I recently bought a studio apartment in Queens NY and received my first electric bill. The bill came to $31.98. It is probably a bit elevated as it is summer and I have had the air conditioner on quite a bit. I imagine the electric bill will much lower in the fall and winter. My heating is already included in the monthly maintenance so no worries there.
But I am looking to start off on the right foot with saving on my electric bill. Every little bit saved helps. Those little bits saved add up to large amounts over time. Every little bit saved is money that I can put to work for me. So over the past month, I implemented 3 simple ways to cut down on the electric bill.
1) Getting Rid of that Old Giant Refrigerator
The studio I bought has a decent sized separate kitchen. It is very nice. But it also came with an old large refrigerator that took up nearly one-third of the kitchen. I do not know how old that refrigerator was, but I could tell it was very old from the state it was in and that there were no Energy Star labels to be found on it. If I had to guess, I would say 10 years old or more. The light was out inside, but the freezer and fridge were operational.
One thing I knew for sure when I first moved in, was that that giant refrigerator was going. It was a giant power-hungry energy guzzler! In no way did I need a refrigerator so big. I am not operating a meat locker. I am living in a studio. So I decided to downsize the fridge.
My brand new fridge is half the size of the old one. It still has plenty of space inside for all my food and a nice size freezer. It is much more energy efficient, takes up much less space, and is Energy Star certified. According to the energy guide the estimated yearly costs stand at $39 (depending on usage and utility rates). According to National Grid older models can cost $90 – $350 per year with newer models costing $60 – $80 yearly. So if all things hold true, I would like to say I am in a good position for years to come.
So is there is a lesson here in saving on the electric bill? Yes, it is get rid of appliances (giant or otherwise) you do not need or have no plan to use, especially if they are energy guzzlers. For necessary appliances, get energy efficient ones and downsize if possible. Those little changes can reduce your electric bill and have a big impact on your savings over time.
2) Turn out the Lights
I rarely have any lights on during the day. My studio gets some great sunlight through the windows. The only time I have any lights on (right now during the summer) is usually between 8-9 pm when it gets too dark. The average price people in the USA pay for electricity is 12 cents per kilowatt (in my home state of NY the average is 20.2 cents per kilowatt).
So to leave a 60 watt incandescent light bulb on each day for 8 hours here in NYC at the NY average would mean taking on $35.39 in costs each year on average ($2.95 per month). Now imagine if you left on more than one of these light bulbs on for 8 hours each day. The costs would add up quick here and eat away at your budget.
When I do turn the lights on, I have LED light bulbs. My two main lights are two LED lamp stands with 35 tiny bulbs that have an estimated 10 year life span (probably much more in my case as I do not use them much). LED’s use considerably less electricity then florescent or incandescent light bulbs, have a much longer lifespan, and are more environmentally friendly.
So lowering the electric bill via decreased energy use and minus the cost of going to the store to constantly purchase new non-LED light bulbs sounds like a good deal to me. So how about making this simple change? It is as easy as screwing in a lightbulb. Literally.
3) Pull the Plug
And finally, some things are best left unplugged. Many times we leave appliances plugged in. But did you know even when they are off but still plugged in they use electricity. Appliances such as DVD players, televisions, fax machines, laptops, coffeemakers, etc., event when they are turned off they still consume electric power 24 hours a day.
This “standby power” as it is called varies between appliances. According to this website by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a typical US household has 40 products constantly drawing power. Altogether these appliances amount to almost 10% of residential electricity use.
For example, my microwave tells me the time when it is plugged in. But do I really need my microwave to tell me what time it is? No. That is what I have a watch for (a solar powered watch). So I unplug the microwave when it is not in use. Same thing with the air conditioner. Same thing with plugged in cell phone chargers (which many tend to leave plugged in after their cell phone is charged). Of course, some things can’t be unplugged (like your refrigerator, for example), but a simple change of lifestyle can prevent your money from being chipped away at over the course of time.
Keep On Saving!
Living on my own for the first time is quite exciting. I am trying to start off on the right foot financially when it comes to reducing expenses and maximizing my savings. The electric bill is one of those expenses we can control (sometimes to a great extent) and thus I seek to keep the costs as low as I reasonably can. Replacing larger and older appliances with energy efficient newer (and smaller) models, limiting use of lights and getting LED lights, keeping unused appliances unplugged, are just 3 simple ways I have implemented to reduce electric costs.
These are easy ways that anyone can implement. So how about the rest of you? Got any good tips or ways of reducing the electric bill?