Do you know these tips to save on your electricity bill?

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Get to know your most energy-hungry appliances

Without real-time energy monitoring, it can be hard to track how much energy your home is consuming at any given time. Consumption patterns change with the seasons. For example, you use energy to heat your home in winter while the heater generally stays off during summer. But if you have an air conditioning system, home cooling may use more energy than anything else in your home this summer. 

Next comes water heating. Many water heaters keep water in the tank up to 140°F, consuming more energy than most households need all throughout the year. Some of that energy waste comes in the form of standby losses, when hot water cools in the pipes between the water tank and the faucet, the dishwasher, or the clothes washing machine. If you reduce your water tank heating to 120°F, you can usually meet cleaning and bathing needs while saving energy. 

The remaining appliances in your home—including lighting, kitchen appliances, laundry, TVs, and computers—might consume anywhere from 2- to 10-percent of total household energy on their own. Taken together, they can still easily exceed one-third of your home energy use. It makes sense to know where your home is consuming energy the most. 

Minimize electricity usage from 4 to 9 p.m.

Most Peninsula Clean Energy customers are on a time-of-use rate plan (E-TOU-C), and have 19 hours each day, including weekends and holidays, to use electricity at a reduced price compared to the 4 to 9 p.m. period when rates are highest. The time-of-use rate plan encourages us to use energy when renewable energy resources are plentiful, and to reduce consumption in the late afternoon and early evening when the demands on the electric grid are high. 

Some people find it easy to reduce electricity charges by rescheduling household chores. If you’re able, try  running your laundry in the morning. Run the dishwasher at bedtime, as you turn off the lights. Moving your electricity consumption from one time of day to another doesn’t have to be difficult. For some, it’s a simple matter of changing habits. 

But many of us only have so much time available for clothes cleaning and kitchen cleanup. What if we need to use these appliances during peak hours  and peak pricing? Newer appliances allow you to program a run time after a delay instead of starting up immediately. In this case, you can load the clothes washer after dinner and schedule it to run while you’re asleep. 

You can go a step further by plugging appliances into smart outlets or plugs. These are inexpensive, wifi-connected, and can be programmed or turned on and off remotely. This way, you can turn off all appliances when prices are high, and turn them back on again automatically once the peak pricing period ends.

Stop the electricity phantoms

What happens when you leave a mobile phone charger plugged in after the phone stops charging? It keeps consuming energy, whether the phone is attached to the charger or not. So do laptop chargers, toothbrush chargers, and other chargers. TVs, video game consoles, and many other household devices use a standby mode so that they are always oneven when not in use. It’s easy to spend a couple hundred dollars per year for these phantom loads.

If you have a power strip with an on-off switch, turn the power off when devices are not in use, overnight, or during days when no one is home. You can also make use of smart strips and smart plugs that monitor usage and stop the flow of power when devices are not in use. Some smart strips come with accessories that enable automation and control.

The market for home energy management systems, products, and services now offers a wide array of solutions, including for homes with energy storage. These can help save energy and significantly reduce electricity bills. In the meantime, controlling phantom load is easy and inexpensive.

Just pull the plug or flip the switch.