I was so happy to see you loved my previous post highlighting 10 things to stop buying to save money, and many of you have since asked for more money-saving content. My kind of women! I completely believe that little things can add up to big change (and big savings!) so I am excited to be partnering this summer with Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) to share how to lower your energy bill and save energy… and beat this Florida heat. And don’t worry, it doesn’t mean something totally crazy like not using AC. This girl would have heat stroke.
If you’re like us, I’d do anything to lower your energy bill however beyond upping our AC or turning off lights, I haven’t educated myself how to do that. I’m so grateful that FPL shared with me some best tips, and I’ve found some more great tips for energy efficiency. Remember, every few bucks you save gets to be allocated elsewhere (and I won’t tell if that’s for a kid’s college fund, or an extra glass of wine. Both are good decisions!).
Keep reading for the best tips, plus visit FPL’s helpful “Beat the Heat” web page for other useful energy-saving resources (great tips regardless of your energy provider!). I should want to mention that FPL invited me to participate in its #BeatTheHeat challenge, more on that below… we both can win big!
Quick and easy tips to lower your energy bill:
Slightly up your thermostat. Ok, let’s not go crazy here and I’m not suggesting you to keep your place at 85 degrees. However, FPL suggests 78 degrees for energy savings, and that every degree you raise your thermostat can save you five percent on monthly cooling costs. Plus, be sure to up it a few degrees before any travel.
Get more shade. Pretty drapery is more than just a way to decorate. Close them during the day to keep your house cooler without lowering your A/C. Interestingly, two years ago we finally added pull-down shades on our sliding glass doors, which previously every afternoon made our kitchen table area painfully hot so we’d lower the A/C as a result. The shades were an amazing investment; they look nice, cool our house & also preserve furniture from sun damage and fading.
Turn off your lights. I’ll be honest, I’m the worst. Actually I’m amazing except I notoriously leave my closet light on and it drives Adam nuts. Does this make us even for all the socks he leaves around? 😉 Joking (and his doesn’t cost us money)! My grandpa would always remind us to turn the lights off when we leave a room; be sure to do the same and remind your kiddos when they leave spaces as well. It’s easy to forget, particularly during the day when the house is bright.
Remember to turn off your ceiling fan. Fans cool people, not rooms. (This never occurred to me!). When you leave a room, turn off the fan to save about $7 a month on your bill.
Consolidate devices using power strips. Certain items in your home, like your TV, computer, cable box or game console, use energy even when switched off. They’re often items with a remote control because the remote sensor needs power while waiting for your input.
Two ways to solve this: 1. Plug them into a power strip and turn off the entire power strip when not in use, to prevent these “energy phantoms” from increasing your bill. 2. Update your power strip to a smart power strip. This is new to me, but it cuts off the current when devices are not in use. But these newer power strips (mostly very affordable) also have USB ports, which I’m loving. This one (a great space saver!) and this, are Amazon top rated.
Monitor your energy use. I recently downloaded the FPL Mobile App and I have to nerd-ily admit I’m kind of obsessed. You can see your projected monthly bill, your daily average, monthly comparisons and more. If it’s higher than expected, it’s easy to quickly modify what you’re doing around the house to lower your daily usage. Download it at the app store, or text APP to MyFPL (69375).
Switch to LED lights. LED (light-emitting diode) lights use 90 percent less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and can last up to 10 times longer. I know they’re more money up front but consider the long-term benefit. Swap yours out as bulbs burn out, or swap out first your most used bulbs first. Replacing old incandescent bulbs with LED can save you about $70 in energy costs over the life of the bulb.
Add dimmer switches. We recently did this around our house and not only do I love it just from a personal perspective (we don’t need bright, harsh light… and who doesn’t love mood lighting?), it saves electricity, too.
Use other kitchen appliances. Consider sidelining your oven, which not only uses so much more energy but also often warms your home, and instead use a toaster oven (or microwave, depending on the dish). We LOVE ours, and often use it for smaller items instead of turning on the oven.
Do an energy audit. If you use FPL, definitely take advantage of its free Online Home Energy Survey to see how you can reduce energy consumption — you’ll get a personalized plan that can save you up to $300 per year. You can also check with your local utility provider to see if they offer a similar service (it’s often free).
Wash your clothes in cool water. Did you know you can cut your per-load energy usage in half by sticking to warm or cold water when you do laundry? I swapped doing our laundry — unless it’s super stinky! — in hot water, to warm or cold instead. An easy energy saving!
Keep your A/C filters clean. If you’re able to, change or clean your filter regularly, usually about once a month.
Was that helpful?! I hope you learned something useful… I know I’ve made a few modifications, and think smart power cords are genius. For even more tips to beat the heat and lower your bill, visit: FPL.com/BeatTheHeat. Now, something even more fun…
#BEATTHEHEAT CHALLENGE — WE CAN BOTH WIN!
HERE’S THE FAST FACTS: I’m participating with bloggers throughout Florida in FPL’s Beat the Heat challenge. Through September 15, we’ll each show you via our blogs and social media how to lower your energy bill, and the influencer with the most engagement, love, shares, etc., will gift one participating The Modern Savvy reader at random an energy efficiency pack valued up to $500 (!) that includes: ecobee4 smart thermostat, LED light bulbs, smart plugs/power strips, and a Home Depot gift card. I’d win one as well, and we’d also help a deserving organization win an nonprofit energy makeover (organization!). So basically… our Savvy Squad needs to win!
WHAT TO DO: Now, comment below how you and your family #BeattheHeat, or share with me on social media and tag me, and use the hashtag so I can see it. The more tips we can all share the better.
Thank you to FPL for sponsoring this post. All opinions are 100 percent my own.
Photography: Erica Dunhill