- CFLs—You can (and probably have) read all about these bulbs across the internet. They save money by burning less power and doing it for longer. Make sure you contact your trash collection or city to find out the proper way to dispose of them though!
- Unplug appliances not in use (vampire energy)—Just Google “vampire energy.” If you don’t know what it is, it is sucking the money out of your pocket. Unplug appliances not in use.
- Ceiling Fans—Being raised in the Southeast without central heat or air, I know the importance of a ceiling fan. In the summer you can use it to circulate the air. Even warm air is more refreshing when it is moving rather than stagnant. In the winter you can turn it the opposite direction to redirect the hot air that has risen to the ceiling back towards the floor.
- Hot Water Heater Blankets or better yet—tankless hot water heaters—We spend a lot of power (electric or gas depending on your set up) to heat water that sits in a tank and waits for us to use it. Buying a water heater blanket can prevent loss of heat from your water heater. Just touch the outside of the water heater. If you can feel warmth, you are losing heat and therefore, paying to heat water that is not even in use yet! Buy a blanket for it at any home improvement store. If you have a little more money to spend, remove it altogether and replace it with an inline or tankless water heater. We have a couple of these at work and they are AMAZING! Instant hot water…very hot hot water.
- Turn off the TV—How often is your television on for background noise? While you are reading or on the computer? While you are watching dinner? While you are in another room? If you are specifically sitting down watching a show/movie purposefully, turn it off.
- Natural Light/ Turn off the lights!—I always turn off lights when I leave a room. It was something I was taught throughout childhood. It has followed me to adulthood obviously, as it is second nature to me. I also use natural light throughout the day to prevent having to turn on the electrical lights.
- Use non-peak hours—Contact your power company and find out if they have peak and non-peak hours. If you use high-energy items, such as a dryer or dishwasher, during off peak hours, you can save on your bill.
- Change air filters—Change the AC/return air filters once every 30 days or buy washable ones. The reusable ones are cheap and regardless of what they say, are only good for about 30 days at a time. The dirtier your filters, the harder your unit has to work. So spend a tiny bit more a month and change your filters often.
As a side note, most power companies and co-ops will come out to your house and do an “energy audit” for free. Just call and request a free audit and they can look and suggest other improvements for your specific home
Photo credit: vancanjay