Five Practical Cost-Free Tips to Reduce Energy Costs

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.

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19 Responses to “Five Practical Cost-Free Tips to Reduce Energy Costs”

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  1. Cristine says:

    Completely agree with unplugging appliances. Not only does it save money, but it is a fire safety issue. Did you know that fires can start from those items? I learned this info at a fire safety class. I try to unplug everything that isn’t in current use.
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Great list!I need to let the sunshine in more often.

  3. I have a lot of drafts in my house that I need to seal…thanks for the reminder!

  4. Victoria says:

    Our biggest saver that I have noticed this past year was unplugging everything. Our light bill has been so much lower since we started this practice!

  5. Shauna says:

    I am horrible about unplugging and know that I need to do it more. We literally have something plugged into all outlets… I know, we need to change, LOL… thanks for the great tips!

  6. I think unplugging is the most difficult for me – it is such a hassle and who wants to reset the clock every day. I do know that should be better

  7. Miriam T. says:

    I had no idea that lowering the thermostat so little could make such a huge difference. I have noticed that by opening the shades, we can get the house up to a toasty 77, even when it’s freezing outside.

  8. We just completed your first tip! The door was reading at 44 degrees before we weatherized it; after it read at 67! What a huge difference $5 and 10 minutes of work made.

    • Nicole Etolen says:

      That is a huge difference!! In my old apartment, the sliding door was put in wrong or something, and it was always freezing right there. The thermostat was right next to it, so the heat was always running. We used plastic and that weather stripping stuff to seal it up. Huge difference!

  9. We’ve been working really hard with this. Reducing waste, finding better energy-efficient blubs, conserving water. It’s so important for everyone to do.

    • Nicole Etolen says:

      I agree, it is really important. It’s good for the environment, and for the budget. My next step is to reduce paper towel usage in my house. It’s a little out of control!

  10. Staci says:

    Great tips! We actually just got a new A/C unit today that I am hoping will cut down on our cooling costs this next summer. Otherwise I am passionate about conserving energy… just have to keep teaching the kids!

    • Nicole Etolen says:

      I haven’t had AC in years. I’m kind of lucky in that it takes a lot to make me too hot. I’m always cold! The newer units are supposed to be way more energy efficient though, so I may cave and get one.

  11. Love the tip about unplugging appliances. I was really surprised when I did some reading about phantom loads and how much actual energy things like your TV and game system pull even when they’re off.

    • Nicole Etolen says:

      It really does save a ton. My ex did it in his apartment, and the bill went from like $80 a month to $40 just for electric. That didn’t include heat or cooking, so it was basically all lights and appliances.

  12. I have actually found that my kids sleep better when we lower the thermostat at night – I snuggle under blankets but the kids seem to like it that cold without augmentation…

  13. I never remember to do the appliances! I also want to look into getting a timer for the the thermostat so I don’t have to remember to do that, too. Great tips and reminders!

    • Nicole Etolen says:

      Glad you like them! I really need to get a timer for my thermostat too. Especially in my son’s room. He’s gone all day and only really spends time in there to sleep. No need for the heat to be blaring!

  14. jeannu says:

    Really wonderful tips. Thanks for the great help, you saved me from paying too much for my utility bills. Very helpful information.:)

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