Lowering your utility bills is a rare double win in personal finance.
First, you’re saving money.
Second, you get to walk a little taller today knowing you’ve done something good for the environment.
If you’re looking for actionable tips on how to save energy at home, you’re in the right place. Here’s 15 simple tips for lowering your utilities.
How To Save Energy At Home
# 1 – Insulate Your Windows
Homes cost a lot to heat during the cold months. Unfortunately, much of that heat escapes through the windows. To prevent heat from escaping insulate your windows. This window insulation kit costs less than $5 yet can save you over 20X that amount over one Winter.
# 2 – Upgrade Your Lighting
Your second biggest bang for the buck is going to be your lighting. The rough math on LED Bulbs are they’ll save you $5 per year, per bulb. Meaning if you can find bulbs for less than $5, you can get a 100% return in the first year.
You can often find LEDs on sale at large department stores like Home Depot, Lowes, and Costco.
# 3 – Minimize Temperature Changes
This tip is absolutely free. Simply minimize the temperature change of the thermostat from indoors compared to outside.
In the Winter set the thermostat lower. In the summer higher.
The rough math is a 3% lower utility bill for every degree you change. But this does depend on where you live and the cost of energy. Nonetheless, a change of a couple of degrees can be significant savings.
# 4 – Dump The 2nd Refrigerator
An average size 2nd fridge costs over $150 a year to maintain. That’s over $10 a month, just for keeping a few extra beers cold when one fridge will do.
# 5 – Have A Laundry Routine
Your washer and dryer require a lot of energy to run. Maintaining a simple laundry routine, can save you a lot of money.
Here’s the basics of keeping your energy use low while washing and drying clothes:
- Wash full loads only
- Dry the big items by hanging them and use the dryer only for the small stuff
- Wash clothes in cold water on a short cycle
- Make sure to clean out the dryer lint after every use
# 6 – Weatherstrip Your Doors
You’re paying for heating and cooling your home. So any air that escapes is like money flying out the window (pun, very intended).
Another less than $5 purchase that can pay you back very quickly is weather stripping your doors. Here’s a weather stripping kit that costs less than $5.
# 7 – Use A Smart Power Strip
TVs, Modems, Routers, DVD Players all are sucking energy even when they’re not on. This consumption can be significant, especially for the items that stay on 24/7.
Get a smart power strip. The latest smart power strips allow you to schedule times of the day to power up your devices. Plus, control them from your smartphone if you’re going to be away for a while.
# 8 – Raise Your Fridge/Freezer Temperature
Another simple change that has no impact on you–raising your refrigerator and freezer temperature. The FDA recommends the following temperatures:
- Refrigerator: 40 °F
- Freezer: 0 °F
# 9 – Lower Your Hot Water Heater Temperature
There’s no need for boiling water to come out of your hot water heater. Set your hot water heater for the maximum temperature you can handle in a shower. This is more than enough to clean dishes and wash clothes as well.
# 10 – Track Your Utilities
The famous adage goes: “What gets measured, gets managed.”.
Many utility providers provide energy consumption data to its customers. Login to this date once a month to check on how you’re doing.
As I’ve made been implement various strategies over the past year to my own home, here’s my results:
# 11 – Unplug Any Rarely Used Outlets
For the rarely used electronics, unplug them. That alarm clock in your guest bedroom sucks up energy all year round. Same for the fan which you turn on occasionally. If you don’t use something at least once a week, unplug it.
# 12 – Use Your Curtains
When it’s warm outside, you want the curtains closed. When it cold, you want them open.
This takes less than 60 seconds a day and can help save a fair amount of money each month.
# 13 – Let Your Dishes Air Dry
Dishes dry themselves. There’s no need to pay for heat. Run the dishwasher at night and let them air dry.
# 14 – Run Appliances During Off-Peak Hours
Energy costs vary hourly. On a hot, sunny day at 4:oo in the afternoon–energy is more expensive then 10 hours later when it cools down at night.
Use this to your advantage. Schedule your laundry to run in the early A.M. Schedule your dishwasher to run at night, then dry.
# 15 – Reverse Your Ceiling Fan
There’s a rarely used switch on your ceiling fan, that can save you a few bucks for the 10-seconds it takes to flip.
The switch determines which way your ceiling fans should rotate. In the winter, your ceiling fan should rotate clockwise. This will pull warm air up. In the summer, you want to rotate counter-clockwise.