Mike Timmermann, Clark.com
Electricity is a basic necessity that many of us take for granted (like when we leave the lights on 24/7).
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) says the average American spends about $1,400 a year – more than $100 per month – on electricity to power their home.
But if you could save hundreds of dollars by simply unplugging something, would you?
3 simple ways to reduce your electricity bill
SaveOnEnergy.com recently surveyed 1,000 Americans and found that many people are missing out on potential savings by not taking simple actions to reduce energy use.
By tackling these three items alone, the average homeowner could save more than $500 a year!
1. Swap out your light bulbs
Replacing the five most frequently used light fixtures with models that have earned the government’s Energy Star rating can save up to $75 every year, according to the DOE.
That number increases to up to $180 if you swap out all of the bulbs in your house.
Although energy-efficient bulbs are more expensive than traditional incandescent bulbs, they cost less to operate and don’t need to be replaced as often. Read Energy Star’s buying guide here.
Despite the advantages, SaveOnEnergy.com found that only half of those surveyed use energy-efficient bulbs.
2. Put your computers to sleep
When you’re not using your computer, putting it in sleep mode (or turning it off completely) saves a lot of energy.
You can adjust these settings from the control panel, but if you have a laptop, your PC may go to sleep when you close the lid or press the power button.
According to Energy Star, sleep mode or standby mode can save you up to $50 per computer annually.
SaveOnEnergy.com says that leaving three computers on in idle mode for 24 hours would cost $233.28 per year. Simply putting those three computers to sleep would only cost $65 per year.
Its study found that 60% of those surveyed would save money by shutting their computers down after use.
3. Seal air leaks around windows and doors
A big chunk of your electricity bill goes to keeping the A/C and heater running.
Using caulk and weather-stripping around windows and doors can put an end to air leaks that may be costing you up to $200 a year, according to Energy Star.
However, this is a task that only 32.5% of those surveyed by SaveOnEnergy.com say they’ve fully completed.
On its website, the DOE says sealing air leaks with caulk is an easy job that takes less than two hours, costs less than 30 bucks and can result in up to 20% energy savings. Here are step-by-step instructions.
Want an easy way to track your progress? The EPA’s Home Energy Yardstick compares your home’s annual energy use to other homes using data from your utility bill.
You can also find a list of other easy projects that can help save energy on the EPA’s Energy Star website.
Read more: 16 ways to lower your energy bill