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Over 70 Incredibly Easy Ways to Cut Energy Bills All Year Long


Looking for ways to cut energy bills and save money? If you’re like most, you’re already doing some things to cut down costs around the house, like turning off lights in empty rooms. But to help you save even more, we’ve put together this easy guide of more than 70 things you can do to make your home incredibly energy efficient, without sacrificing comfort. Hopefully you’ll find a new tip or two that you can start incorporating right away.

It’s a simple equation. Use less. Pay less.

Considering half of the energy used in your home goes to heating and cooling, making smart decisions about your home’s heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system can have a pretty big effect on your utility bills. EnergyStar.gov breaks down typical energy usage around the house:

  • Heating: 29%,
  • Cooling: 17%,
  • Water Heating: 14%,
  • Appliances: 13%,
  • Lighting: 12%
  • Other: 11%
  • Electronics: 4%

Hot Ideas to Save on Heating Costs

  1. One of the easiest tips to boost efficiency for your HVAC is to clean or replace furnace filters. If they can “breathe” easier, furnaces will use less energy.
  2. Get your home heating system tuned and inspected by the pros before each winter. Over time, heat losses from a poorly maintained system can add up to a rate of 2 percent a year!
  3. Keep rugs, furniture and curtains away from heat registers and air return ducts.
  4. For those hard-to-heat areas, utilize supplemental heating equipment instead of cranking up your heater which only overworks the furnace as it struggles to heat the entire house.
  5. If it’s come time to replace your furnace, look for one that’s 90% efficient.
  6. Grab an extra blanket at night for added warmth without having to increase the temp.
  7. Keep the heat in and prevent cold drafts by closing doors to the attic, basement and garage.
  8. Set ceiling fans at a slow speed to push warm air away from the ceiling and move it around the room (without that chilling breeze).
  9. Dial in savings with a programmable thermostat which lets you automatically turn up the heat before you get out of bed, down when you leave the house for work and up again before you get home. Install one before winter and you could save as much as 20 percent on heating costs in one heating season.
  10. Turn down the heat. For every degree you dial down, you could save one to three percent on heating costs.
  11. Maximize the thermostat temperature. Set it at 68 degrees when you’re home and 65 degrees when you’re away for short periods of time.
  12. If you’re away from home for any longer than five hours, lower the thermostat to 58 degrees.
  13. Keep rooms cozy by placing a few bowls of water in front of heat registers to humidify the air so it feels warmer.

Beat the Heat with Air Conditioner Savings

  1. Purchase an air conditioner with a high-energy efficiency rating (EER). A unit with a high EER of 10 can cost half as much to operate as one with an EER of 5.
  2. Clean leaves and debris from the central air conditioning unit. If anything is blocking the compressor, it can block airflow making the unit work harder than it should.
  3. Keep your AC out of direct sunlight. If possible, install yours in the shade or build a fence around the unit to give it a break.
  4. Size matters. Make sure your AC system is the right size for the space you need to cool. Too small and it will struggle to keep up. When an air conditioner is oversized, it starts up and shuts down a lot more because it runs for only a short time to meet the thermostat setpoint. This could result in more wear and tear on the unit.
  5. Clean the air conditioning filter regularly. Dusty filters make your unit work harder.
  6. Be strategic about when you operate your stove, oven, dishwasher, clothing water and dryer. Run them in the early morning or evenings when it’s cooler outside since they add extra heat to your home.
  7. Set the thermostat to 78 degrees during the day when you’re home and bump it up a few degrees when you’re away.
  8. Better yet, install a smart thermostat that learns from your behaviors and maximizes efficiency.
  9. Stuffy air gets trapped in hot attics which ends up sinking into rooms below adding to cooling costs. Install an attic fan to get rid of that hot air before it has a chance to reach your living space.
  10. Cool off fast with a ceiling fan; though it doesn’t necessarily cool the air, it will make you feel cooler by almost 8 degrees!

Slash Water Heater Expenses

  1. Take showers instead of baths to use less hot water.
  2. Install a low-flow aerator or flow restrictor on your shower head to use even less water in the shower.
  3. Wrap your water heater with an insulating blanket to hold the heat in.
  4. Set the water heater temperature to 120 degrees.
  5. Turn off the hot water when you don’t need it. When you’re shaving, for example, don’t let the water run.
  6. Heading out of town for more than two days? Save even more by setting the water heater on vacation mode.
  7. Fix drips A single dripping hot water faucet can waste as much as 200 gallons of water every month. This puts a strain on your water bills and energy bills.

Don’t Let the Dishwasher Drain Your Bills

  1. Set your dishwasher on the low setting, to 120 degrees.
  2. Wash only full loads and use short cycles when possible.
  3. After the wash and rinse cycle, let dishes air dry to save on heating costs. Newer models have an energy-saver dry option alternatively.
  4. Unclog the drain of food particles and clean the dishwasher regularly to allow it operate more efficiently.

Stove and Oven Savings

  1. Thaw foods first and cut them up into small pieces so they’ll cook quickly.
  2. Put lids on pots to hold the heat in allowing food to cook up fast.
  3. Preheat the oven only when the recipe calls for it, it’s every bit as crazy as opening the door multiple times to “peek” at the results while the food bakes or roasts.
  4. Keep the oven door closed to peek at food through the window otherwise you could lose 25 to 75 degrees of heat!
  5. Use glass or ceramic dishes which hold the heat better allowing you to lower oven temperatures by 25 degrees.
  6. Don’t forget about the crockpot as an alternative cooking option which may be more energy efficient.
  7. Time to clean the oven? Turn on the self-cleaning feature immediately after use. Since it’s already hot, it will take less energy to get to the necessary heat cleaning stage.
  8. Plan ahead for the week and cook extra meals in the oven at the same time to save energy.

Cut Energy Bills

Helpful Hints for the Laundry Room

  1. Wash and rinse clothing in cold water to save on hot water heating costs. Be sure to choose a cold-water detergent.
  2. We know you love doing laundry, but wait until you have full loads to run the wash.
  3. Switch the water level on your washer to match the load size. You’ll save on water and energy by doing so.
  4. For the dryer, fill it, but don’t overload it so clothes have room to tumble.
  5. Hang dry when possible.
  6. Get rid of over drying, which only wears out clothes and wastes energy. Use the auto-dry cycle so it stops the dryer when the laundry is dry.
  7. Clean the dryer’s lint trap after each load to allow warm air flow better and dry clothes faster.
  8. Take advantage of a heated dryer by doing consecutive loads of laundry.

Put the Chill on Refrigerator and Freezer Energy

  1. Every time you open the refrigerator or freezer door, cold air escapes…you can practically see energy costs rising as you’re standing there browsing. Think about what you want to eat before you open the door next time.
  2. Let hot foods cool off before putting them inside which only causes the motor to work longer and harder to cool off the space.
  3. Keep the freezer full, but not packed. Since frozen food stays cold longer than air, you can save energy by placing water-filled containers or water bottles in empty spaces.
  4. Check the door seal to make sure it seals properly and isn’t allowing cold air to escape.
  5. Set the refrigerator thermometer between 38 -42 degrees. Set the freezer between 0-5 degrees.

Attack Hidden Costs from Appliances

  1. Utilize power strips for computer, TVs and other “vampire” devices that use power even when they’re off.
  2. Unplug the coffee maker when you’re done with your morning java. Pour any leftover coffee in an insulated container to keep it hot instead of heating it up in the microwave.
  3. After flushing the toilet, make sure the handle doesn’t stick which makes your water pump run longer.
  4. Install insulation made for electrical outlets for outside walls to prevent cold air from entering your home.
  5. Choose compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) that use 75% less energy than your standard incandescent bulbs. Plus, they last 10 times longer.
  6. Let the light shine through by keeping dust off your light fixtures and bulbs.
  7. Take advantage of the power of reflection by placing lamps in corners so two walls can reflect light into the room.
  8. Check into power company and government programs for appliance upgrades. Many energy companies offer rebates when you install Energy Star appliances, look for the “Most Efficient” label which actually goes beyond the standard Energy Star requirements.

Stop Money from Flying Out Your Window

  1. During daylight hours, open the blinds to let free light in the room.
  2. Cut heat loss in half with drapes that have an insulating liner.
  3. Close drapes on the north-facing windows to keep the chill out in winter months.
  4. Open drapes on southern and eastern windows on cool days to let the sun shine in. Close them on cloudy days and at night to keep heat from escaping.
  5. Replace old windows with new, high-performance windows.
  6. Seal window cracks and caulk doors, replace torn or worn weather stripping.
  7. Invest in solar power that generates cheap, green electricity from sunlight. Once you’ve paid for the initial installation, costs will be reduced immediately.
  8. Well-planned landscaping isn’t just for aesthetics — properly placed trees around the house can save between $100 and $250 annually.

We all know we could (or should) do more around the home to save energy, but where to start? Pick one or two tips from the list above and cut energy bills for good!