12 Energy Saving Tips to Save You Money

Everyone loves to save money, but did you know you can do so every day with these energy saving tips that will reduce your electric bill? In addition to saving money, lower energy use also means you’re doing your part to cut back on global warming and those nasty climate change effects we’ve been experiencing. 

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Energy Saving Tips

You’ve heard of the 12 Days of Christmas, right?  Well, here are the 12 energy saving tips for winter. Ok, year-round really. Starting from the easier, lower up-front cost methods, check out how you can easily conserve energy and save money during the winter and beyond. 

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1 - Change Your Ceiling Fans & Vent Directions

Remember how your science teacher told you hot rises and cold air falls?  Well, that is key to optimize air flow and keep your thermostat at a lower setting saving you money.

For ceiling fans during winter, make sure the blades turn clockwise to pull the cool air up.  Reverse them in the summer.

For register vents during winter, you want the cool air drawn in while the hot air remains in the room to keep you warm so open the floor/bottom registers and close the ceiling/top registers. Again, reverse this in the summer.

2 – Turn Down the Water Heater Temperature

Most hot water heater manufacturer’s specifications state to set to your hot water heater to 140°F. However, this is not necessary – for health or energy purposes.  As CNET notes, it’s easy to set you water heater to 120°F to save money on energy bills.

3 – Turn Your Thermostat Down

Want to save as much as 10% this winter on your heating bills? Energy.gov says you can by adjusting your thermostat to 68°F degrees during the day and lowering it 7°-10°F for 8 hours (while you’re asleep), you can see real savings this winter.

Thermostat at 68 degrees image is a tip on how to save energy

4 – Eliminate Home Air Leaks

Door with air gap is a way not to save energy or money in winter

Most American homes lose hundreds of dollars a year on heating and cooling bills simply through leaky and drafty windows and doors.  According to Energy.gov, you can save up to 20% on your energy bills just by sealing those cracks. Check out HouseLogic’s easy ways to tackle those drafts.

5 – Adjust Fridge and Freezer Temps

Just assume you can plug in your refrigerator and freezer and forget about them? Not so!  Both appliances can be costing you money if the temperatures are set too low. For better savings, keep the refrigerator no lower than 38-40°F (around 3-5°C) and the freezer no lower than 5°F (around -15-18°C). If you’re unsure on your appliance’s temperature, test with a thermometer. CarbonTrack has some additional refrigerator and freezer tips for best savings.  

Fridge thermometer images show settings on how to save energy in winter

6 – Replace HVAC Air Filters

Want another inexpensive way to chip away at the energy bill?  Keep your HVAC air filters clean.  Air filters should be replaced every 3 to 12 months, depending on the filter thickness. Changing out your filters also reduces the possibility of HVAC maintenance costs and keep your HVAC system working better longer.

HVAC filters clean and dirty
Clean vs. dirty filters
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7 – Take Shorter Showers

Ok, now this strategy costs you NO money. You can also end up saving yourself some time! In cutting back your shower time you can achieve a triple-win of lowering your water use, energy use, as well as your energy and water bills. If you need help, use a timer. 

For more of an impact, also lower the flow of water by using a WaterSense low-flow showerhead that uses no more than 2 gallons of water per minute.  For less than $10 on a showerhead, it’s an inexpensive investment.

8 – LED Light Bulbs and Holiday Lights

Another no brainer – LED light bulbs!  Why would you purchase an incandescent bulb that runs hot and lasts less?  LED bulbs are safer, inexpensive, and last thousands of hours longer than an incandescent. For a bonus, check out EnergyStar to see if you can qualify for a rebate.  EarthLED has compiled a list of area commercial rebates for your convenience. 

Note:  Incandescent bulbs contain mercury so please do not throw them away.  For proper disposal, contact your municipality or your local hardware store to see if they will dispose of them for you.

9 – Lighting Controls

Lighting controls are a great way to “fix it and forget it”, if you will, on your indoor and outdoor lighting.  As Energy.gov, states, dimmers, timers and motion sensors take the worry out of having to turn off lights for you when they are not in use. This can amount to huge energy and money savings over time for such a small investment.  Consider putting your indoor and outdoor holiday lights on them, too!

10 – Water Heater Blanket

If you have an older model water heater, consider getting a water heater blanket to cut the time it takes to heat up your water. Starting at around $20, you can’t go wrong.  Even better, see if your local utility will provide one for you.

2 Water heaters without blanket and with blanket

Newer model water heaters have insulation built in, so no need to worry there.  However, no matter what model you have, make sure you also have the water heater’s hot water pipe insulated well.  Every little bit helps!

11 – Smart Thermostats

Want the flexibility to adjust your thermostat away from home for more control on your energy bill?  Consider the latest smart thermostats available, like the ecobee4 Smart Thermostat.

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Starting at $40 there are many smart thermostat models to choose from.  Check out PCMag’s breakdown of their list of best smart thermostats. Of course, don’t forget to ensure your choice is one of the EnergyStar certified smart thermostats and if there is an available rebate.

12 – EnergyStar Appliances

With a little more upfront expense, but surely to provide a payback over time, consider upgrading your small and large appliances to EnergyStar certified appliances.

Energy Star logo-blue

DirectEnergy reviewed 2015 appliances and suggested you could have saved $2 to $40 a year, depending on the appliance, using an EnergyStar certified appliance compared to a non-EnergyStar certified appliance. Check out their cheat sheet. 

Want More Money and Energy Saving Tips?

Take a few minutes to reach out to your local utilities to see what rebates and energy assessments they offer.  My electrical utility did an energy assessment for free! 

Also check out who partners with EnergyStar for additional savings.  Sometimes these wonderful opportunities are not advertised well (or at all), so doing a little inquiring on your end could bring you bigger savings, not just for your wallet but on climate change effects as well. 

Even better - get your FREE Energy Conservation Tips Checklist below!
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Gwen

Gwen

Gwen is the Founder of CORR Concepts and a Sustainability professional with an MBA in Sustainable Enterprises and LEED AP ID+C accreditation from the GBCI. She is also the Founder of the www.CORRTravel.com solo travel blog. As a Sustainability professional and Earth Steward, environmental sustainability and biodiversity protection is her "religion" while travel is her passion.

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