Is your electric bill sky high? If so, you are not alone. Electricity and utility bills take up a large portion of monthly bills—especially during the frigid temperatures of winter. Fortunately, reducing your energy consumption is easy and affordable—and a great way to reduce your monthly costs.

If you're looking to reduce your electric bill, take control and use these five clever tips for reducing your energy use:

1. Avoid Using Appliances During Peak Hours

The daytime hours are booming with people using appliances and other electrical devices. Although you don't notice a problem, there is one: the electric company charging more. During peak-electric use hours, the electric company may charge you more for your usage. If possible, avoid using major appliances—washing machine, dishwasher, and oven— during this time and run them earlier or later in the day to save money.

2. Keep your Refrigerator Full

Believe it or not, the fuller your fridge is, the less energy it uses. This is because it is easier for your fridge to regulate temperatures when it is stocked. Keeping your fridge full will also allow it to run efficiently, which ensures your items remain cool and preserved. If you don't have the money to keep your fridge full of food, use empty milk jugs filled with water.

3. Paint Your Roof White

According to the New York Times, a white roof can reduce your electricity costs by up to 10-percent. The white color helps to better deflect sunlight, which keeps the home cooler during the summer. In turn, this reduces the overall cost of utility bills during the hot summer months.

4. Cook Smarter

If you live alone, or are making a small meal, use smaller appliances to cook your food. Appliances such as toaster ovens, slow cookers, and microwaves use much less energy than a traditional stove and oven combo. These appliances are also handy during the summer months, because they don't heat up the home.

5. Determine What Uses the Most Electricity

Finally, consider investing in an energy monitor. An energy monitor is a useful tool that watches the energy usage in your home and determines the most energy-demanding items. Once you know what items use the most, consider using them less—or only during off-peak hours—to save money.

Reducing your electricity cost doesn't have to be expensive or difficult. Use these tips to help save money on your monthly utility costs. If you have been using these tips and your electricity bill isn't budging, consider contacting professional electricians for a home energy audit.

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