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How do you save money on electricity and other utilities?
May 13, 2013 at 10:03 AM

Lowering the amount of electricity your family uses can save you big on your power bill. Even the smallest thing could result in huge savings.

Here are some ways to lower your utility bill:


  • Use ceiling fans to help your AC cool more efficiently. Switch ceiling fan to turn counter-clockwise in the summer, clockwise in winter.
  • Close exterior doors and windows tightly when AC is on. Turn off kitchen and bath exhaust fans.
  • Change or clean AC's air filters at least once a month and your whole AC is maintained annually.
  • Make sure your AC has a SEER rating of 15.
  • Make saving automatic: Set thermostat fan to "auto."
  • Block the sun with shades, blinds and drapes inside and awnings, trees and shrubs outside.
  • Insulate walls with foam insulation.
  • Open interior doors so cooled air flows freely throughout your home.
  • Repair leaky ducts to reduce heating and cooling costs.
  • Install attic insulation rated R-30 and sealing any attic leaks to reduce high home cooling costs.
  • Check for household leaks to make sure air isn't escaping through openings such as fireplace dampers, doors and windows. 
  • Decorate for a cooler home by hanging light-colored curtains that allow light to enter a room while blocking some of the sun’s rays, and light-colored paint to reflect heat. 
  • Close air vents in rooms you're not using •Plant trees to provide shade on the sunny side of your home.
  • Raise the temperature on your thermostat by a few degrees and install a programmable thermostat adjust your temperature during the day.


  • Cover bare floors. 
  • Raise the temperature slowly to keep your bill lower. Set thermostat to 68-70 degrees during the day, and 65-68 degrees at night.
  • Close the flue in your fireplace and install glass doors to keep in warm air. 
  • Limit use of portable heaters.
  • Don't block vents with drapes or furniture.
  • Change the filters in your heating system every month for optimum efficiency. 
  • Set thermostat to 60 degrees if going on vacation during the winter months, but don’t turn it off.
  • Heat home with sun's help:  Leave shades or blinds open during the daytime.
  • Lower thermostat every time you leave the house.


  • Buy energy-efficient compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs and replace standard and halogen bulbs.
  • Use motion-detector lights for outdoor lighting. 
  • Replace your five most-used light fixtures and/or bulbs with Energy Star products.
  • Use ttimers to turn lights on in the morning and off during the day.
  • Select light-colored or opaque lamp shades and place lamps in corners to reflect light from two walls. 


  • Use microwaves and toaster ovens to cook or warm leftovers.
  • Pull the plug on that second fridge located in the hot garage or utility room.
  • Set refrigerator temperature between 30 and 42°F.
  • Repair refrigerator door seals.
  • Replace a refrigerator bought in 1990 with an Energy Star-qualified model. 
  • Dust fridge, check and clean the coils behind the refrigerator.
  • Keep freezer full even if you do so with gallon containers of water.
  • Wash and dry several loads at once, so your dryer isn't completely cooled down for the next load. Avoid over-drying your clothes.
  • Separate wash loads into light and heavy fabrics for the shortest drying times and air-dry your lightest fabrics.
  • Vent dryer to the outside. 
  • Wash full loads of clothes when possible.
  • Clean dryer lint filter before every load.
  • Set your dishwasher on economy mode.
  • Turn off your dishwasher after the wash cycle and let your dishes air-dry.
  • Keep the oven door closed while cooking.
  • Grill out more often during the summer.
  • Use copper-bottomed pots and pans when cooking on the stove.
  • Turn off oven or burners when food is almost ready and let existing heat finish the cooking.
  • Use tight-fitting covers on pots and pans when cooking to shorten cooking time and save energy.
  • Turn off kitchen and bath fans immediately after use.

Water heating

  • Wash with cold water.
  • Check hot water pipes for leaks.
  • Install aerating, low-flow faucets and showerheads.
  • Turn off water heater until if you leave home for a few days.
  • Shorten showers.
  • Insulate first six feet of the hot and cold water pipes connected to the water heater.
  • Install a solar water heater to save energy and money by using solar power. 
  • Get an insulation wrap to help your old water heater heat in more effectively.
  • Reduce your water heater temperature setting from 140 degrees to 120 degrees.
  • Make sure you are washing a full load if you like using hot water for your laundry.
  • Repair that dripping hot water faucet.
  • Install a timer for water heater that will turn it off when not at home.


  • Plug electronics into a power strip, then turn the strip off when not in use to save in energy costs.
  • Consider a laptop instead of a desktop computer.
  • Set computer to sleep or hibernate mode instead of using a screen saver.
  • Unplug battery chargers when batteries are charged or the chargers are not in use.


  • Install high-performance windows, screens and films.
  • Install double-glazing and spectrally selective coatings to reduce heat gain and avoid cranking up your AC.


  • Reduce strain on AC by applying reflective coating.
  • Replace the roof with one with an Energy Star label.

How do you save money on electricity and other utilities?


  • JakeandEmmasMom
    May 13, 2013 at 10:13 AM

     In the summertime we keep the windows and doors that have screens open in the early morning before the sun comes up.  That way we get the breeze through the house to cool it down.  Then, when the sun starts to come up, we close all the windows and doors along with the blinds to keep the sun from shining through the windows.  This keeps the house pretty cool for most of the day.  We only turn on the AC when it gets really hot.

    I'd like to line-dry our clothes, by my husband really doesn't like the feel of clothes dried on the line.

  • RoseWall
    May 14, 2013 at 1:08 AM

    i  save the most by limiting my usage and by being vigilant behind other household members who waste. i turn off lights and other things when they have been left on and the person has left the room or building. i eliiminate waste by unplugging any item i an not using. sadly it has made me a  very unpopular person in the house i am a temporary resident at. oh well. life goes on.

  • matreshka
    May 14, 2013 at 10:06 AM

    I unplug things when not in use and keep things plugged in on a power strip.

  • specialwingz
    October 3, 2013 at 9:13 PM

    We do the majority of the things listed in the article.  One of the best things I do to save on electric in the summer and heating in the winter is to manipulate my blinds to our benefit.  In the summer, the west blinds are closed during the latter part of the day, to help keep out the heat.  In the winter, they are open, to help warm the house.

  • PurpleHazey
    October 4, 2013 at 3:00 AM

    I do all of the above.

  • aneela
    by aneela
    October 4, 2013 at 3:16 PM

    i do a lot of these on the list too

  • jes_eli_0710
    October 9, 2013 at 10:00 PM

    These are some awesom tips. I was also wondering when would be a good time to turn on the thermostat? I am freezing but someone had told me that people usually dont turn them on until the middle of November. WHAT?? My toes feel like they are going to fall off!

  • diaperstodating
    October 9, 2013 at 10:02 PM
  • squeekers
    October 9, 2013 at 10:03 PM

     over the past 4 yrs, with the exception of 4 months, our utility bill for SDG&E has not gone over $30/month. we live in a downstairs apartment, so we are insulated on 4 sides, and the ground. our sliding door is South facing, too. we run our ceiling fan almost all year round for penny's a day cost. we run our a/c only a couple of times over summer, but only for 15-20 min periods then we turn it back off. we run our heater only a couple of times over our southern calif (no snow) winter, like the a/c, for only 15-20 min periods. in the evenings, DD opens her bedroom window for a breeze. when it's hot, we open both our front door & sliding glass for circulation.

    if we're cold, put on slippers & a sweater. if we're hot, ice packs or wet washclothes over our skin. 

  • KenzieQsMommy
    October 10, 2013 at 5:37 PM
    We only pay electric and I keep it low by using ceiling fans and regular fans in the summer and keeping all lights, tvs, etc shut off when we're not in the room. My dh has a Bad habit of leaving things on so I'm always nagging about it lol


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