Lowering Your Electric Bill: Part 2 of 5

Posted on: 18 July 2017

Updated on: 15 August 2018

Summer’s here, and with it comes sun, heat, and of course, high electricity bills. But they don’t always have to be quite so high! Fig has come up with a 5 part series of practical tips to help lower your electric bill.

  1. 4 Ways to Save Electricity at Home
  2. Housekeeping Hacks to Lower Your Electric Bill
  3. 4 Cheaper Alternatives to Air Conditioning
  4. How to Use Your Window Cooling Unit Efficiently
  5. Easy Ways to Make Your Air Conditioner More Efficient

How you do daily chores can actually have a big impact on your utility bill! These tips can help cut your electricity and gas use while keeping your house in tip top shape.

1. Cook Small and Cook Outside

Did you know that cooking makes your air conditioner work harder and heats up your house? Research has shown that more than 60% of the heat from an open flame will be lost into the air instead of a pot on the burner - more if you don’t use a lid. And many of the appliances we use produce a lot more heat than is strictly necessary to cook our food! Warming up an oven doesn’t just heat our food, but also the oven itself, and the vent will also heat up the surrounding air.

The first thing you can do to cut the heat in your house from cooking is to cook small wherever possible. This means that you should consider using a toaster oven, microwave, slow cooker or electric contact grill instead of a stovetop or full-size oven. These smaller appliances waste less electricity and are more efficient to boot. The truth is that we really don’t need these big appliances all that often, especially if you’re not cooking for a family.

You should also consider cooking outside more often. Summer’s a great time for barbecues already, and using your grill is a great way to get great tasting food without putting more heat into your air conditioned home. This is the tastiest way to save money on your utility bills!

Finally, consider that not every meal has to be a hot meal. Salads or sandwiches are great summer meal options that don’t require any heat to prepare at all.

2. Laundry: Wash Cold, Dry Outside, or Dry at Night

Wash Cold: If you have a washer and dryer in your home, you might be surprised to learn just how much they contribute to your monthly utility bill. Washers often use hot water, which costs money on the utility bill in the form of electricity or gas depending on your water heater. In addition, almost all of the dryers in America use electric or gas heating to dry your clothes, both of which will show up on the utility bill. Laundry can be a big source of savings if you use some of these tricks.

First, consider always washing on cold. Cold washing saves the energy needed to heat more hot water. If you have a hot water tank, new water in the tank will have to be heated up once it’s used up, and if you have a tankless water heater you might save in electricity.

Worried about stains?: Contrary to popular belief it’s not true that you need hot water to get tough stains or dirt out of clothes. Instead of using hot water, you can pre-soak heavily soiled clothes or spot-soak stains with detergent to get tough stains out! Getting into the habit of washing cold can save you money and stop worries about shrinking or bleaching clothes too!

Dry Your Clothes Outside: Second, you should consider hang drying your clothes. Dryers are doubly bad for your utility bills in the summer: Not only do they use gas or electricity to heat up your clothes, costing you money, they also dump heat into the air, which can force your air conditioner to work harder. You can sidestep all of that by choosing to hang dry your clothes, inside or (preferrably, to reduce the humidity) outside. Instead of paying for the dryer, you’ll let the sun and the air do the work for you. While it takes a little more time and hassle, it can pay big dividends!

Or… use your Dryer at Night: Even if you don’t have the time to hang dry your laundry, it can be worth it to change the time that you run your dryer. Consider doing your drying at night. Since dryers dump their heat into your home from the vent behind the machines, doing so when your air conditioner is already fighting against the heat of the day is a recipe for higher electric bills. Plus, if your windows are open at night, your air conditioner doesn’t need to fight against the dryer at all. Win-win!

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