Electric bill killers: Stream Energy tips for keeping energy costs down

A still-plugged-in stereo you almost never use. An energy-guzzling television you often leave on after you fall asleep. A drafty fireplace that you only use on special occasions. If any of these things sound familiar, your monthly electricity bill is probably much higher than necessary.

Stream Energy has been providing discount energy services for Texas and beyond for more than a decade, and they know that high utility bills don’t have to be a way of life.

Read on and implement the following simple tips and tricks that make sense for your household.

Here’s how you can turn things around in your home: 

Audit your appliances

Older or outdated appliances that use a lot of electricity are one of the biggest usurpers of energy. An older refrigerator can easily cost more than $1 per day in energy. A clothes dryer can also suck up a lot of energy. And thermostats? Forget it. If you don’t use them the right way, or have modern versions of the inaccurate, older thermostats, your heater or air conditioner is going to rack up a very high bill. 

For this reason, Stream Energy recommends making a list of all your appliances, and finding the ones that aren’t energy efficient. Need a quick checklist? Here are just a few: 

  • Refrigerator
  • Heater
  • Thermostat
  • Air conditioner (wall units)
  • Washer/dryer
  • Desktop computer
  • Hair dryer

Once you have your list, see if you can find energy efficient versions of the ones you need and make replacements. While it’s often unrealistic to replace a refrigerator or heating unit — especially if you’re a renter — you can do your part by switching out your kitchen appliances with energy efficient versions.

Remember: you’ll save more in the long run by replacing energy hogging appliances now.

Rethink your lighting (and lighting control)

Thanks to government mandates designed to protect the environment, the United States has moved away from the incandescent bulb. While some people have fond memories of these short-lived bulbs, there are now an enormous number of energy efficient bulbs out there that not only last for years, they closely mimic beloved incandescents. 

In fact, lighting may be a major expense in your household. According to Energy.gov, lighting takes up around 5% of most electricity bills, on average. 

So, what type of bulbs are available now to replace incandescents? 

Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs)

These are the most common energy efficient bulbs on the market. The earlier versions looked like a glass coil, but the newer versions look like incandescents. These bulbs can last as long as a decade, and use about a quarter of the energy used with incandescents (and about a third of the energy used by a Halogen incandescent). 

Light emitting diodes (LEDs)

These lights are quickly becoming as popular as CFLs, thanks to their energy efficiency and their long life. They are also typically a little pricier than other bulbs, but they make a great option for track lighting, outdoor lights, desk lamps, and smaller fixtures. Many of these bulbs earn the Energy Star label, and last much, much longer than traditional incandescents or even Halogen incandescents.

Your first step toward saving is to replace all the inefficient bulbs in your home with CFL bulbs, LEDs or Halogen incandescents. Replace the bulbs in your lamps, track lighting, bathrooms and bedrooms, and even your kitchen. If you have outdoor lighting, replace those bulbs as well. If solar is an option for outdoor lighting, go for it.

Another option? Explore smart lighting.

Smart lighting are bulbs that can be controlled by your thermostat or your mobile phone, or even your Google Assistant, Alexa or Apple Homekit. If you work, you probably shut off most of your lights before you leave. But what if you could control your lights from work, or even have them automatically shut off after you leave the room or go to bed?

Smart bulbs allow you to a variety of things, from dim your lighting as it gets closer to your bedtime to change colors based on your own personal preferences. Though smart bulbs can be a little bit more expensive than your garden-variety LEDs or CFLs, you can buy them in bulk and save money. 

Rethink temperatures

On a particularly hot or cold day, keeping the heater or air conditioner off seems like a good idea in practice, but not in reality. However, there are numerous things you can do around your home to save money on heating and cooling, beyond just setting the thermostat to high, low, or off. 

If you’re a renter, you probably can’t replace your windows or insulation to keep your home cooler or warmer. But if you own your home, you can definitely do a few things around the house to improve your climate, without breaking the bank.

Start by planting trees around your home. Even small, young trees can block a lot of sunlight and cool down your home, as can taller shrubs and other shading options. Another tip? Purchase solar screens for windows — or even just screens! These window covers can intercept a tremendous amount of heat as it reaches your home, especially on windows that face the east or the west. 

If it’s particularly warm and you can’t run the AC without getting a high bill, window fans are a great option. By removing the warm air and sending it outside, you’ll save the money you’d lose by running that wall unit or central air conditioning.

There are an extraordinary amount of options for saving money on your electric bill. Luckily, Stream Energy delivers energy at a discount. You can check their website to see if Stream operates in your state!