Steadily increasing inflation rates have also impacted utility bills, and the expectation is that most energy prices will continue to rise in the near future. Today, the average American family spends more than $5,600 per year on utilities (including electricity, gas, water, water waste, internet, and phone services), with electricity being the most expensive.
In fact, most households spend between $150 and $300 per month on electricity alone. However, there are a lot of easy ways you can conserve energy and save money on your utility bills. Read on to learn our top ways to save money by conserving energy at home:
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF NATURAL LIGHT
Open the curtains and let the sunlight in. This is one of the easiest and best ways to reduce your electricity usage. Plus, natural light can also increase serotonin levels in your brain, which helps you feel happier and more relaxed.
Try to arrange your workspace and other heavily used areas of your home so that sunlight fills them during the day. Use lightweight curtains or blinds that offer privacy, but still let natural light filter through.
TURN OFF AND UNPLUG ELECTRONICS
Another way to significantly reduce energy usage is to turn off and unplug any electronics when you aren’t using them. Turn off lights when you leave rooms, set your TV on a timer so it shuts off after a certain time, and put your computer into sleep mode (or shut it down) at the end of the day.
Unplug “energy vampires,” or devices that continue to draw power even when they aren’t being used like “power bricks,” game consoles, coffee makers, wall chargers, and other devices. This can actually account for 5 – 10% of your power bill.
REPLACE LIGHT BULBS
LED light bulbs are slightly more expensive up front, but they are nearly 90% more energy efficient. Plus, they have a longer lifetime, so you’ll replace them less often, and they generate a lot less heat. LEDs come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so there’s a probably a bulb that fits any lamp or fixture you have at home.
GET A PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTAT
Ensure your HVAC isn’t working harder than it has to and that you aren’t using more electricity or gas than necessary. Smart or programmable thermostats allow you to set a schedule for your home’s temperature so it can automatically adjust at times you’re asleep or away. It can also help keep your HVAC in top condition.
PUT LIGHTS ON A TIMER
One more easy way to save money is to put your lights on a timer—especially decorative lights for Christmas, Halloween, or other events. It can be easy to forget to turn these off but they can use up a ton of energy. Plugging them into a timer can ensure they are only on for a few hours instead of 24/7.
USE LESS HOT WATER
It takes a ton of energy to heat a tank of water. Not only should you ensure your hot water heater is well-insulated so it doesn’t lose too much heat unnecessarily, but you should also try to reduce your hot water usage. Take fewer baths, limit how long you’re in the shower, and wash your clothes in cold water. You can also turn down the thermostat on your water heater so it doesn’t work as hard to make the water as hot.
REDUCE APPLIANCE USE
Using your appliances less in general can also help you save energy and money. For example, many people do more laundry than necessary, so see if you can wash fewer loads per week. Or, wait until your dishwasher is completely full before running it. You can also use your toaster oven or an air fryer instead of your oven.
INSULATE AND WEATHERIZE YOUR HOME
A lot of energy goes into heating and cooling your home in the summer and winter, and if it’s not properly insulated, your HVAC appliances will be working much harder than necessary (costing you quite a bit of money).
- Make sure doors shut tight with the frame, and if not, install weather stripping.
- Ensure windows are properly sealed.
- Check your basement foundation for any cracks that may be letting air in and fill them with expanding foam.
- Determine where cold drafts are coming in from the winter (and cool air is likely escaping during the summer) and take steps to reduce the air flow.
CHOOSE ENERGY-EFFICIENT APPLIANCES
This change has the largest up-front cost but can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars over the life of the appliance. Look for products with the Energy Star label as they typically use about 10 – 40% less energy than other models. Note that appliances don’t have to just be big ones like new ovens or refrigerators. They can even include desktop computers, showerheads, and TVs. Plus, you can go even bigger by upgrading your entire HVAC system to one that’s more efficient.