10 ways to cut down your home energy costs

Man changing out a light bulb

Spend less on your monthly bills with these tips

In today's world, where environmental concerns are on the rise and utility bills continue to climb, finding ways to lower home energy costs has become a priority for many homeowners and renters. Fortunately, there are several practical strategies that not only reduce energy consumption but also contribute to a more sustainable lifestyle. 

1. Invest in energy-efficient appliances

One of the most impactful steps you can take to lower your home energy costs is to invest in energy-efficient appliances. Look for products with the Energy Star label, which indicates that the appliance meets strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Switching out appliances is expensive, so it's best to do it over time and during big sales. If you're ready to start upgrading, start with the appliances that you use the most, like a refrigerator or dishwasher. 

2. Switch out your light bulbs

Replace traditional incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient alternatives like LED or CFL bulbs. The U.S. Department of Energy states that Energy Star LED bulbs use at least 75% less energy, and last up to 25 times longer, than incandescent lighting.

3. Use your dishwasher instead of hand washing

Contrary to popular belief, using a dishwasher is more energy-efficient than hand washing dishes. Modern dishwashers are designed to use water and energy more efficiently, and on average, Energy-Star certified dishwashers will save you 5,000 gallons of water each year. Dishwashers also save you a lot of time and sanitize your dishes much better than hand-washing can. 

For further cost savings, don't run a heated dry cycle on your dishwasher! Instead, if your dishwasher has the function, use the air dry setting.

4. Ensure your home is well insulated and air sealed

Proper insulation is crucial for maintaining a comfortable temperature inside your home, reducing the need for excessive heating or cooling. Inspect your home for gaps, leaks, and inadequate insulation, and invest in insulation improvements where needed.

5. Replace or clean filters

Regularly replace or clean filters in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Dirty filters can obstruct airflow, forcing these systems to work harder and use more energy. By maintaining clean filters, you can optimize their efficiency and reduce energy consumption.

6. Use advanced or smart power strips

Phantom energy, also known as standby power, can contribute significantly to your electricity bill. Combat this by using advanced or smart power strips that automatically cut off power to devices not in use. This prevents them from consuming energy when idle.

You can also invest in smart power strips that can be managed remotely from your phone. This way, if you accidentally leave appliances and things plugged in while away, you can cut power and save on your bill. 

7. Run appliances during off-peak times

Many utility companies offer lower rates during off-peak hours. Take advantage of this by running major appliances, such as washing machines and dishwashers, during times when energy demand is lower. This can result in substantial savings over time.

If you're not sure whether your utility company offers discounts for off-peak hours, just give them a call! Some companies may require you to switch to a time-of-use rate plan. 

8. Turn off your lights

A simple but often overlooked tip is to turn off lights when they are not needed. Encourage family members to develop the habit of switching off lights when leaving a room to conserve energy and reduce electricity costs.

If you struggle to remember to turn your lights off, consider investing in motion detector or smart lights. 

9. Wash clothing in cold water

Heating water accounts for a significant portion of energy consumption in laundry. Wash your clothes in cold water whenever possible. Modern laundry detergents are formulated to clean effectively in lower temperatures, providing both energy savings and maintaining clothing quality.

10. Use solar power when possible

Solar power is a sustainable and cost-effective way to lower your home's energy costs. Consider installing solar panels on your roof to generate electricity, reducing your reliance on the grid and potentially qualifying for government incentives.

We know that switching your whole home over to solar can be quite the investment, even with government incentives, but there are small ways you can still include solar in your energy use. Read this article from CNET for four solar products you can use to start your switch to solar off small. 

You're on your way to an energy-efficient home!

Lowering home energy costs is not only helpful financially, but also contributes to a more sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle. These 10 tips aren't the only ways you can cut down on your home energy costs, so if you're serious about cutting your utility bill, this is just the beginning.