There are lots of ways to conserve electricity, gas and water to lower your utility bills, but some strategies require costly equipment or barely move the needle. Other methods may only be cost effective if green government programs provide a rebate.
Those aren’t the energy saving strategies you’ll find on this list. Below is a rundown of ways you can save a ton of energy without spending much.
Ways to Save Electricity
Compare electric providers – If you live in a deregulated energy area you can lower the costs without using fewer kilowatt-hours by choosing the provider with the best rate. For an example of an electric plan comparison site, click here.
Use a programmable thermostat to dramatically reduce AC use and save around $150 a year.
Bump your HVAC up to 78 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer and down to 68 degrees in the winter.
Use fans to offset the AC temperature by as much as 4 degrees Fahrenheit.
Keep lamps and other heat sources away from the thermostat so it doesn’t throw off the temperature reading.
Wear socks, sweaters and jackets instead of turning the temperature up in the winter.
Switch from incandescent light bulbs to CFLs or LEDs. They are up to 75% more efficient and last much longer. Incandescent lights also put off a lot of heat, which causes energy waste in the summer.
Inspect air ducts annually and plug up any leaks to reduce energy waste by as much as 20%.
Turn the temperature setting on your water heater down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll save up to 5% for every 10 degrees that you lower the temperature.
Put electronics on advanced power strips to eliminate vampire power.
Keep your refrigerator and freezers full so the equipment can stay cool with less effort.
Check the temperature settings on your refrigerator and freezer. The fridge should be set at 40 degrees Fahrenheit and freezers should be set to 0 degrees.
Defrost refrigerators and freezers to optimize efficiency.
Air-dry laundry whenever possible instead of using the dryer.
Always wait to use the dryer until you have a full load of laundry.
Strategically use natural light to illuminate and warm your home.
Caulk around the doors and windows to plug up air leaks. A few bucks could save you hundreds of dollars over the course of a year.
Clean or replace furnace and HVAC air filters at least once every 2-3 months for optimized airflow.
Keep the fireplace damper closed when it’s not in use.
Close the vents in rooms that aren’t used frequently.
Ways to Save Water
Wash full loads of laundry. If you have to wash a small load of laundry adjust the water level settings to reflect the size of the
Wash full loads in the dishwasher.
Use a dishwasher instead of hand-washing to conserve water.
Wipe dishes clean with a paper towel instead of rinsing them.
Take showers instead of baths.
Put a weight in your toilet tank to reduce the amount of water used each time you flush.
Use a low-flow showerhead or adjust the pressure setting so less water pours out.
Install aerators on faucets to reduce water pressure.
Repair water leaks as soon as you find them, especially if they are hot water leaks. A faucet that drips one time per second wastes approximately 8.6 gallons a day.
Turn off the water while you’re washing your face or brushing your teeth.
Ways to Save Gas
*Many of the electricity and water saving tips that reduce heating needs also lower monthly gas use. Focus on those tips and you’ll double your savings.
Wash clothes with cold water – It will significantly reduce the amount of water that needs to be heated, which saves gas and electricity.
Opt for the microwave or a toaster oven over the regular oven or stovetop whenever possible.
Make meals in bulk so you only have to use the oven once.
Make sure pans are tightly covered to reduce heating times.
Only pre-heat an oven if the recipe directions call for it.
Low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators will also reduce the gas use because less hot water is being used.
Put a timer on your hot water heater so it doesn’t run while you’re not at home.
Put insulation around the water heater and the first six feet of piping.
Put your dishwasher on the “energy saver” or low temperature setting.
Turn off the “heat-dry” setting on the dishwasher.
Avoid using the “rinse hold” option on a dishwasher since it uses up to seven gallons of hot water.
Dry loads of laundry back-to-back so less heat is needed.
Clean the lint filter before using the dryer so air flow and performance isn’t reduced.
Put a towel in the dryer with lightweight fabrics to reduce drying time.
Try a few of these tips and see how much energy and money you can save. Remember our future depends on what we do today. Conserving energy and water can help save the planet and ensure a healthier and safer world for our children!