Quick & Easy Ways to Cut Energy Costs
Are your home energy costs getting you down?
It’s tough to stick to a strict budget when your gas and electric bills are out of control.
Many energy companies offer budget plans and other ways to avoid unexpectedly large bills, but it’s a lot better to use less energy in general.
Luckily, it’s easier to do than you probably think.
By implementing a few simple tips and tricks, you can chip away at your energy costs and whittle them down to a more manageable size.
Here are 30 Energy Saving Tips you can implement over the weekend…
1. Use Motion-Activated Lights Outside
Outdoor lights are a necessity, but it’s easy to leave them on all night.
A quick, easy and affordable solution is to use motion-activated lights.
These are also great for home security.
When would-be intruders approach your home and are cast into a spotlight, they generally turn tail and look for greener pastures.
2. Upgrade Your Appliances
It’s nice to have appliances that include all the bells and whistles.
It’s even better to have energy-efficient models.
If it’s been a while since you upgraded your refrigerator, washer, dryer and other appliances, you don’t have to spend much to get replacements that are a lot more efficient.
Even if you just set a goal of replacing one or two appliances per year, you’d be well on your way to lower energy costs within a short period of time.
3. Cover Bare Floors with Rugs
Everyone knows that heat rises, but some of it can still be lost through bare floors.
Hardwood floors and tile floors can be quite stylish, but they can reduce the energy efficiency of your home too.
Invest in some stylish, relatively thick area rugs and use them liberally around the home.
They’ll trap more heat and make you feel warmer and cozier in the winter.
4. Check Your Attic Insulation
How insulated is your attic?
If you haven’t checked in a while, it may be time to invest in better insulation.
There may also be cracks in the walls, floors and ceiling of your attic that are reducing its ability to save energy.
If you’re not sure how to proceed, hire a contractor to come out and perform an assessment for you.
5. Buy a Programmable Thermostat
If you’re still using a basic thermostat, you’re missing out on a great chance to reduce your energy costs with ease.
Programmable thermostats are more affordable than ever, and they are surprisingly easy to install too.
Even if you need help installing it, the savings you’ll enjoy will be well worth it.
6. Cover Windows in Plastic in the Winter
The best way to deal with low-quality windows is to replace them.
That’s not always an option, though, and covering them with plastic in the winter is a decent alternative.
During the winter, you may be able to feel cold air radiating from your windows.
By covering them in plastic, your home will stay warmer and your furnace won’t have to work as hard.
7. Raise the Temperature Slowly
When you are cold, you may be tempted to quickly raise the temperature on the thermostat to warm up as quickly as possible.
This is actually a good way to waste a lot of energy.
Doing this puts a toll on your furnace, and it’s a lot better to gradually raise the temperature instead.
Besides, you’re apt to find that you’re comfortable at a lower temperature than you’d originally planned.
8. Don’t Set the Temperature Too High
No one likes to be cold, but you shouldn’t rely solely on your furnace to keep warm.
In the winter, keep it set to between 68 and 70 degrees during the day and switch it between 65 and 68 degrees at night.
This can be done automatically with a programmable thermostat.
If you’re still chilly, use a blanket or wear a warm sweater.
9. Use Portable Heaters Sparingly
Don’t get fooled into using portable heaters throughout the home.
It’s fine to use one to quickly warm up a small bedroom, but they aren’t designed to heat the whole house.
If you run two or more at once virtually around the clock, your electric bill will be ridiculously expensive.
10. Don’t Obstruct Air Vents
Walk around your house and examine all of the air vents.
Are any of them obstructed by furniture, curtains or other things?
If so, clear them away.
An obstructed air vent can seriously hinder the effectiveness of your home’s heating system and result in a lot of wasted energy.
11. Switch to a Heat Pump
Geothermal heat pumps are fairly expensive to buy and install, but they can save you up to 50 percent on your home energy bills.
These systems can be used to heat and cool your home, and tax credits are sometimes available to make them more affordable as well.
If you have the extra cash, buying one is a smart move.
12. Always Use CFL Bulbs
If you’re still using traditional incandescent bulbs, you’re missing out on some amazing savings.
Compact fluorescent light bulbs, or CFL bulbs, last a lot longer and use a lot less electricity.
Don’t be scared off by the higher price tag.
You’ll change bulbs a lot less frequently, so you won’t have to buy new ones as often.
Your electric bill should drop too.
13. Change Your Furnace Filters
It’s easy to forget all about the furnace because it’s down in the basement.
Very little maintenance is needed, but it’s critical to change the filter regularly during the winter.
The best rule of thumb is to change it one time per month.
Order a case of them from Amazon and set a reminder on your phone to change it once per month.
Your furnace will run more efficiently, which will result in lower energy costs.
14. Use Blinds and Curtains Effectively
In addition to giving you privacy, blinds and curtains can be used to enhance your home’s heating and cooling system.
In the winter, keep the blinds open during the day.
The sun will help to heat your home.
In the summer, keep blinds and curtains drawn when the sun is beating directly into the home so it stays cooler.
15. Adjust the Thermostat when You Leave
Get into the habit of adjusting the thermostat whenever you leave home for more than an hour or so.
In the summer, turn it up a little; in the winter, turn it down.
There are even digital thermostats that can be adjusted through mobile phone apps.
If you forget to adjust the temperature, you can do so from afar.
16. Invest in the Right Air Conditioner
If you need to buy a new air conditioner, make sure it’s as efficient as possible.
At the absolute least, choose one that has a seasonal energy efficiency ratio rating, or SEER rating, of at least 15.
It’s worth it even if it means paying a little more.
17. Check Your Home for Drafts
Can you feel cold air leaking into your home in the winter or warm air drifting in during the summer?
If so, your home isn’t adequately sealed.
Wait for a chilly, windy day and walk through your home.
Feel around nooks, crannies and crevices for signs of cold air.
Arm yourself with a caulking gun and other weatherproofing materials and seal up your home as efficiently as possible.
18. Plant Trees on the Sunny Side of Your Home
A great way to enjoy lower energy bills in the summer is by blocking the sun from your home with trees.
In addition to sprucing up your yard, trees provide natural shade.
You’ll have to wait for them to grow to maturity, so this only makes sense if you’ll be in your home for a long time.
19. Use Ceiling Fans
A ceiling fan can lower the temperature in a room by up to four degrees.
There are plenty of affordable models out there, so stock up and have them installed throughout your house.
A minimal amount of electricity is needed to run them, and they can make your home feel a lot more comfortable during the summer.
20. Heat Up Food in the Microwave or Toaster Oven
If you just need to reheat food, don’t waste gas or electricity by using the stove or oven.
Try using a toaster oven or microwave instead.
By getting into the habit of doing this, you will use a lot less gas and electricity throughout the year.
21. Replace the Gaskets on Your Refrigerator Doors
Have the seals, or gaskets, on your refrigerator doors seen better days?
If so, they are probably letting a lot of the refrigerated air out, which wastes a lot of energy.
If you’re unsure about replacing the gaskets yourself, hire a refrigeration company to do the job for you.
Gaskets get dirty over time too, so this is a good way to maintain cleanliness in the kitchen.
22. Clean the Coils on Your Fridge
Have you ever removed the louver at the bottom of your refrigerator?
If not, you’re in for a dusty surprise.
The same is true about the coils in the back.
As dust and grime accumulate in these areas, your fridge may run less and less efficiently.
You’ll slowly but surely pay more to keep it running.
23. Don’t Overdo it with the Dryer
Everyone likes their clothes to emerge from the dryer warm, clean and fluffy.
However, it’s a big waste to just let them tumble well after they are dry.
In fact, you might even want to remove them while they’re still slightly damp and let them air dry the rest of the way.
24. Let Dishes Air Dry
The dishwasher saves a lot of time and effort, and there are some truly energy-efficient models out there.
One feature that unnecessarily wastes a lot of energy is the heated drying feature that’s common on modern models.
If possible, switch it off.
Otherwise, remove the dishes once they are clean and let them air dry.
25. Wash Clothes with Cold Water
Cold water works just as well in the washing machine as warm or hot water, and it uses a lot less energy.
After all, your water heater has to kick into overdrive to fill the washing machine with warm or hot water.
Avoid using warm or hot water whenever possible, and you’ll use a lot less energy.
26. Take Shorter Showers
It’s nice to luxuriate in a hot shower, but you’ll pay for all of the extra water that goes rushing down the drain.
Treat yourself to a weekly soak in the bathtub instead.
Otherwise, keep your showers short and sweet.
If you need to shave or do other time-consuming things, wait until the end and switch off the water before getting started.
27. Turn Down the Temperature of Your Water Heater
There’s no reason to keep your water heater set at a scalding temperature.
In fact, it can be downright dangerous.
Many people keep theirs at 140 degrees, but you’ll save a lot of energy and money by turning it down to 120 degrees instead.
28. Do Full Loads of Laundry
Try to wait until you have a full load of laundry before running the washer and dryer.
This is especially important for the washing machine because even if you do a small load, a lot of water is needed.
If you’re going to fill the washer with water, you might as well wash as many clothes as possible.
29. Fix Leaks and Running Toilets Promptly
Running toilets and leaking faucets can make your water use surge.
Learn how to fix these issues yourself and be ready to do so immediately.
You’ll be amazed at how much more reasonable your water bill will be when you take care of these problems promptly.
30. Set Your Computer to Sleep or Hibernate
Screen savers are fun, but they make your computer use a lot of energy for no practical reason.
Set your computer to switch to sleep or hibernate mode when it’s not in use.
This will make its screen turn off, which will result in less wasted energy.