You could shell out big money for new, more energy-efficient appliances. You could move to a more energy-efficient home. Or, you could start with the low-hanging fruit.
Here are 10 easy ways to cut your energy bill and be a little nicer to the planet.
- Turn the thermostat down in winter and up in summer.
Your biggest chance to save is probably when you’re sleeping or out of the house; you can automatically program many thermostats so you don’t even have to think about it.
According to the Department of Energy:
By turning your thermostat back 10° to 15° for 8 hours, you can save 5 to 15% a year on your heating bill—a savings of as much as 1% for each degree if the setback period is 8 hours long.
- Keep doors, windows, and your fireplace flue closed when they’re not in use.
Your dad was right – there’s no sense spending money to heat the outside!
Not sure how to close your fireplace? There are a number of guides available for free online, including video tutorials.
- Buy efficient light bulbs.
The bulbs may cost more up front, but you’ll save money in the long run compared to traditional incandescent bulbs. Traditional bulbs will burn out faster and use more energy than their efficient cousins.
Some energy companies, like Duke Power in North Carolina, will even give you the energy efficient light bulbs for free!
- Keep your water heater set to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
You can also take shorter showers and generally endeavor to use less hot water, which leads nicely to our next tip…
- Wash your laundry in cold water.
And don’t spend too much energy drying your clothes. The dryer remains warm after it’s turned off, so your laundry is still drying.
- Plug your power cords into a power strip.
Then, turn the power strip off when you’re not using your equipment. This will keep the devices from being “energy vampires” when they’re not in use. Advanced power strips can make your home even more efficient by shutting off unneeded power.
- Set your computer to energy-efficient savings.
Check your operating system for the best way to configure your machine. Setting your computer to sleep or turn off when you’re not using it will save energy.
Energy Star has information for different operating systems.
- Get a portable space heater.
You may also find that some members of your household demand their rooms a bit warmer than your energy-efficient thermostat practices might allow.
In these cases, a portable heater can help. But stay safe! Space heaters can cause fires and burns. Learn more from the Department of Energy.
- Get some draft stoppers.
Draft stoppers are typically tubes placed under a door to halt airflow. If you’re a crafty person, you can make your own draft stoppers. Look at these examples on Etsy for some inspiration. Or you can just roll up a towel for a more utilitarian feel.
- Focus on your south-facing windows.
These windows tend to let in the sun, so use that to your advantage. Keep curtains on south-facing windows open in the winter to heat your home with the sun, and close the curtains in the summer to prevent over-heating.
This way, you can use less energy heating or cooling your home.