65 Ways to Save Electricity at Home

By: Kathleen McCoy Energy efficiency, How to | Affiliate Disclosure

According to Buy Clean Energy, a campaign focused on promoting the development of clean energy, electricity production is the number one source of greenhouse gases on the planet—more than driving and flying combined. The monthly cost of home utility and energy bills continue to skyrocket, and finding effective ways of saving money at home has never been more critical. 

So, how can you cut down on household energy costs? Here are 65 ways to save you energy and money in the home.

1. Get an HVAC inspection

When you’re seeking avenues for how to save electricity, annual HVAC inspections should be at the top of your list. When HVAC units aren’t performing at their peak, energy costs will rise. Talk to a licensed contractor about your options for repair or consider replacing older units with a new energy-efficient home heating option that has an Energy Star rating. 

2. Schedule time for a duct inspection

In addition to inspecting your HVAC unit, the ductwork should also be checked. Air can seep out through cracks or imperfections in the ductwork and dirty ducts can decrease your heating and air conditioning efficiency, leading to higher energy costs. 

3. Upgrade your thermostat

According to the Alliance to Save Energy, programmable thermostats can save you up to 10% of your heating and cooling costs annually. Many smart thermostats can be controlled by an app, so you can monitor and change the temperature of your home even when you’re away.

4. Change the temperature on your thermostat

Change your thermostat settings in the summer and winter to conserve more energy and keep your home at an optimal temperature. The ideal temperature for summer is 78 degrees Fahrenheit when you’re home while the best temperature for winter is 68 degrees when you’re home. For safety purposes, make sure you set your thermostat in the winter at 55 degrees Fahrenheit when you’re away to prevent pipes from freezing.

5. Close air vents

In any room that you don’t frequent, such as the guest bedroom, craft room, or storage area, closing off the vents is an excellent method to reduce your electricity usage. As a bonus, closing the vents may increase the efficiency of your HVAC output in the rest of your home, making your space more comfortable.

6. Install ceiling fans

If you think ceiling fans are only helpful to cool things off, think again. When a ceiling fan is set to run clockwise, warm air from the ceiling is pushed down into the room. In the summer, switch the direction of the fan so that the blades run counterclockwise to provide a cooling effect throughout the space.

7. Upgrade to heavy drapes and blinds

When looking for ways to save on electricity costs year-round, examine your window treatments. Heavy drapes and blinds can prevent heat from entering your home in the summer and keep heat from escaping your home during the winter. In the winter months, open the window coverings wide on a sunny day to take advantage of the sun’s heating power—just be sure to close them before the sun goes down to retain your solar gain.

8. Invest in new windows

Energy-efficient windows that are double- or triple-paned are an excellent solution for keeping your home at the desired temperature all year long. Check with your local electric company and state agencies to see if there are energy rebates available for installing energy-efficient windows. This could save you money and cut down on the amount of energy you spend.

9. Plant trees

If your home is bathed in sunlight, consider planting trees or shade plants on the sunny side of your house to diffuse heat. Place bushes, trees, and shrubs strategically around your HVAC unit—landscaping that casts shadows over the system will allow the unit to operate more efficiently, even on the hottest days.

10. Replace your HVAC air filter

If your heating and air conditioning system runs all year long, you should change the air filter at least twice a year. In dry, dusty climates, you may want to replace the filter every month to maximize efficiency. Air filters are easy to swap out and are available at most hardware or home improvement stores.

11. Keep ventilation fan use at a minimum

Ventilation fans in the bathroom and kitchen are great for removing moisture and odors, but they also remove your heated and cooled air. Use the fans as needed, but don’t leave them on for more than 10 to 15 minutes at a time.

12. Check doors and windows for leaks

The weather stripping around doors can dry out, crack, tear, and fail, causing air to seep in and out of your home. The same holds true for windows as caulking can start to deteriorate when the weather gets cooler. Set a reminder to check your windows and doors each fall and caulk and replace weather stripping as necessary.

Read more: How to Insulate Windows

13. Inspect your basement, crawlspace, and attic

Homes of any age can settle, causing cracks in seals and exterior walls. Check your attic, basement, and crawlspace for any cracks or openings that need to be filled to help keep your home at an optimal temperature.

14. Don’t block air vents

In the summer or winter, air must circulate freely throughout your home. Don’t block air vents with curtains or furniture, and keep clutter away from vents to encourage efficient circulation.

15. Keep interior doors open

If you’re heating or cooling the air in your home, keep doors open to allow for efficient circulation. Of course, if you have unused rooms with vents that are blocked off or closed, keep those doors closed to save on electricity costs.

16. Use rugs on tile floors

If you have radiant floor heating in your house, set the temperature lower in the winter months and use area rugs to conserve warmth. Area rugs will help retain the heat generated and keep your feet warm on chilly days.

17. Close the chimney flue

A roaring fire is a great way to add warmth and ambiance to your home. However, after you’re done using the fireplace and the fire has died down, close the flue. When the flue is left open, the chimney sucks out the heated or cooled air from your home even when there’s no fire in the fireplace.

18. Choose light-colored roofing materials

The sun loves to heat up dark surfaces, including roofs. The next time you repair your roof or replace it entirely, consider choosing a lighter-colored roofing material or one that uses reflective features to reduce the buildup of heat during the summer months. If you live in a cold climate where cooling in the summer isn’t a challenge, a darker roof can help to heat your home during the winter months.

19. Unplug energy vampires

Did you know that up to 10% of monthly energy bills is linked to energy vampires? Energy vampires are devices that continue to use and drain energy, even when the device is turned off. Common energy vampires include phone and tablet chargers that are left plugged into the socket, computers and televisions on “standby” mode, non-Energy Star appliances, and anything that remains plugged in that isn’t in use.

20. Unplug all electronics when out of town

When you go on a vacation or leave town for an extended period, unplug your TVs, computers, and other home appliances that won’t be used while you’re away.

21. Use power strips

Choose a power strip that can be turned off when not in use. Some smart power strips can even be operated via an app or Amazon Alexa, so you can remember to turn off your power strips when you’re away.

22. Turn off the lights

One of the simplest measures you can take to save energy around the home is to turn off lights when they’re not in use. As soon as you leave a room, simply flick off the light switch.

23. Replace incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient bulbs

Incandescent bulbs can cost a fortune to operate while LED light bulbs use a tiny fraction of the energy and last significantly longer.

24. Install dimmer switches on lights

In hallways, bathrooms, and other areas of the home, dimmer switches can be used to reduce the electrical wattage consumed. Opt for smart dimmer switches that you can control by an app for ultimate flexibility.

25. Put timers on lights

Light timers are an excellent way to conserve energy costs and increase security inside and outside of your home. Consider connecting your hallway lamp to a timer and schedule it to turn on right before returning from work, or have your outdoor flood lights connected to a timer to turn on as soon as you leave the house for the night.

26. Replace old appliances with Energy Star appliances

Seeking out models with an Energy Star rating can save you $4.50 for every $1 spent on electricity. This Energy Star label can be found on a variety of appliances, including refrigerators, ovens, washers, and dryers.

27. Turn down your hot water heater temperature

Turning down the temperature on your hot water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit can save you up to $60 each year.

Read more: How to Set Your Water Heater Temperature

28. Replace your hot water heater with a tankless water heater

Tankless water heaters heat water “on the fly” instead of constantly keeping water heated it in a large tank. They’re popular because of their energy efficiency and they cost less to operate without compromising hot water in the home.

29. Adjust television and computer screen settings

Lower the contrast and brightness levels on all computers, tablets, and television sets to decrease the amount of electricity your household consumes. In fact, reducing your computer monitor brightness from 100% to 70% can save up to 20% of the energy the computer monitor uses.

30. Use “sleep” and “hibernate” modes

Instead of using screen savers on your computers, change the settings to have the computers go into hibernate or sleep mode to save on electricity costs.

31. Wash full loads of laundry

Whenever possible, wash full loads of laundry (instead of small or partial loads) to decrease energy and water consumption.

32. Use cold water during the wash cycle

Roughly 75% of the energy used in a laundry cycle goes toward heating up the water. Wash your clothes in cold water to save energy and put less pressure on the electricity grids. Not to mention, washing your clothes in cold water can prevent them from fading faster (hot water can break down the dye found in clothing and cause your clothes to shrink). 

33. Lengthen the spin cycle

If your washing machine allows you to increase the amount of time or the speed of the spin cycle, do it. While the cycle may be longer, spinning removes more water and saves significant time in the dryer. 

34. Dry clothes on a lower temperature

Choose the “fluff” or low-temperature settings when drying your clothes over the high heat settings. This will also help keep your clothes in tact and prevent fraying or shrinkage.

35. Take clothes out of the dryer before they’re completely dry

Remove clothing and bedding before they’re completely dry and allow them to air dry for a few hours. You can also choose to forego the dryer altogether and air dry your clothes from the start.

36. Keep the dryer filter clean

Keeping your dryer filter clean can save your $101 annually in utility costs. After every load, remove lint from the filter; once a month, vacuum around the filter insert with a shop vac to keep the dryer running at peak performance.

37. Keep your refrigerator out of the sun

During the summer months, many refrigerators work double time to keep food at the proper temperature. If your refrigerator is bathed in the afternoon sunlight, consider moving it to a darker spot in the kitchen where there’s an outlet. 

38. Don’t overstuff your refrigerator

Refrigerators work by circulating cool air. If your refrigerator is overstuffed with food items and drinks, the airflow becomes impeded, causing increased energy consumption.

39. Stuff your freezer

Unlike your refrigerator, freezers are more efficient when they’re nearly full or full. If you have only a few frozen foods in your freezer, fill a few water or milk jugs with water and keep them in the freezer. This simple act will help keep your freezer at the optimal temperature and encourage less energy consumption. As a bonus, if your power goes out, frozen jugs of water can be used in your refrigerator to keep food cool until the power comes back on. 

40. Vacuum cooling coils annually

Move your refrigerator and freezer away from the wall and vacuum the hair, dirt, and grime off of the back of the appliances to improve their energy efficiency. Do this task at least once a year or more frequently if you have pets.

41. Replace the refrigerator door seals

The soft rubber seals around the door of your refrigerator should be replaced at least once a year to keep warm air from seeping into the refrigerator. You can purchase replacement seals from most home improvement stores.

42. Allow cooked food to cool

Before putting leftovers in the refrigerator, allow them to adjust to room temperature to preserve the temperature of your refrigerator and save on electricity costs.

43. Cook outside in the summer

To keep your kitchen from overheating and your air conditioner from working overtime, cook outside whenever possible during the summer months. Use your grill and your outdoor kitchen instead of the oven or microwave.

44. Use the oven sparingly

For small meals, consider using an energy-efficient toaster oven instead of your large oven. Preheating the oven and baking food for an extended period can raise your energy bill. 

45. Use the microwave for reheating food

To reheat leftovers, opt for the microwave or stovetop instead of the oven. 

46. Keep the oven clean

A dirty oven may require more energy to bring it to the proper temperature. Clean your oven at least once a month to save on energy costs and don’t forget to clean your oven racks, as well.

47. Match the burner to the pan size

Small pans on large burners allow up to half of the energy to be diffused. Using large pans on small burners isn’t efficient either, as it can take twice as long to bring a large pan to the proper temperature on a small burner.

48. Use heat-efficient cookware

Copper-bottom pans, cast iron skillets, and enameled iron pans retain heat more efficiently than other types of traditional cookware.

49. Use shorter dishwasher cycles

Use “economy” or “quick” dishwasher cycles to consume less energy when washing your dishes. 

50. Open the dishwasher and air dry the dishes

A heated dry cycle consumes the majority of the energy during the cleaning process. Open the dishwasher door a few inches after the wash cycle is complete and pull out the top rack to air dry the dishes.

51. Don’t wash dishes before loading

Though it may be necessary to remove large chunks of food from dishes before loading them in the dishwasher, they don’t have to be completely scrubbed and spotless before a wash cycle. Simply rinse the plate under cold water for a few seconds and load it into the dishwasher.

52. Load your dishwasher properly

Place cups, glasses, and small bowls in the top rack of your dishwasher, load utensils in the silverware basket, and put larger items, like plates and serving bowls, in the bottom rack.

53. Fix leaky faucets and running toilets immediately

A leaky faucet can waste hundreds of gallons of water a year and raise your monthly water and energy bills if not addressed immediately. The same goes for running toilets, as they can also cause significant water loss and increased utility bills.

54. Install low-flow showerheads

One of the best tips for saving electricity is to install a low-flow, aerated showerhead that provides the pressure you desire while conserving hot water.

Read more: The Best Showerheads

55. Bask in natural lighting

During the day, throw open the curtains and blinds and take advantage of the natural light coming through your windows. Not only will your eyes thank you for the adjustment, your energy bills won’t be as high.

56. Switch to LED holiday lights

If you love to decorate for the holidays, switch to LED lights or fiber-optic light decorations to save on electricity costs. 

57. Limit how long your holiday displays run

Set a timer for holiday lighting displays so that the lights come on just after sunset and automatically shut off before bedtime.

58. Schedule your holiday baking

If you bake cookies, pies, and cakes throughout the holiday season, consider consolidating your baking activities to one day to take advantage of a hot oven. Even better—host a holiday cookie swap with your friends and neighbors to get a wide variety of holiday goodies without as much work.

59. Reduce how much daily water you use

Take shorter showers and turn off the faucet when you’re brushing your teeth or shaving. This can reduce your hot water usage over time.

60. Consider using solar energy

Talk to your utility company about adding solar panels to your home. In some areas of the country, utility companies actually purchase the excess energy homes produce, reducing the cost of solar even more. 

61. Find the “off-peak” electric hours

Many people don’t realize that electricity costs can vary depending on the time of day you’re using power. Often, power rates are lower after 8:00 pm and before 6:00 am. This 10-hour period is an excellent time to operate appliances like the washer and dryer, dishwasher, and oven. Additionally, off-peak hours are a great time to recharge your phones, laptops, and tablets.

62. Purchase an energy monitor

Energy monitors can determine how much energy each home appliance uses every month. These monitors show how much energy is wasted and where you can make small changes that add up to significant savings throughout the year. Simply plug the monitor directly into a wall and watch it measure the amount of electricity a device plugged into the monitor consumes.

63. Optimize your insulation

Insulation reduces the exchange of heat through your walls, attic, pipes, ductwork, and roofing. Well-insulated homes prevent warm air from escaping in the winter and cool air from escaping in the summer, reducing the amount of energy needed for heating and cooling your home. Check with your building codes to determine the type of insulation you should add in your home.

64. Perform a home energy audit

A home energy audit is a room-by-room assessment of your house that tells you how much energy you’re using, where you’re losing energy, and what you could be doing to save more.

65. Opt for HERS testing

Similar to a home energy audit, HERS testing examines a home’s energy efficiency and notes areas where energy efficiency can be improved. Though this testing is performed all over the U.S., it’s required in California. You can expect a professional to perform a duct leakage test, a refrigerant charge verification, and airflow verification.

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