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How to get your electricity bill down

If you think your electricity bill is too much there are many things you can do to reduce it. And most of them are quite simple. You just have to be more aware of what you are using ... or not using.

One of the first things a person can do is before going to bed is complete a nightly sweep throughout your home to make sure all your electric devices are turned off.

Yes you may be tired and feel like it is a pain, but the savings from simply turning everything off can add up quickly.

Energy calculators at MichaelBluejay.com say that it takes about $9 per year to run just one compact fluorescent light bulb through the night, $21 for a conventional bulb and $35 for a big ceiling fan on high.

Steve Luxton, a home energy auditor for CMC Energy in Fort Washington, Pennsylvannia, said the typical family can reduce energy bills by 10 to 20 percent just by changing their habits.

And that is just the start.

Some families have old refrigerators and it is not unheard of to see some homes in Bermuda with fridges made in the 1970s.

While it may be admirable that families have made that appliance last that long, it is also costing them heavily.

Those old fridges were built as durable and long-lasting machines, but unfortunately, they're energy hogs.

Belco, which has numerous tips on its website (www.belco.bm) endorses the Energy Star label.

Belco says: “Appliances with the Energy Star label use less energy, save money and help protect the environment.”

Another obvious way to cut down on electricity is to wash your clothes in cold water.

Cold-water-formulated detergent may cost a little more but the extra cost will be more than offset by the first wash load when a person is not using hot water.

And try and make use of the dryer's humidistat setting instead of timed drying. The humidistat setting automatically shuts the dryer off when the clothes are dry.

With timed drying, clothes often continue to tumble in the dryer long after they're dry, which wastes energy.

Also turn off the home computer and PlayStation when not in use. At the very least, turn off the computer monitor, which accounts for most of a computer's energy use. Susan McGrath-Smith, the corporate communications officer at Belco, said the summer is the peak time of electricity usage in Bermuda and much of the cause of that is with air conditioning and water heaters.

“Water heaters and air conditioners are two big users of energy,” she said adding that consumers should seriously think about having their water heater on a timer. Ms McGrath-Smith also learned how to save on her bill this summer.

“I know for me, I got my bill way down this summer because I had all kinds of air conditioning running. I have two dogs that are home and I have to keep the windows closed (for security) and this summer I put on one split system in my bedroom and put it on dehumidify. The house was cool and dry. It was not cold but it was comfortable and my bill was half of what it usually was.” Ms McGrath-Smith said that if a homeowners had a guest room, they could save there as well.

“If you have a guest room and bathroom that has its own water heater, just unplug it if no one is visiting. Anything you can unplug will help. Just think of all the things you have plugged in around your house. They all add up — the chargers, electronic devices — they are all drawing power.

“Also if you have a family and there are always people in the house you may find that you have the TV on in one room, lights on in another room and something else is playing and the computer on as well.

“You don't really notice it perhaps but monitoring those things can help.”

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Published September 05, 2013 at 3:03 pm (Updated September 05, 2013 at 3:03 pm)

How to get your electricity bill down

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