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One of the best ways to save money on your utility bill is to look for ways to save energy. Fortunately, there are many, many things that you can do to easily save money on your energy bill—and many of them are free! In this article I am going to share more than 30 ways that you can save money on your monthly utilities.
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37 Simple Ways to Save Energy
When the summer and winter come along, it can make a big difference to your wallet to know how to save energy so you can save money on your utility bill. During the summer and winter months in particular, your electric bill can really put a dent in your checking account. And especially if you have a very large or a very old home, you could be spending $300 or $400 per month or more to heat or cool your home during the hottest and coldest parts of the season. I know that’s money you would rather be spending on other things! So read on to learn how you can save energy in order to save money on your monthly electric bill.
1. Turn down your furnace and turn up your AC to save energy.
One of the easiest things you can do (and doing so is free!) to save energy so that you can save money on your utilities is to turn down your furnace during the winter and turn up the temperature for your AC during the summer. To be most energy efficient, set your furnace at 62 degrees or lower during the winter, and set your air conditioner to 78 degrees or higher during the summer.
If you can, use fans or an evaporative cooler instead of an air conditioner, as they generally use only about one-third of the energy of central air.
Keeping the thermostat on a more economical setting may mean wearing warmer clothes (even inside) during the winter and wearing cooler clothes during the summer, or maybe having fans on or finding other ways to stay cool during the summer (like these great neck coolers). It may mean being just a little bit uncomfortable some of the time. But you’ll sure notice a difference on your monthly utility bill as you are able to save energy!
If you have a larger home, it may be more economical during the day to use space heaters and fans or window AC units in just the rooms that you are in at any given time so that you can keep the thermostat set at a lower (winter) or higher (summer) level for the rest of the home. We did this in our last home, which was about 1,000 square feet larger than this one, and it helped us lower our $400 a month winter energy bill to less than $200 a month.
2. Give your furnace and AC a tune-up, and replace the filters regularly to save energy.
To keep your HVAC system running efficiently, have it tuned up and maintained regularly, and replace the filters as needed.
3. Buy a programmable thermostat to save energy.
Another big tip for how to save money on your electric bill is to buy and use a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats can give you a good return on your money spent because they allow you to effortlessly set the thermostat higher (during the summer) and lower (during the winter) when you’re sleeping or away from your home while at work or even on vacation (if you’ll return on a weekend day, for example, when you might have the thermostat set differently than you would for a weekday).
4. Install ceiling fans throughout your home to save energy.
Install ceiling fans throughout your home to help keep heating and cooling bills down. Ceiling fans will help keep things cool in the summer and even help keep your home warmer in the winter by pushing the warm air (which tends to rise) down.
5. Wash your clothes in cold water to save energy.
Washing machines have improved so much in recent years that even washing your clothes in cold water will get them clean, so why not bank the savings?
6. Use dryer balls to save energy.
These awesome wool dryer balls can be used in place of dryer sheets to help reduce static cling and also to reduce the amount of time it takes you to dry your clothes, which also saves you money on your electric bill!
7. Hang your clothes out to dry to save energy.
To save even more money, hang your clothes on a clothesline to dry. No power required (beyond solar power :)).
8. Use your dishwasher less in order to save energy.
To save energy while doing the dishes, wait until your dishwasher is full before doing a load of dishes, and if you have only a few dishes, quickly wash them by hand and put them in a rack to dry to save even more energy and money. Want to save even more? Do your dishes by hand most of the time, like we usually do!
9. Replace old windows and doors.
You can save a lot of energy by replacing old windows (especially if they are single pane) or drafty doors. Though there will be a significant up-front cost, the money savings over time will be worth it if you plan to stay in your home for several years.
When we replaced the windows and the doors in our home, we found a contractor on Craigslist in order to save money on the installation, so look into that option in addition to Googling local installers.
10. Replace old appliances with more energy-efficient models.
When old appliances wear out, replace them with (gently used, if you’re willing) energy-efficient models.
11. Replace old incandescent lightbulbs with CFL or LED lightbulbs to save energy.
Here is another great way to save a substantial amount of energy long term. The energy efficiency of lightbulbs has really improved over the last several years. By replacing your old incandescent lightbulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) or, even more efficient, LED lightbulbs, you’ll save money and help take care of Mother Earth, as well.
12. Turn off lights, TVs, computers, radios, night lights, and so forth when not in use to save energy.
Another way to save energy and therefore money on your electric bill is to turn off lights and electronics and so on when you are not using them. My three kiddos are pretty young, and I am regularly turning off particularly lights when I walk around the house. And I’m also frequently closing doors during the winter or the summer when the AC or the furnace are running. Even though I would love to heat up the whole outside and make it pleasant for the winter months, it’s just not feasible. I don’t recommend you do it. 😊
13. Unplug appliances and electronics when not in use to save energy.
Even when turned off, your appliances and electronics use power (called “phantom” power). So unplugging your appliances and electronics can save energy and save a significant amount of money over time. To make saving that energy easier, you can use power strips, and then simply switch off the strips when those electronics or appliances are not in use.
14. Use localized or targeted heating and cooling.
By using localized or targeted heating cooling, you could potentially save a ton of money on your energy bill!
If you have a larger home, it may be more economical during the day to use fans or window AC units or electric heaters in just the rooms that you are in at any given time so that you can keep the thermostat set at a higher level or lower level for the rest of the home. We did this in our last home, which was about 1,000 square feet larger than this one, and it helped us to lower our energy bill significantly, especially during the winter.
15. Clean the lint filter in your dryer after each use.
hang your clothes out to dry, be sure to replace your dryer lint filter after every use so that your dryer can run as efficiently as possible.
16. Set your water heater at a lower temperature.
Set your water heat at 120 degrees or below to save money on summer energy.
17. Shower with cold water.
I know this one is a little extreme, but if you live in a place that is warm enough, consider showering with cold water. While serving a mission for my church (in a less developed country), I showered for months using a shower that had no hot water.
It was summertime in the jungle, so doing so was only mildly uncomfortable. When it did get cooler, they installed a water heater for us. (In the apartments we lived in, but I think also in general, they have the kind of water heater units that attach right to the showerhead.)
18. Wear cooler or warmer clothing.
Wear cooler, thin, loosely fitting clothing during the summer months to help your body naturally remain cooler.
During the winter, wear layers and bundle up in sweaters, sweats, jackets, and even a beanie inside your home to save energy. You may not win any fashion contests, but no one is going to see you, and you sure will save money by being able to keep the thermostat lower!
19. Use your dishwasher and dryer at night.
During the summer months, use your dishwasher and dryer (when you do use them) at night so that they will not heat your home up during the day.
20. Insulate your home against the heat and cold.
This suggestion costs a little more money than most of the others (many of which you can do for free!), but if your home has poor insulation in the attic, for example, look at having more insulation added or having the old insulation replaced.
21. Check your air vents.
Make sure your air vents are open and that they are free from dust, and make sure they are not blocked by furniture, rugs, toy bins, and so forth.
22. Open windows, turn on fans, and turn off the AC in the evening during the summer to save energy.
As much as possible, open window and turn on fans at night to keep your home cooler without having to use the AC. If you live in a climate where it cools off considerably at night, like we do, this is a great way to save money. We are able to do this for all but about one month during the summer, which I like so much better than having to keep the windows closed and running the AC all the time (I just love the natural cool air so much better than the AC air!).
23. Use the oven less to save on summer energy.
Use your oven less and a microwave, toaster, toaster oven, or outdoor grill more in order to help keep your home cooler and save money on summer energy costs.
24. Leave your oven door open after you bake during the winter.
As long as you don’t have small children (or until your first is moving around :)), leave the oven door open after you bake to help warm up your home on cold winter days.
25. Reduce trips in and outside of the house and keep doors and windows closed when the AC or furnace is on.
Try to keep the doors and windows closed to save on energy costs, especially on very hot or cold days.
If you have younger children, this may be harder than it seems! I’m frequently closing doors during the summer when the AC is running. Even though I would love to cool off the whole outside and make it a little cooler and more pleasant for everyone for the summer months, it’s just not feasible. I don’t recommend you do it.
26. Keep lights off as much as possible during the day.
Similar to the item above, keep lights off as much as possible during the day. Where we live, during the summer months it is light by 5 or 6 in the morning and stays light till close to 10 at night for much of the summer. When you can, keep lights off to save energy costs.
27. Use heavier curtains and blinds to help keep in or keep out the heat.
Another energy saving tip is to use thicker curtains to help prevent heat loss or heat gain through your windows. At night and during the day for windows that aren’t in direct sunlight, keep the curtains or blinds closed during the winter.
If you want to get really intense, you might even try this trick we did while I was in college: we would tack up blankets over our windows during the winter. I had some pretty frugal roommates, and so they asked us to turn the furnace off at night except when it was cold enough we were afraid that pipes might freeze. I kept grabbing more blankets every time I would go home for the weekend. But we survived! Good times! And I’m sure it helped build character.
28. Install plastic window coverings during the winter to save energy.
In our last home, we put plastic covering over our windows before we replaced them with new, double pane windows. If you don’t have the money right now to replace your windows, then purchasing and installing plastic window coverings can be a good, temporary way to save energy.
29. Turn down the thermostat and use more blankets at night during the winter.
Another simple energy saving tip is to use more blankets at night during the winter. If you can drop the thermostat down to 60 degrees or lower (like we used to before we had kids!) for the night, you can save a lot of money over the winter season.
30. Use an electric blanket.
Another way you can potentially save money on energy during the winter is to use an electric blanket at night. Though that of course uses some energy, if it keeps you warm enough that you can drop the furnace thermostat and keep your whole home at a lower temperature, you could come out way ahead. (And I have to admit—I just love heating blankets! They’re so cozy!)
31. Use a humidifier.
Another simple winter energy saving tip is to use a humidifier. By adding moisture to the air, a humidifier helps the air hold heat better. I love the cozy, warm feeling when using a humidifier!
32. Turn down your water heater and put an insulating blanket around it.
To save money heating your water, buy an insulating blanket and put it around your water heater. And turn down the water heater. To save energy, set it at 120 degrees Fahrenheit (about 49 degrees Celsius) or lower.
33. Close air vents in rooms you aren’t using.
If you have guest bedrooms, storage rooms, or other areas that you don’t use often, close the air vents in those rooms to save energy.
34. Close off rooms or areas in your home that you are’t using.
Similar to the idea just above, in addition to closing the air vents in unused rooms, close off the rooms themselves by keeping the doors closed or by hanging blankets over the doorways if there is no door.
35. Add or replace weather stripping around doors and caulk around windows to save energy.
Another of the many relatively inexpensive things you can do around your home to improve its energy efficiency is to caulk around your windows and put new weather stripping around your doors seal leaks.
36. Turn off Christmas lights at night and consider getting LED Christmas lights.
To save money on your Christmas lights, turn them off at night before you go to bed. And if you are ready to make a little bit of an investment, replace your Christmas lights with LED lights. That will cost a chunk of change up front, but you can save 75 percent or more of the cost of running the lights.
37. Cut your home phone line if you still have one, or switch to a super cheap home phone option like ObiTalk, Ooma, or Magic Jack.
Another way you can save energy is to cut our home phone if you do not use it very often. Or on the other hand, if it will help you save on your cell phone bill (for example, by giving your children a way to talk to their friends on the phone so that you don’t feel rushed to buy them a cell phone), use an inexpensive home phone alternative such as ObiTalk, Ooma, or Magic Jack.
We’ve used Magic Jack in the past, which worked quite well, and are now using ObiTalk. With ObiTalk you pay just a one-time cost for the equipment (we paid about $40 off of Amazon for the Obi device), which is a small device that you plug into your modem. And now we have a dedicated home phone that we can use (over the internet—VOIP) without incurring a monthly or yearly bill. It’s awesome! Magic Jack was a good product, but with it you had to pay a yearly fee of about $30. Not bad at all, but still more than the $0 per month payment we have now. 🙂 ObiTalk has worked great, so if you would like to keep or go back to having a dedicated home phone (for the kids’ friends to use to call them, for example), check them out!
We haven’t tried Ooma, and it’s a little bit more expensive option (though they have come down in price a lot in the last few years), but I have heard from others that their call quality is excellent, so you might want to check them out. With their service you buy the Ooma device, and as with ObiTalk, there are no monthly or yearly fees. The only cost is the initial cost of buying the device.
Utility bills are the kind of bills I like the least—because you spend the money on something intangible; in a sense there isn’t much to show for your hard-earned money now being gone. What I mean is, you have nothing cool (beyond temperatures, I guess; no pun intended) to show for all that money you spent. Not even fun memories, like with an awesome family vacation.
So though I know it’s a necessary evil to spend money on the power bill and the gas bill and the phone bill, that doesn’t make me want to spend my money on it! 🙂 So whenever I can save energy to reduce my spending in this area, I do. And with the tips above, I hope you are able to save energy—and therefore money—as well.
What are your best tips to save energy costs? I would love to hear your ideas! Leave a comment below!
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