Five ways to reduce electricity costs at home

March 2, 2023

Throughout the year, changing weather can impact how much power people use, whether that's a cold front or a heat wave.

However, there are plenty of ways to prevent the meter from rising quicker than is ideal. A few small changes around the home could help cut those bills, no matter the weather.

Here are five evergreen tips for reducing electricity consumption and reducing power costs:

1. Turn off appliances that aren't in use

When turning the TV off with the remote, the screen might go black, but it's still drawing a small amount of power because it's on standby - making it easier to flick it back on at a moment's notice. This might not sound like a problem, but when adding up all the appliances on standby in the home, it can account for 5-10% of electricity use[2]. And that could cost up to $100 each year[2].

The solution? Unplug these appliance to ensure they're not using any electricity while not in use. An alternative is plugging appliances into power strips that have on/off switches. That way, one flick of a switch cuts off the power to multiple appliances.

2. Bring energy-efficient technology into the home

Energy-efficient appliances can significantly affect electricity bills. Bringing ENERGY STAR-certified products into the home could reduce electricity consumption by 24% on average[3]. This translates to an annual saving of around $450, depending on total electricity consumption[3].

Switching to ENERGY STAR-certified LED light bulbs is an easy way to be more energy efficient. As well as providing all the light needed, they use roughly 90% less energy than standard bulbs[3]. They also last 15 times longer than fluorescent bulbs, saving money on electricity and home maintenance bills[3].

3. Take control of the thermostat to cut costs

As we point out in our guide to dealing with winter weather here, HVAC systems can cover up to 29% of a home’s electricity[4]. Fortunately, a couple of effective steps can help it use less power throughout the year.

First, by using a programmable or smart thermostat, it’s easy to control the temperature it’s set to at any time - making sure it’s not running unnecessarily when no one’s home. Second, it can be useful to change the temperature settings wherever possible. Dialing it down just one to two degrees during winter can help to save up to 10% on an electricity bill[5]. Similarly, raising it by even one degree in summer can reduce a bill by around 2%[6].

4. Lowering hot water temperature to save power

Many water heaters are set by default to 140°F, a higher temperature than most homes need. This means that a water heater could be wasting more than $400 each year by making water hotter than it needs to be[7].

It can save money to set the temperature of a water heater to 120°F or just above[7]. This will be warm enough for washing clothes, showering, and the dishwasher while using less electricity to get the water to the required temperature. Be sure to consult the owner’s manual for each specific water heater to find instructions on how to do this safely.

5. Set the washer and dryer to cooler temperatures

Roughly 90% of a washer’s power is used to heat water[1]. That’s why doing the laundry on cold wherever possible could help to reduce electricity bills. Many high-efficiency laundry detergents help ensure that clothes get clean in cold water.

Similarly, setting a dryer to a lower temperature means it’ll run for longer but use less electricity - helping to reduce those costs a little more. Small changes can add up to significant savings.

It’s amazing how small changes can impact household electricity consumption. But, as these small changes add up, they can make a significant difference – helping to manage electricity bills more effectively.

At Shell Energy, we’re always on hand to help manage home energy needs and power homes with our 100% Renewable Electricity plans. Find out more at https://www.shellenergy.com/Renewable.

TX PUCT No. 10174


[1] Bloomberg, “US Power Prices Rise Most in 41 Years as Inflation Endures”, 2022

[2] Department of Energy, “3 Easy tips to Reduce Your Standby Power Loads”, 2022

[3] Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, “On Energy Star Day and every day, look for the blue label”, 2022

[4] Department of Energy, “Home Heating Systems: Energy Saver”, 2022

[5] Department of Energy, “Fall and Winter Energy-Saving Tips: Energy Saver”, 2022

[6] New York Times, “How to Lower Your Summer Electric Bill”, 2022

[7] Department of Energy, “Do-It-Yourself Savings Project: Lower Water Heating Temperature”, N.D.

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