Your electric bill might be a major expense each month, but you can lower it with a few small changes. Some of your energy costs may be unavoidable, especially with Ohio’s warm summers and cold winters. However, it’s possible to reduce your bill by developing energy-saving habits. Here are five ways Ohioans can lower their energy rates and save money on their electric bills:
1. Switch electrical suppliers.
Ohio is a deregulated state, which means you can choose your energy supplier instead of receiving electricity from your local utility company. Electricity tends to be less expensive in deregulated states because companies have to compete against each other to win customers over.
Regardless of which supplier you choose, your local utility company will still deliver your electricity, so there won’t be an interruption in your service while you switch. Your energy will be sourced from the new supplier, though, so you’ll pay the energy rates of your new company and not of your local utility provider.
Energy comparison services like PowerSetter allow you to easily compare energy rates from multiple providers online and figure out which company will save you the most money. Generally, the rates from 3rd party vendors could reduce your bills by as much as 30% over your local utility company like Duke Energy, Ohio Edison or The Illuminating Company.
2. Unplug your appliances and electronics.
Even if they’re not powered on, your appliances can use electricity as long as they’re plugged in. The U.S. Department of Energy reported that 25 percent of the power used by home electronics is consumed when they’re turned off.
You can unplug kitchen appliances like your toaster or microwave and electronics like your computer and television while they’re not in use. To make it easier, plug your electronics into a power strip, so you only have to pull one plug out of the wall to turn off multiple devices.
Also, try to avoid charging your phone or laptop overnight. The chargers will continue using energy even once the devices reach a full battery. Instead of keeping them plugged in all night, unplug your laptop and phone chargers as soon as the batteries are full.
3. Check your refrigerator.
Unlike other appliances, your refrigerator must stay on at all times. You can still reduce the amount of energy your fridge uses, though. Refrigerators should be set at a temperature of 40 degrees or lower. You can use a thermometer to check the temperature, and you may find that it’s colder than necessary.
Increasing the temperature in your fridge is a great way to save on energy bill without making a major change in your life. You can turn off the ice maker in your freezer and use ice cube trays instead to save electricity, too.
4. Reduce your heating costs in the winter.
Temperatures are cold in the winter in Ohio, but you can save money on your heating costs with a few simple tricks. Turning down the thermostat a few degrees while you sleep can significantly lower your energy bill, and you probably won’t notice a difference. You can even buy a programmable thermostat that automatically turns the heat down at night.
At least once per month, you should check the filter in your furnace. Changing the filter regularly will keep your furnace operating as efficiently as possible. You should also check the insulation in your floors, doors, basement, and attic. Cold air can easily seep in through poorly-insulated structures, which will increase your energy bill.
5. Save on energy during the summer.
Air conditioning can drive up your electricity costs, so keeping your home cool naturally is one of the best ways to save on energy bill. On hot days, keep the heat and sunlight out of your home by shutting your windows and closing your blinds and curtains. Avoid turning the oven on whenever possible, and save heat-creating tasks like washing the dishes or doing laundry for the early morning or evening.
If you have a window air conditioning unit, make sure it properly fits and doesn’t leak cool air to the outside. When possible, use a window fan instead of your air conditioning unit to save energy.
Small changes to your energy usage can add up to big savings. You don’t have to keep your house dark or cold to reduce your energy bill. All you need to lower your electric bill is a little time and effort to learn some energy-saving habits.