10 Easy Ways to Save on Energy at Home

You can save money and lower your utility bills with these tips for energy efficiency.


| July 21, 2009


These days, it’s more of a win-win than ever to save on energy. Every time you lower your utility bills, you put more money back in your bank account. And lower energy bills also means less energy consumed, which means less harmful emissions released into our environment. And what makes this an even better deal is you don’t have to overhaul your home (or buy a new one) to make it more energy efficient. There are many easy, effective things that you can do, with little investment and little or no DIY experience, to save energy at home. Here’s a list of 10 ideas to get you started.

1. Minimize Phantom Loads

The term “phantom load” refers to the energy that an appliance or electronic device consumes when it is not actually turned on. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), “In the average home, 75 percent of the electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off.” A report from the University of California Berkeley says that phantom loads account for about 6 percent of all national residential electricity consumption. You can eliminate phantom loads by unplugging appliances and electronics when you are not using them, or by plugging them into a power strip, and turning the strip off when they are not in use. For more information, see Save Energy, Eliminate Phantom Loads.

2. Use More Energy-efficient Appliances

If you are shopping for new appliances, make sure to look for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star label before making a purchase. Energy Star appliances use between 10 and 50 percent less energy and water than their conventional counterparts. They may cost more than appliances without the Energy Star designation, but in most cases they will more than make up that additional cost through energy savings.

3. Change Your Light Bulbs

One of the least expensive and most effective changes you can make in your home is replacing your light bulbs. According to Energy Star, one of its qualified compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL), which cost just a few dollars, “will save about $30 over its lifetime and pay for itself in about 6 months. It uses 75 percent less energy and lasts about 10 times longer than an incandescent bulb.” Although some people are concerned because CFLs contain mercury, Energy Star says that CFLs do not release any mercury when in use, and actually reduce mercury emissions because they lessen the need for electricity from power plants that emit mercury. Learn more at Energy Star’s CFLs and Mercury page. For more energy-efficient lighting, see Bright Ideas for Home Lighting.

4. Install a Programmable Thermostat

Programmable thermostats work by automatically adjusting your home’s temperature to your schedule, keeping it comfortable only when you need it to be. If you don’t already adjust your thermostat throughout the day, a programmable thermostat could save you as much as 15 percent on heating and cooling costs. For more information on programmable thermostats, including a step-by-step guide to installing one, check out How to Install a Programmable Thermostat.

5. Use Fans for Cooling

In the summer, use stationary, ceiling and whole-house fans to cool your home, reducing the need for air conditioning. Simple Ways to Cool Your Home and Save Big explains that for every degree you raise your thermostat, you reduce your cooling costs between 7 and 10 percent.

JAMESV
1/31/2018 3:08:28 PM

Article is from 2009. That's why there's CFLs.


JAMESV
1/31/2018 3:08:26 PM

Article is from 2009. That's why there's CFLs.


PAUL
1/29/2018 10:08:03 AM

Item #3. If CFLS are throw into the trash, they might be broken. If that happens the water systems might be contaminated by the mercury. I once read that just 1 drop of mercury in the water supply will wreck 6,000 gallons of water. Mother Earth News should be promoting LEDS! Sure they are more expensive but they won't be wrecking the earth!! How many people just throw






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