One of the biggest and fastest ways to see energy saved in your home is by simply changing the type of lighting you’re using inside and out.
Get rid of the old incandescant light bulbs and put in the energy efficient “pigtail” bulbs. This one step dramatically lowers the amount of energy you’re using on a day to day basis, and can reduce your electric bill by $5 a year per bulb replaced.
Outside, switch to using solar lights for your yard, deck and porch. Solar lights use no energy at all because they get all their power from the sun.
Turn the furnace down low and wear a sweater. Better yet, install a programmable thermostat and set it up so the heat is turned down to 50 degrees during the day when the house is empty, and again at night when everyone is sleeping.
If 50 degrees is too cold for sleeping then set it at 60-65 instead, and remember that pajamas and thick comforters all keep you warm and cozy in bed at night.
3. Air Conditioning
The same energy savings can be had by taking the opposite approach with your air conditioning in the warmer months of the year. When it’s cool enough to be comfortable outside, try using a window box fan to pull that cool air inside instead of turning on the air conditioner. If you have ceiling fans, turn those on to keep the air moving around the house too. When you do turn the AC on, keep it set to 72 and 75 degrees or warmer.
4. Water Heater
Most of us have our water heat set hot enough to cause dangerous scalding, and this extra heat is wasted energy. By turning your water heater down to 140 degrees or lower, you’ll lower the amount of energy used by the hot water heater, save money on your bills, and have a safer home too.
Update your big household appliances to more energy efficient versions. Not only will this cut your electric bills each month, you’ll also get longer life from today’s modern appliances. Look for the energy star seal on new appliances, and only buy as big as you need.
6. Shade Trees
Planting shade trees around your home shelters your house from the sun, lowering indoor temperatures by 10 to 20 degrees or more, and shaving a cool 30% or more off your electricity bills.
7. Ghost Power
Many small appliances continue using power even when you think they’re turned off, because they have a standby mode. This little drain of energy adds up to a lot of power when you have multiple VCRs, DVD Players, digital clocks and other small devices. Plug small appliances into a power strip so you can flip the switch to turn them complely off.
Adjust the power management on your desktop and laptop computers, so that they’re partially or fully turned off automatically when they’re not being used. Monitors are the biggest energy hogs so set the system to turn yours off instead of turning a screen saver on. To save the most energy, turn off the entire system when it’s not in use.