There are many practices that can help individuals save on their power bill. Most people are wasting power and thus adding to their utility bills unnecessarily. However if you take care to implement the following tips, you will be in a good position to start saving on your energy use.
#1: Make simple adjustments to your wasteful day-to-day behaviors
Sometimes the most effective way to reduce electricity use is with simple daily adjustments. Turning off the lights when leaving a room and learning to make that a habit, or unplugging appliances that tend to suck juice but are rarely used (think toasters, electric can openers, etc.) or phone chargers. Those things suck up the juice when plugged in...even if they're not charging anything.
Small differences like not running the dishwasher until it is completely loaded (or using the sink). Moving temperature down one degree in winter or up one degree in summer can make a huge difference. If everyone is gone for eight hours, why not just turn off the HVAC until you get back?
These are small things that make a surprisingly large difference.
#2: Replace your light bulbs with new ones
There's no question that the traditional incandescent light bulbs are extremely inefficient and the majority of energy is wasted as heat - they use more power and give less. There are many much more energy-efficient options like LEDs, CFLs, and Halogen based bulbs, as well. Many of these last anywhere from 3-25 times as long as the old incandescent models while also using anywhere from one quarter less to 80% less electricity while often burning brighter with more light.
The up front cost is made up for in energy savings many times over.
#3: Smart power strips are your friends
Whether you want to unplug appliances or not, using smart power strips can help you save from that "phantom use" that naturally happens from anything that is plugged in. Most studies believe up to 75% of all power used by electronic devices in the house are actually used when they are hibernating or shut off. That is some expensive waste!
Smart power strips take care of that problem by shutting down the flow when not in use. They are useful, still allow you to keep things plugged in, and can easily be toggled on/off, or even in some cases set up programming.
#4: Set up a smart thermostat
There's no denying not only the energy saving benefits of a smart thermostat, but also the practical benefits that they provide. These can be set to automatically shut off the HVAC during certain times of the day, reduce waste, and in some cases even be adjusted on a room to room basis.
These thermostats can often save up to $180 a year - even more for especially large homes. They may even tell you when it is time to change air filters.
#5: Focus on energy efficient appliances
Many people know about this step, and there's a reason it is so popular. Appliances are generally responsible for 13-15% of your total energy use in a house. While these might cost a little bit more up front, once again the operating costs are far lower than normal models meaning you are saving money every single month for an extended period of time.
Those savings really add up and if you spend the extra money up front for ENERGY STAR labeled appliances, you're going to see that savings make a huge difference over time. This type of appliance must pass federal standards to use that label and they use less energy, less water, but still get the job done. That being said, the savings will differ depending on the appliance. Extremely wasteful appliances like washing machines see giant savings moving to an ENERGY STAR model will fridges are going to be much lower in energy savings - but not insubstantial.
#6: Get an energy efficient water heater
An efficient water heater is a huge part of helping to save on utility bills. Not only does this reduce the energy it takes to heat up the water, but you can use less hot water to get the same important work done. Insulating the water heater and pipes the right way can further those savings, as can bleeding radiators according to here. That being said, remember that there is a limit. Tankless water heaters won't be great for a large family, for example.
That being said, the right high quality water heater can help you save for 10-15 years and that's nothing to blow off or underestimate. They really add up! While the price differences can be eye opening between a conventional model or an energy efficient model you need to take a look at the long-term numbers to get the best sense of how these can work for you and your energy savings plan.
#7: Get energy efficient windows installed in your home
You would be amazed by how many people completely overlook just how much energy is wasted if you have old windows in the home. Windows are a huge source of wasted energy both in summer months with air conditioning escaping the home, allowing the interior temperature to warm faster and in cold months with heat leaking out forcing the heat to kick back on. In fact many homes with conventional windows may find anywhere from 10% to a jaw dropping 25% of their heating bill can be accounted for directly from leakage through windows.
Energy efficient windows with double pane design can drastically cut down on that loss and depending on how much energy was being lost, can make a huge bottom line difference to your heating and cooling bills. If you are in a challenging climate where too much heat coming in through window glass can be a problem, then you should now that the right energy efficient window coatings where reduce that direct light heat, not only saving you money but making the interior of your home more comfortable as well.