In celebration of “Cut Your Energy Costs Day,” I thought I would offer 5 practical tips to reduce energy costs. Note the keyword “practical.” I’ve done a lot of articles over the years on reducing energy costs for other sites, and I’ve read even more while doing research. While they’re all great, the majority of us don’t have the budget to go out and buy all new Energy Star appliances or install solar panels on our roofs. Still, we want to do our part to save the environment, and save a little money at the same time. These tips don’t cost anything to implement (unless you go the extra step in a couple of them, or don’t happen to have spare towels and blankets lying around).

Five Practical Cost-Free Tips to Reduce Energy Costs

  1.  Check for drafts and seal them up. This can be as easy as rolling up a towel and sticking it at the base of your door or covering your windows with plastic to insulate them a bit better. One way to check for drafts is to walk around with a candle, waiting for the flame to flicker.
  2. Lower the heat and double up on blankets at bedtime. Did you know that lowering your thermostat just one degree can reduce energy costs by up to 3%. If you can drop your thermostat from, say, 70 degrees to 65 degrees in your bedroom at night, that’s a savings of up to 15% off your energy bill! So grab your favorite snugly blanket, throw on a pair of fleece jammies, and turn down the heat.
  3. Unplug appliances that aren’t in use. Most electronics and appliances still drain your power even when they’re not in use. Unplugging these things can save you a bundle. Make it easy on yourself by using a power strip with a control outlet that turns off the other devices when it’s powered down. I have the Bits Limited strip, and works great.
  4. Let the sunshine in. Open your curtains and let the sun come streaming in during the day. The sunlight will help heat the room, much the way your car is less cold when you leave it sitting in a sunny parking spot on a cold day. At night, close the curtains to keep the heat inside.
  5. Vacuum the vents. Vacuum all your heating vents and baseboards. Dust isn’t only dangerous because it can catch fire, but it also makes your heaters less efficient.