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Saving money should not cost a ton of money. This is an obvious statement, but how often do articles about saving money on the electric bill start with replacing all the windows in the house. Let’s keep it simple and look at small, no-cost changes that can add up to noticeable savings.
The Top 3 power suckers – heating, cooling, and hot water – account for roughly 65% of a typical home’s power use. In Part 1 of this three part series, the focus was on 29 Ways Low Cost Ways to Reduce Your Electric Bill.
Today, the focus will be on 12 more low/no-cost actionable ideas to reduce your electric bill and your environmental footprint including if those wool dryer balls are worth your money.
Saving the environment and saving money is a fantastic combo.
Washer and Dryer
The Department of Energy states that energy inefficient clothes washer costs 3x the cost to run than an energy-efficient clothes washer. Something to consider if your washer machine breaks.
Saving on the electric bill does not require spending big bucks on a new washer. Instead, let’s keep it simple and cheap.
1. Use the Right Amount of Laundry Detergent
Those liquid caps are deceptive. Don’t fill the entire cap. The fill line is usually very low in the cap.
Overusing detergent causes oversudding, which requires more rinsing (and more water and energy).
2.Use the Right Detergent
The newer high-efficiency washers run 10% cooler than the old agitator washers, according to Consumer Reports. These washers need unique enzymes and surfactants mixtures found in HE laundry detergents to clean well.
As mentioned in 17 Frugal Living Tips, A 30-load bottle of laundry detergent can be purchased during a good sale with a coupon for $1.
Really reconsider the make-your-own laundry detergent. It is likely hurting your washer’s efficiency and ability to clean and probably not save you any money.
3.Eco-Warm or Cold for Clothes Washer
As mentioned in 29 Ways to Reduce Your Electric Bill, washers do not require hot water for rinsing, so use eco-warm or cold water. According to BC Hydro, you can save $22/year using cold water vs. hot water in your washer machine.
There is an exception to this general rule. If the family is sick, turn on the hot water and consider chlorine to help kill the germs.
4.High-Speed Spin Cycle
More time spinning means less time drying. Drying uses more energy than spinning.
Also, don’t overstuff or under load. The washer and dryer run more efficiently full.
5.Check Dryer Settings
This one has really saved me money.
Reconsider the dryer settings and use the moisture setting. On my dryer, the permanent press setting was the primary setting that we used.
The permanent press cycle runs a significantly longer time than the standard dryer setting. My kids’ clothes don’t need the permanent press cycle!
6.Run Consecutive Dryer Loads
This is common sense. Keep the dryer warm and save money. If you can, consider line-drying your clothes.
7.Clean the Lint Filter Area and Exhaust Line
The whole goal of this section is to improve airflow in the dryer (reduce airflow restrictions). Improved airflow means the dryer will not have to work as hard and will not use as much electricity or natural gas depending on your dryer.
Keep the Lint Filter Area and Exhaust Line Clean. Lint build-up is not only an airflow restrictor, but it is also a fire hazard.
Empty the Lint Filter After Every Dryer Load.
Wash the Lint Filter. The common “wisdom” is the filter is covered with a film from fabric dryer sheets. The film would obviously restrict airflow.
I am not so sure about this one. I had never washed my lint filter on my 8-year old dryer. My lint filter did not feel like there was a film on it. I washed the filter and it felt no different after washing.
It is a no-cost activity, so something to check.
8.Try Wool Dryer Balls
This one is also a toss-up. I have read several articles dedicated to the fantastic benefits of wool dryer balls. Basically, the claim is that wool dryer balls not only replace dryer sheets but also reduce drying time by improving airflow in the dryer.
I bought a packet of 6 dryer balls to test the theory since I hate throwing away the dryer sheets. My results are mixed. I used all the wool balls in my dryer. My conclusion, after using the dryer balls for 6 months, is wool balls do not work as well as the dryer sheets.
I could get away without using dryer sheets in the summer, expect for towel or sweatshirt loads. The winter loads are dodgier (static issues) without a dryer sheet.
I did not do an official time study, but I did not notice a difference in dryer cycle time.
Considering the cost of dryer balls is ~$15 US dollars, it is not really a cost saver.
You can make your own wool dryer balls just search it up. So if you are on the fence, maybe make your own test balls to try it out. You probably have all the supplies around your home.
If you are looking for a way to reduce dryer sheet waste or reduce chemical exposure in the dryer sheets, the wool balls are something to consider.
9. Switch to Natural Gas
This is not always possible, but something to consider. When our electric oven died on Thanksgiving Day, we noticed that there was a gas hookup behind the oven. Seriously, the previous owner changed from gas to electric!
Our oven is now gas, which costs about 1/2 to run versus an electric oven. I still cannot believe anyone preferred to cook with electric over gas. Never doubt the stupidity of the people who owned the house before you.
Another consideration is moving from propane to natural gas. Our house came with a natural gas hook-up for the grill. It is wonderful. You never have to worry about running out of propane.
10. Use the Energy Saving Mode
The energy-saving mode on devices typically uses 1/3 less energy.
11. Sign up for Energy Incentive Days
Electric companies have energy incentive day programs. You need to sign up to participate. The electric company will send you a text on high demand days to cut your electric use.
If you do, the electric company gives you a rebate. There is typically no punishment for not cutting back, check with your electric company when signing up.
12. Get an Energy Assessment
Some electric companies will do free energy assessments for anyone. The local natural gas company may partners with the electric company on the assessment (at least in my area that is how it is set up). Many programs are not income-based.
During the assessment, they typically give freebies like light bulbs and low flow showerheads. Check your local electrical company’s website for details and other rebates.
Don’t do an energy-saving project without checking your power company’s website for rebate opportunities.
Everyone should know their weaknesses. If you always forget to turn off lights or turn the vacation mode on your thermostat, it makes sense to invest in smart technology attached to your smarter device. Smart technology is not cheap, so it did not make our list.
Part 3 of this series on saving on the electric bill will cover vamping (not vaping). Electrical vamping can account for about 10% of an electric bill, so it is worth addressing.
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Good Luck, WhipperSnapper Finance