This summer has been a scorcher in the U.S., with record-breaking heat. And it looks like the worst is still ahead of us. This is causing many of us to blast our air conditioners which also means higher electricity prices, especially during peak hours, when the demand for power is the greatest.
Some electricity companies use this pricing strategy to motivate consumers to use less electricity at these times, which helps keep the grid stable and avoids extra power generation. With all that in mind, here’s how you can save money on your next electric bill by following these cost-saving tech tips.
The best way to find out your electric company’s peak hours is to contact them directly or visit their website. You can also do an internet search of [your electric company’s name] + peak hours.
3. Program your thermostat
If you do have peak hours in your region, the best way to save money immediately is to limit the use of your thermostat to other hours. Different providers may have different peak-hour schedules, and they may vary by season or by day of the week. For example, some providers have peak hours from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm on weekdays, and some have peak hours from 7:00 am to noon on weekdays. A good strategy would be to pre-cool your home before the peak hours begin and then set the thermostat to a higher temperature during the peak hours.
- Take the guesswork around controlling temperature to maximize comfort, environmental efficiency, and cost
- Cost savings can be 10-23% off utility bills; some utility companies have rebates when you buy smart thermostats
- Adaptability – not only does it do the work for you, but it learns as it goes, so it is continuously optimizing the cooling and heating of your home
- So smart that it knows to apply temperature settings when you’re not home without you having to change the programming – it will know you are not home or asleep
- Works fluidly with smart home network systems such as Google Assistant or Amazon’s Alexa
- It can be set up to send you alerts for maintenance on HVAC systems, which can save you from breakdowns or additional costs in the future
Cons of a Smart Thermostat
- More expensive than a normal digital thermostat, which can be as low as $25 (comparatively, Smart Thermostats start at around $100)
- Not all Smart Thermostats are compatible with your current HVAC system
- May require additional help with installation from a professional
Benefits of a WiFi thermostat (that isn’t ‘Smart’)
- Alerts you when your home changes in temperature range so you can decide whether or not to raise or lower the thermostat
- Unless you’re able to set up reminders or alerts, if you forget to turn off the system or have temperature parameters set, it will continue to run until you turn it off (manually or remotely)
- Set the thermostat to raise or drop the temperature when it hits a certain degree
- Saves you money by adjusting temperature vs. keeping the system running all day or night
- Usually able to control settings remotely through your smart home integrated system or mobile app for the thermostat
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To see my list of top recommendations, head to Cyberguy.com/SmartPlugs
5. Upgrade your appliances
While it is expensive to replace appliances, energy-efficient appliances will save you money on your electric bill in the long run. There are now rebates available that can cut the cost of these upgrades by 30%. You can look for appliances that have the Energy Star label, which means they meet strict energy efficiency standards set by the government. Some of the appliances that can benefit from an upgrade are your HVAC system, your water heater, your fridge and freezer, your washer and dryer, and your dishwasher.
7. Consider solar panels
Solar panels can generate clean and renewable energy for your home, reducing or eliminating your dependence on the grid. Depending on where you live, how much sun you get, and how much electricity you use, solar panels can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars per year on your electric bill. You can also take advantage of tax credits, incentives, and financing options to make solar more affordable.
Pro Tip: best gear to keep you cool during a hot summer
Beat the heat this summer with some great fans, coolers, and sleeping solutions to help you stay chill this summer.
You can check out my picks for staying cool at Cyberguy.com/KeepCool
Check if your electric company has peak hours or special rates and adjust your thermostat accordingly to save energy during those times. If you’re up for it, getting a smart or WiFi-enabled thermostat can make temperature control a breeze and help you cut costs. Smart plugs are another nifty option for remotely turning off devices during those peak hours.
Upgrading to energy-efficient appliances and swapping out your old bulbs for LED ones can make a noticeable difference too. And if you really want to go all out, consider installing solar panels to generate clean and affordable renewable energy.