When you're living in Chicagoland, you have so many great options for dining, shopping, and entertainment at your fingertips that you'd probably rather spend your money on these activities than on your electric bill. Fortunately, there are several easy ways to reduce the electric bill at your apartment home – some you know and some you may not have considered.
1. Unplug Appliances and Electronics
While this may sound strange, the appliances and electronics that you have around your apartment (TV, computer, toaster oven, etc.) still use energy even they're powered off. To stop this drain of "vampire energy," make a habit of unplugging appliances and electronics when they're not in use. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that the idle or "off" devices in American households are responsible for an estimated 10% of residential energy use
2. Upgrade to Energy Efficient Lightbulbs
Are you using traditional incandescent light bulbs? Replace them with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). The U.S. Department of Energy has stated that CFLs use up to 80 percent less energy and last up to 25 times longer than incandescent light bulbs.
If you're skeptical about the look of fluorescent lights, you'll be pleased to know this technology has come a long way, enabling CFL bulbs to come in a range of colors to eliminate the harsh type of light they once provided.
3. Use Cold Water for Laundry
Washing machines are responsible for a considerable amount of energy use —much of which is related to heating the water. That said, opting to wash your clothes in cold water can help you reduce your energy consumption. As an added bonus, doing will help colored clothing from bleeding.
4. Be Conservative with the Thermostat
Did you know that you can reduce your energy bill by as much as 10 percent annually if you adjust your thermostat 7 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit from its regular setting for an 8-hour period each day? If you're away from your apartment during the day, this adjustment is as simple as remembering to turn your thermostat up or down a few degrees before you walk out the door in the morning.
5. Have an Energy Efficient Mindset with the Dishwasher
This means pre-rinsing dishes before loading them into the dishwasher and only running it when it's at full capacity. Another cost-saving idea is to set your drying cycle to “no heat” and let your dishes air dry on the racks.
What are some of your best practices for reducing the electric bill in your Chicagoland apartment? Please share your tips in the comments section below.