How to lower your monthly electricity costs
Control your usage and reduce your monthly bill using this guide. It covers four drivers of high energy costs and describes simple steps you can take on your own.
An electric water heater can be the biggest consumer of electricity in a home, often accounting for 50% or more of the electricity bill. Here’s how to change that:
- Set your water heater to 120 degrees F—high enough to kill bacteria, but no hotter than necessary
- Insulate your water heater tank, as well as any hot water pipes you can access
- Take shorter showers, and use low-flow showerheads to regulate the flow of water
- If you wash dishes by hand, fill the sink with soapy water instead of running water continuously
- If you use a dishwasher, run full loads to get the most out of the water you’ve paid to heat
Electric dryers are another big electricity user, costing as much as $140 every year. You can save the most by hanging your clothes to dry. When you do use a dryer, stick to full loads of laundry. And if you’re in the market for a new machine, see our rebates on ENERGY STAR® certified dryers—these models use the least electricity without sacrificing performance.
Damp basements are common in Vermont, and dehumidifiers can help prevent moisture-related mold. But using one that’s too big wastes electricity without adding any benefit. The same holds true if you set your dehumidifier for a lower-than-necessary relative humidity. When shopping, first size the machine for the space you’re conditioning. Then adjust it to keep your basement only as dry as necessary—between 40% and 60% humidity is usually dry enough.
In winter, use space heaters sparingly. Amish heaters, infrared heaters, and all other plug-in heaters use electrical resistance, the most expensive way to heat. In summer, use less air conditioning by closing windows and drawing the shades on hot days (you’ll keep out hot air and trap cooler night air indoors). If you use an air conditioner, size it for the space and set it to the highest comfortable temperature—72 degrees F is cool enough for most people.