Bills, bills, bills! Every month they come in and have to be paid. One of the bills that regularly shows up in most homes is the electric utility bill. Just like clockwork, you need to pay it - each and every month.
There are a few simple tricks that you can reduce the amount you need to pay each month. It literally "pays" to learn these straightforward techniques:
Ways You Can Save
• Clean Your Air Filters
Heating and cooling eat up the most electricity in most American homes. Therefore, it makes sense to make these systems as efficient as possible. One commonly overlooked trick is to clean or change air filters regularly. It's amazing just how quickly dust, hair and other particulates build up on these filters, slowly making your system less efficient, and costing more and more to run. Also, don't forget to check the filters on your refrigerator and dryer.
• Open up Your Vents
While you are thinking about heating and cooling, check around and locate all your vents. Are they open? It's surprising how often vents that should be open are not. Closed vents require the heating and cooling system to use more electricity - so make sure they are open.
• Increase Home Airflow
In the warmer months many of us use electricity to run our air conditioning. Just like folks love to catch a summer breeze to keep cool, it pays to keep air moving in your home. If you don't have them, consider getting floor, desktop or ceiling fans. They will keep you cooler and enable you to use less electricity.
• Watch How You Wash Clothes
The washer and dryer are electricity hogs. Use cold and or warm water when called for. Make sure your wash loads aren't too big so as to reduce washing efficiency. When drying, don't pack the machine too full; leave some space in the drying barrel so that about 25% is free of clothes. Also, find out if your power company charges less at night. If so, simply changing the time you do your washing can save you money.
• Turn Off the TV and Computer
For some reason, many people keep their televisions and desktop computers on when they're not using them. If there is no good reason, then it pays to turn them off or put them in sleep mode.
The Best Way: You'll Be Smiling Every Day
Now here's the best way you can beat electricity bills: Own the electric company. Really! Most electric providers are publicly traded companies that issue common stock. The great thing about utilities is that their stocks often pay generous, above-average dividends. Four times a year the owner of these utility shares receives money back from the company's profitable operations. By regularly investing a small amount in electric utility stocks, you can receive a steadily increasing dividend stream, and use that money to defray or pay entirely your monthly electric bill.
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