For those of you with power bills you can save 50% off each one for the next 6 months to pay for your next trip. Recently I made some easy changes around my home to do just that. In exchange for a few minutes per day and some comfort from time to time you can chop your electric bill in half and use that money to book a flight.

giant off switch1. Turn Off Your Water Heater 19 Hours A Day

The typical water heater in the US is 52 gallons. To provide enough hot water for 2 people to shower you’ll only need to run it for 5 hours a day. It’s preferable to split those 5 hours into two times daily (morning and night) to keep the hot water flowing.

The simplest way is to turn the water heater on and off from the circuit breaker. The alternative is installing a hot water heater timer so it comes on and goes off automatically.

Trade Off: Varying time. You’ll need to plan on flipping the switch for around 2.5 hours twice a day and 45 minutes before running the dishwasher or laundry machine.

2. Turn Off The Dishwasher’s Heated Dry

Generating hot air to dry your dishes takes up a considerable amount of energy and money – cash that could be better spent getting you to Brazil for instance. You can hand dry the dishes or just open up the dishwasher door as soon as the wash cycle is over.

dishwasher heated dry

You can further your savings by not pre-washing and use less detergent for loads that aren’t as dirty, as recommended by dishwasher engineers.

Trade Off: A few minutes per load. Assuming you have to hand dry the dishes when you take them out.

3. Use A Clothes Line

As you can see from the trend so far, heating things is especially energy consuming. There is a nice natural process called evaporation that works just as well, expect that it takes a bit longer. Most of us imagine ropes and string all across a backyard or balcony but several companies make travel clothes lines that work just about anywhere indoors.

Trade Off: Time, heat…heat, time. The trade off is basically between the two.

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sweating profile4. Keep The Curtains Closed In The Summer, Open In Winter

It’s amazing how much money we spend on heating things, especially considering there is a huge ball of nuclear fusion called the Sun that will do much of it for us. Open your curtains during the winter and close them in the summer and forget about the air conditioning. Well, let’s leave the air conditioning off unless it gets above 30 degrees Celsius (~86 F).

Trade Off: Comfort. You’ll be a bit chilly in the winter and a bit hotter in the summer. Save enough on your electric bill and you can fly to the climate of your choice.

Squeeze A Bit More From Your Bill

There are a few more ways to really take a chunk out of your electric bill and pay for that next trip faster.

  • Switch to a time-of-use plan – Call your electric company and see if you are paying the same rate for electricity around the clock. Time-of-use plans can save you lots if you run most of your appliances during ‘non-peak’ hours.
  • Fill the freezer – The more you fill your freezer and fridge with food the less air is left for your refrigerator to cool.

There are other well-known ways to lowering your electric bill like changing your light bulbs to CFLs and turning off things like your computer when you’re not using them. I was able to cut my electric bill by more than 50% using these techniques and you should be able to get at least 1 extra plane ticket per year by doing the same. Make sure to keep a simple travel budget so the bill savings goes toward travel.

Your energy consciousness doesn’t have to stop at home though, there are 33 ways to green your travels once you hit the road.

[photos by: Kyle Slattery, emilyd10, Rosh PR]