Being a homeowner or renter means paying utility bills. Your electric or energy bill is the most important and probably the largest of them.
Not too long ago, our electric bill was almost $400. Honestly, we didn’t give it much thought other than adulting sucks!
But one day, while browsing my Nextdoor app, I saw somebody asked how much everybody paid for utilities. I was shocked to find out that we were paying almost $100-150 more than other people in our neighborhood on our electric bill.
It was time for some major energy-saving improvements! So, I did a ton of research to find out the best ways to conserve energy so we could save some extra money.
So, below are the best ways I found to help save the most money on utilities.
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Why should we conserve energy?
Conserving energy helps to reduce your carbon footprint and create a healthier environment for us to live in. It reduces air pollution and conserves our natural resources. This is all very important.
But, the real reason for this post is that conserving energy helps save us money! Because let’s face it, the utilities don’t come cheap.
How can you help your family conserve energy?
Here are some easy energy conservation tips to save your family the most money.
1. High-efficiency laundry detergent
Make sure you’re using HE laundry detergent. Using regular laundry detergent causes too many suds, which causes your machine to work harder to rinse them away.
Therefore, your energy consumption will be higher if your machine is working harder. This can cause your machine to have untimely mechanical problems, costing you more money!
Also, make sure you use the recommended amount of detergent for your loads. Most of us use too much detergent (which is wasting even more money).
2. Dry on low heat
Dry your clothes on the low heat setting. You’ll use less energy even if the drying cycle takes a bit longer.
Also, use the automatic setting instead of a timed setting. This way, you are not wasting energy overdrying your clothes.
3. Use dryer balls
Using dryer balls helps reduce drying time by separating the clothes and increasing airflow, which reduces energy use.
Also, dryer balls decrease static, eliminating the need for dryer sheets….saving you even more money!
4. Hang dry clothes
Consider hang-drying your clothing either on a hanging rack or a retractable clothesline. By doing this, you will eliminate the energy usage of your dryer altogether, which is a good chunk of savings.
5. Clean your lint filter
If your lint trap is full, your dryer has to work harder, increasing the energy it uses. So make sure to check your dryer’s lint filter with every laundry load to keep your dryer working efficiently.
6. Wash in cold water
It really isn’t necessary to wash in hot or warm water. According to energy.gov, switching to warm water instead of hot water can cut your energy use in half. So, switching to cold water to wash most of your laundry will save you even more.
Find out more frugal laundry tips to save even more money on laundry.
7. Set your fridge/freezer at the proper temperatures
Almost 14% of your electric bill is from your refrigerator. So, make sure to set your refrigerator and freezer to the appropriate temperatures to ensure the most energy efficiency.
The recommended refrigerator temperature is between 36-40 degrees and a freezer temperature of 0 degrees.
Don’t leave the fridge open
I don’t know how many times I walk into the kitchen and the fridge or freezer is open! I keep telling myself I am going to get a fridge lock, but I never do. If this happens to you, remind your kids to close the fridge.
Also, try to get everything you need out of the fridge at the same time. This will save the number of times you have to reopen the refrigerator.
8. Use the right size burner
I had no idea, but using the wrong burner actually wastes energy! Using a larger burner on a small pot or pan will waste over 40% of the burner’s energy. So, make sure to use the correct size burner.
9. Air dry your dishes
Air drying your dishes instead of using the heat dry will save energy use. And if you run the dishwasher overnight, your dishes will be dry by the morning.
10. Avoid using appliances that put off heat
Avoid using appliances that put off extra heat during the hottest times of the day. This will help cut down on the use of your air conditioner. Instead of the oven, use the microwave, crockpot, or grill. And make sure to dry clothes in the morning or after it cools down in the evening.
11. Slow flow faucets/showerheads
According to the EPA, installing slow flow or WaterSense showerheads could save the average family up to 2,700 gallons of water per year, which is enough energy to power a house for 11 days!
These showerheads and faucets will decrease water consumption and the demand on your water heater. Which will save you money on energy and water.
12. Take shorter showers
Set a timer to help you take shorter showers. This will cut down on the amount of heated water you use.
13. Decrease the shower temperature
Try to take slightly cooler showers to reduce the amount of heated water you use.
14. Adjust your water heater temperature
Water heating makes up 18% of your monthly energy bill, with the yearly total being between $400 and $600 a year.
So, make sure you don’t have your water heater set unnecessarily high. The recommendation is to set it to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
15. Full loads only
Your dishwasher and washing machine use nearly the same amount of energy no matter what size you wash. So, make sure you’re only washing full loads of laundry and dishes to save the most energy and money.
16. Turn off your appliances
Computers, electronics, and small appliances make up 9% of your energy bill.
Something I didn’t know about was phantom energy loss. Phantom energy is the amount of energy still consumed by the electronics even when turned off or in standby mode. So, make sure you unplug the devices when not in use.
You can pick up a smart power strip for those electronics (like a TV, game console, or computer) that you may want to leave plugged in. Smart power strips work by shutting down the power that goes to your appliances when turned off or on standby. This reduces electricity usage and decreases your energy bill.
18. Energy-efficient appliances
Old appliances tend to be energy suckers. So, if it’s time to get new appliances, get energy-efficient products to save the most on your energy bill.
Most appliances have ENERGY STAR label, a government-backed energy efficiency symbol. These ENERGY STAR-approved devices help save money and protect the environment.
19. Turn your water heater off
Make sure to turn your water heater off if you’re going to be away from your house for more than a day. It’s also best practice to turn off the main water in case of a water leak.
Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning
20. Dress appropriately
Dress for the temperature in your house. If your temperature is set to 68 degrees in the winter, layer up. If the thermostat is set to 78 degrees in the summer, dress a bit lighter to eliminate the need to lower the temperature.
21. Use an electric heated blanket
Using an electric blanket at night in the winter will help you keep the temperature cooler and still be comfortable.
22. Use a space heater
Use a space heater to warm the room instead of increasing the house temperature. This works great for younger kids who don’t know how to use a blanket yet.
23. Change your air filters
Clean air filters and vents keep your heating and air units are working efficiently. If your filters are dirty, your heating and air system work overtime, increasing energy consumption. So, check your filters monthly and change them if they are dirty or dusty.
24. Annual HVAC maintenance
Be sure to get your HVAC system serviced annually. If your system runs inefficiently, it can cost you hundreds of dollars in additional energy costs.
Some energy companies may even offer a rebate for having your system serviced, so make sure to check that out as well.
25. Use a smart thermostat
Use the app or programmable thermostat to set the times when you are out of your house so you are not unnecessarily heating or cooling your home while you’re gone. It’s awesome because you can set it and forget and enjoy the savings on your electricity!
26. Adjust your thermostat
Heating and air conditioning make up 46% of your electric bill. Therefore, adjusting your thermostat a couple degrees can save you a good deal of money.
According to EnergyHub, you can save approximately 3% for each degree you adjust your thermostat. The recommended temperature for your thermostat is…
- 78 degrees in the summer.
- 68 degrees in the winter.
27. Use ceiling fans
Using a fan helps to redistribute the warm air during the winter months and helps to cool the air in the summer. This allows you to adjust your thermostat by a couple degrees without little notice of comfort level.
Make sure your fans are spinning in the right direction. Your fan should be spinning clockwise in the summer and counterclockwise in the winter.
28. Seal your fireplace
Fireplaces are a great source of heat, but should be sealed when not in use to prevent air loss. An inflatable chimney balloon, if you don’t have a fireplace cover or doors, will help insulate it.
29. Use window coverings appropriately
During the summer, keep window shades, blinds, and curtains closed to help keep your home cool. This will help to decrease the unneeded use of your air conditioning.
In the winter, open the blinds and curtains during the warmest times of the day to let natural light in that will help warm your home.
30. Open the windows
Open the windows in the Spring and Fall to cut down on the amount of heat and air conditioning you use.
31. Keep doors closed
Keep the doors shut to unused rooms. This will help to only cool or heat the areas you are using.
32. Switch to LED light bulbs
Moreover, putting your lights on a dimmer and turning them off when not in use will help you save more.
33. Set lights on a timer
Make sure to set your Christmas lights and holiday inflatables on a timer, so they are not on all the time. This goes for any house lights you leave on for any period of time.
34. Check for drafts
Check all windows and doors to see if there are any air leaks or drafts. If so, recaulk around windows and replace weatherstrips around doors, so you’re not losing heat or cool air.
35. Use area rugs
If you have laminate, wood, or tile flooring, use area runs to help insulate your home. They work great for noise reduction too.
36. Plant shade trees
Plant trees and shrubs that can provide shade to help naturally keep your home cool and reduce the amount of AC you need.
Through your Energy Company
37. Even monthly plan
Although an even monthly plan won’t really save you money. By switching to an even monthly plan, your energy bill will be the same amount each month. Which will definitely help with your budgeting.
38. Ask for discounts or incentives
Some energy companies offer incentives or programs where energy costs at certain times are lower (usually at night). So, if you can plan accordingly, you could save more.
39. Energy audit
A home energy audit or assessment helps you to learn about your energy consumption and where you can be less wasteful.
You can save 5-30% on your energy bill by making energy-efficient upgrades suggested by the audit.
Contact your energy company to have a professional come out to do an energy audit. If you’re more of a do-it-yourself person, ENERGY STAR offers a free energy assessment you can do yourself.
When I discovered that our energy bill was significantly higher than other families in the neighborhood, I became more conscious of our energy use. Our electric bill has since come down, but there are still areas where we can improve.
Most likely, most of us are wasting energy one way or another, which increases our energy bills. So, make sure to do an energy audit, get on an even monthly plan, put these tips to use, and save the most on your energy bill.
What are some energy-saving tips are you using to save on your electricity bill? Leave a comment below!