How well do you understand your electricity bill? Your bill doesn't just come down to how much electricity you use. Charges are typically split up into different categories, with some being more expensive than others, and it's possible to reduce your consumption in those categories.

Since your bill includes an energy charge and a demand charge, reducing your usage during peak hours is an effective way to lower your electric bill. However, instead of saying that you simply won't use electricity during peak hours—which isn't practical—here are four easy ways you can reduce your usage to start saving today!

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1. Know the Peak Solar Hours

Peak demand hours aren't the same for everybody. They vary across states, cities, utility companies, and even the plan you choose, so it's important to do your research. Peak hours are when electricity demand is at its highest. That also means that you'll pay more to use electricity during those hours.

For the most part, peak hours are when you think they would be. What time are most people home from work and running their appliances? Generally speaking, electricity is less expensive very early in the morning or late at night, while most people are asleep. Once you have a better understanding of peak hours in your area and for your provider, you can start to avoid using costly appliances during those times.

2. Know Your Appliances

What appliances in your home use the most electricity? Do any have functions that allow you to schedule their use at a certain time? Important questions to ask in your quest to reduce your electricity bill.

Use these appliances better

The fact of the matter is a typical household has many appliances that pull from the grid, even when not in use! While energy vampires won't drastically increase your electricity bill, the money you save by simply unplugging devices when not in use adds up over time.

Here are the most energy-consuming gadgets you have in your home, according to

  • Air conditioning/heating
  • Water heating
  • Appliances
  • Lights
  • TV and related equipment

What appliances use the most electricity when turned off?

  • TVs and related equipment
  • Computers and related equipment
  • Video game consoles
  • Appliances with clocks, like coffeemakers and microwaves

Once you understand your appliances and their many features, you can start to take advantage of the ways they help you save. For instance, many dishwashers have a "delay" feature that allows you to run a cycle overnight, which means you don't have to do so right after dinner when peak hours could be happening.

Lowering your water heater a few degrees, taking it easy on the air conditioner or heater during the afternoon and early evening hours, and turning off lights as you leave rooms can all help lower your electricity bill.

3. Switch to Solar Panels

Sure, you've heard that solar panels are good for the environment. But did you know that a renewable energy system can also increase the value of your home and reduce electricity costs, and it may come with impressive incentives and rebates?

Making the switch to solar panels is now a cost-effective move for the majority of homeowners. With a short payback period and minimal maintenance, it's a smart choice for those looking not only to reduce their peak demand electricity charges but sometimes eliminate them altogether! Homeowners can use the electricity produced from their panels during peak hours and can switch to the grid for appliances running at night.

If you've been contemplating solar panels for your home, now is the time to have them installed, because an aggressive Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit will soon be coming to a close.

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4. Consider Solar Energy Storage Options

For all those who use a massive amount of electricity during evening peak hours, a solar panel setup may still be the way to go. That's because of the many solar energy storage options that are available.

Thanks to impressive batteries, homeowners won't be forced to switch to the grid at night. If you don't have a way around using electricity during peak hours in the evening—and some of us don't—then batteries are definitely an option worth exploring. Capable of storing the power your panels produce during the day for use at night, it is possible for a homeowner to go completely off the grid.

Goodbye Costly Bills, Hello Solar Savings!

Let's sum all this up. Research peak hours in your area, unplug energy vampires (especially during peak hours), make use of delay settings, consider solar panels, and check out solar batteries if you're looking to avoid peak demand charges on your electric bill.

Small changes, like charging your phone overnight instead of during the early evening and tackling chores that require appliances early in the morning, can significantly add up in terms of savings. Don't be forced to pay for costly electricity during peak hours—start saving today!

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