ref-6994185/

Some sources claim that keeping your fridge and freezer at least ¾ of the way full can help with cooling, since the food acts as an insulator. Other sources claim that this won’t help enough to significantly impact energy costs, but it may be worth a try.

18. Keep refrigerator coils clean

Routine maintenance helps maximize the energy efficiency of your refrigerator. Refrigerator coils can collect lint, dust or pet hair, which causes your fridge to work harder and use up to 35% more energy. Inspect your refrigerator coils every six months to a year. If you have pets who shed a lot, you may need to clean your coils more frequently.

19. Cover food and drinks before placing them in the fridge

Use Tupperware, foil or plastic wrap to cover your food before storing it in the fridge. Uncovered food can release moisture into the air, which makes it work harder to maintain cooler temperatures.

20. Wait for food to cool before putting it in the fridge

If you place hot food directly in the refrigerator, it adds heat, which makes your fridge work harder to cool down.

21. Have a second fridge or freezer? Put it in the basement.

Many families have a second fridge or freezer to store meals, drinks and other food. You can save energy by placing your secondary fridge or freezer in the basement or in a room away from sunlight and heat. This will help it stay cool and consume less energy.

22. Turn off your ice maker

Does your freezer have an automatic ice maker? After your ice bucket is full, turn off the ice maker. This can reduce your freezer’s power consumption by up to 20%. If you don’t use ice very much, you can keep it off permanently for added savings.

23. Turn off your stove

When you’re cooking with your stove, you can save energy by turning it off a few minutes before your food is fully cooked. The stove will typically have some heat left over that can finish the job without demanding more energy.

help conserve energy

24. Keep your oven closed

When checking to see if your food is done, keep the oven closed to prevent heat loss. If you need to look at the food, flip on the internal oven light and look in the window instead. You can also invest in a thermometer with a cord that shows you the temperature of the food while the oven is closed.

25. Use lids when cooking

While your food is cooking, use a lid to trap heat and make your food cook faster. This helps your oven or stove use less energy.

26. Stop preheating your oven

While some recipes call for preheating your oven, others will work just fine if you place your dish inside during the preheating process. Just add a few minutes to the total cooking time, and you’ll save energy without noticing much of a difference.

27. Get more use out of your microwave

It’s true — microwaves consume up to 80% less energy than ovens. And microwaves can do far more than just warm up leftovers. There are countless ways you can use your microwave for cooking, such as steaming vegetables and or baking a molten lava cake in a mug.

Helpful resources about cooking with your microwave:

How to Steam Vegetables in the Microwave — Article by Serious Eats

Microwave Chocolate Lava Cake Recipe — Video by Whisk N Fold

28. Lower the temperature of your water heater

Check your water heater and make sure it’s set to a temperature of 140ºF or less. This can help you reduce your water heater’s energy usage by 13%. Keep in mind that the CDC recommends maintaining a water temperature of 120ºF or more to prevent contaminants like Leionella.

29. Do water heater maintenance

Make sure your water heater is running efficiently by scheduling yearly maintenance with a professional water heater technician.

30. Insulate your hot water heater.

Here’s an easy but effective tip for reducing your electricity bill:

By adding insulation to your water heater, you can help prevent heat loss and keep your water hot for longer. This can save you 4–9% in water heating energy costs.

Helpful resources for insulating your water heater:

DIY guide for insulating your water heater from energy.gov

31. Use a tankless water heater

Tankless water heaters don’t have a “standby” storage container that holds hot water. Instead, they instantly heat as much water as you need, on-demand. Although they’re a bit more expensive than water heaters with tanks, they can help you save on energy costs.

Help resources about water heaters”

Water Heaters Energy-Saving Tips — EPB Energy Pros video

Guide to tankless water heaters — Energy.gov article

32. Use a water heater timer

Did you know you can purchase a timer for your water heater? That way, you can automatically heat up your water when you typically need it, and save energy the rest of the time.

33. Take shorter showers

Heating water uses lots of energy. The shorter the shower you take, the less hot water you’ll need and the more you’ll save.

34. Use an efficient showerhead

Replace your current showerhead with a more energy-efficient version. Energy.gov recommends using one that has the “WaterSense” label. These types of shower heads typically use fewer than 2 gallons of water per minute. After a year of using a WaterSense showerhead, you can save 2,700 gallons of water and reduce water heating costs.

61 tips to a lower energy bill

35. Turn off “Heat Dry” on your dishwasher

If your dishwasher has a “Heat Dry” setting, turn it off. This can reduce your dishwasher’s energy usage by 15%.

36. Use your dishwasher

It might seem like using a dishwasher wastes more energy — and water — than washing your dishes by hand, but today’s dishwashers save more water than you would use by washing manually.

Next time you purchase a new dishwasher, look for the ENERGY STAR® label to maximize energy savings.

Resources for energy-efficient dishwashing:

Guide to using a dishwasher efficiently — energy.gov article

37. Air-dry your dishes

Do you have a drying rack? After your dishwasher completes its cleaning cycle, make sure the heat dry setting is turned off and unload your dishes onto a drying rack. That way, it won’t cost any energy to dry your dishes (which means no additional cost on your electricity bill).

38. Use cold water to wash clothes

Wash your clothes with cold water whenever possible (you may need to switch to a “cold water detergent” for effective cleaning). Even just switching the water temperature from hot to warm can cut your washer’s energy usage in half, and certain fabrics last longer when washed with cold water.

39. Start line drying laundry

Dryers consume lots of power and are mostly just used for saving time. They can also warp or shrink certain fabrics or wear them out faster, leading to more expenses down the road. Set up a line drying system instead to save energy.

Helpful resources on line drying clothes:

How to line-dry different types of clothing effectively — Farmers’ Almanac article

40. Fix leaky faucets

Leaky faucets can lead to costly water bills — and if your faucet is leaking hot water, it can increase your energy usage too. Any time you notice a leaky faucet, you can try fixing it yourself, but it may be better to hire a handyman or plumber to make sure it’s done correctly.

Helpful resources for fixing leaky faucets:

Guide to identifying and fixing a leaky faucet — EPA article

41. Do only full laundry loads

Washing machines use about the same amount of energy for loads of any size. You can save a lot of energy by simply waiting until you have a full load of dirty laundry instead of frequent smaller loads. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to wash a smaller load, choose the correct water level setting to avoid wasting water.

On the other hand, avoid overloading your washer and dryer. This can wear out your appliances and your clothes will take much longer to dry.

Helpful resources for doing laundry:

Energy-saving laundry tips — energy.gov article

lower energy bill

42. Empty the dryer lint trap

Not only does cleaning the dryer lint trap save energy and money, it can also prevent a fire hazard. Make sure you and your family members dispose of lint every single time you wash and dry your clothes.

43. Buy some dryer balls

Wool or rubber dryer balls help separate your clothes and increase air flow, which cuts down on drying time so you don’t have to run the dryer as long. They can also reduce static so you don't need dryer sheets. Wool balls may also help absorb moisture, which can cut drying time even further.

44. Keep your dryer clean

Every few months, inspect your dryer to see if it needs cleaning. Check the dryer vent to make sure it’s not blocked by lint or debris. This can save energy and may also help you prevent a fire.

45. Upgrade your laundry room

If you have an older washer or dryer, it may be time for an upgrade. Look for an ENERGY STAR® or EnergyGuide label. These washing machines use nearly 35% less water and 25% less energy than standard washing machines. That can add up to lots of savings on your electricity bill every month!

ENERGY STAR dryers use 20% less energy than older models. Look for a dryer that has a moisture sensor that automatically shuts off the machine when your clothes will dry. This will prevent over-drying, which can help your clothes last longer, and save energy. Another energy-saving option you can try is an ENERGY STAR certified heat pump dryer, which can save 20–60% more energy than conventional models.

46. Old dryers waste energy

Even if you can’t afford to purchase a brand-new ENERGY STAR dryer, you may be able to find a newer model that’s lightly used at garage sales or on Facebook Marketplace. Older dryers are inefficient and can waste a lot of energy.

47. Buy energy-efficient appliances

Appliances grow more energy-efficient every year. Upgrading your appliances to ENERGY STAR models can reduce your energy costs significantly, both saving you money and helping the environment. Replace your oldest appliances that demand the most energy first for maximum savings.

Resources for energy-efficient appliances:

List of energy-efficient appliances from ENERGY STAR

48. Don't use heavy appliances during peak times

The times that demand the most energy from electric grids are known as “On-Peak Hours.” Check with your local energy utility to determine which hours are On-Peak for you and adopt the following energy-saving habits during On-Peak Hours:

  1. Lower your thermostat by a few degrees while still maintaining your comfort levels.
  2. Don’t use large appliances — use smaller ones (like your microwave) instead.
  3. Avoid taking hot showers and baths.

On-Peak Hours for EPB customers:

● November–March, Monday–Friday, 6 a.m.–10 a.m. Eastern Time

● June–September, Monday–Friday, 2 p.m.–6 p.m. Eastern Time

61 tips to a lower bill

49. Check that your appliances work properly

Malfunctioned appliances drain electricity. If one of your appliances isn’t working like it used to, consider scheduling an appointment with an appliance repair expert.

50. Buy ENERGY STAR® appliances

ENERGY STAR is a government-backed, credible, unbiased certification for energy efficiency. Appliances with this label are so efficient, they can significantly reduce your energy costs. Replace your oldest appliances that demand the most energy with ENERGY STAR models for maximum savings.

Resources for energy-efficient appliances:

List of energy-efficient appliances from ENERGY STAR.

51. Install motion sensors

Instead of remembering to switch your lights off every single time you leave or go to bed, you can automate this process by installing motion sensors. That way, anything connected to the motion sensor turns on automatically when you enter the room, and turns off when no one is present, which can help you reduce energy costs.

52. Use LED light bulbs

LED bulbs may be a little more expensive when you buy them at the store, but they’re well worth the investment. They emit less heat, so they won’t burn you or cause fires. They’re just as bright as older bulbs but use 75% less energy. And they last up to 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs.

Resources to learn more about LEDs:

Why you need to switch to LED bulbs — EPB Energy Pros video

53. Use dimmer switches

Although dimmer switches are mostly known for their ability to create mood lighting, they also help you save energy! They reduce energy flowing to the light bulb by rapidly turning on and off the light fixture. This extremely fast flickering looks like a constant flow of light to human eyes.

54. Use smart power strips

Smart power strips eliminate the need to manually turn off your “energy vampire” electronics. They detect when devices are not in use, and cut off the energy flow to help you save. Some smart power strips even let you manage them from an app on your phone, so you can turn them off remotely or set automated schedules.

55. Install and use ceiling fans

https://www.pexels.com/photo/wide-angle-view-of-a-bright-spacious-living-room-with-carpet-5900819/

Ceiling fans circulate the air and help you cool down without using your HVAC system, the biggest source of energy usage in most homes. They can also be reversed and used to blow down warm air to help keep you comfortable in colder months. Using a ceiling fan instead of turning on the air conditioning is a simple way to reduce your electricity bill every month.

Resources to help you save energy with fans:

A guide to energy-efficient fans — energy.gov article

How to reverse your ceiling fan — EPB Energy Pros video

help lower your bill

56. Get an attic ceiling fan

Also known as “whole house fans,” attic ceiling fans are an energy-efficient substitute for air conditioning. They work by pulling in air from open windows and exhausting it through the attic roof, which provides attic ventilation and cools down your home.

Resources on installing whole house or attic ceiling fans:

Cooling with a whole house fan — energy.gov article

57. Ask for discounted utility rates

Check with your energy provider to see if they offer programs that provide discounted utility rates during off-peak hours or solar generation credits.

58. Consider a prepaid electric bill plan

Prepaid electric bill plans let you pay for your energy before you use it to eliminate unnecessary fees. For example, with EPB PrePay, customers no longer need to pay late fees, reconnect fees or security deposits. Simply add funds to your account when you can. You can even pay smaller amounts daily, weekly or biweekly if that works better for your budget. Check with your energy provider to see if there’s a prepaid plan available for you.

59. Go solar

https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-man-installing-solar-panel-9875418/

Installing solar panels on your roof requires large upfront costs, but could eventually pay for itself in energy savings. You can also join a solar community, like EPB Solar Share, that lets you lease solar panels from a community solar array. At the end of the month, you’ll earn credits from the solar energy your panels generated.

Resources to help you go solar:

EPB customers can get a FREE EPB Solar Installation Consultation

EPB customers can go solar for as little as $3.50/mo. per panel

Learn about our free Solar Installation Consultations — EPB Energy Pros video

60. Insulate electrical outlets

Sock sealers are low-cost outlet insulators that are easy to install. They stop drafts from coming in through your outlets, which can improve efficiency and add to your energy savings by reducing heat loss.

61. Install storm doors

Storm door frames are usually made of aluminum, steel, fiberglass or wood. They often use a special type of glass that reduces the heat gained from direct sunlight, which can improve energy efficiency.

If your current exterior door is old but in good shape, adding a storm door may be worth the investment. However, if you have a brand-new door with no air leaks and lots of insulation, you probably don’t need one.

Resources for choosing a storm door:

Energy-efficiency exterior door guide — energy.gov article

Which things are responsible for high electric bills?

Heating and cooling

The number one source of energy demand in most homes is your HVAC system. It takes lots and lots of energy to keep your home comfortable during extreme temperatures. That’s why heating and cooling are usually to blame if your power bills are too high.

Many of the tips above cover different ways you can help your HVAC system perform efficiently, such as adding weatherstripping, caulk, storm doors, ceiling fans, sealing air and air leaks. Learning how to set your thermostat eventually can also reduce your energy costs. Watch this EPB Energy Pros video to learn more about saving energy with your thermostat settings.

lower energy bill

Power and lighting

Using appliances, devices, lights and other electronics without regard to how much energy they use can increase your power consumption. Follow the tips mentioned above on topics like LED bulbs, dimmer switches and power strips to take control of your energy usage and adopt energy saving habits.

Water

One of the top sources of energy usage is heating water. If you don’t have a tankless water heater, it may help to put more thought into how you use hot water in your home. Some of the tips mentioned above, such as taking shorter showers, replacing your shower head, adjusting your water heater temperature and others can help you save.

Device to lower your electric bill

Be cautious of any devices that claim to lower your electric bill. While some devices, such as smart thermostats, power strips, smart outlets and others can successfully help reduce energy usage, most devices that make this claim are unreliable. If you’re unsure whether you can trust your device, ask a local energy expert.

Use These Tips to Lower Your Electric Bill Today

If you’ve read through these tips and you’re unsure where to start, we recommend the following:

  1. Begin with a Home Energy Checkup from your local energy provide (EPB customers can schedule a FREE Home Energy Checkup here)
  2. Identify the top energy-spenders in your home, pick 3 projects from this list. For most of us, anything that reduces air leaks and helps support your HVAC system are the best place to start.
  3. Track your energy usage or check your bill at the end of the month, and see if it’s lower compared to last year’s bill during the same month.
  4. Pick 3 more projects to work on, until you complete the list.

Good luck and enjoy your energy savings and your lower electricity bill!

Did you enjoy this article?
3 article likes
YES!
LOADING