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120+ Tips to Save on Electricity and Energy

Saving Money on Electricity

We take electricity for granted, because when we turn on a switch we expect that it’s always there to serve our energy needs. Sometimes we don’t even realize that we are consuming electricity, and we leave our electronics plugged in and lights constantly on. This constant use of electricity (even if we don’t realize it) adds up, and eventually has a significant effect on your budget.

Below is a comprehensive list of tips on how to save on electricity, and making sure that you spend only what is necessary for your energy needs.

Save Electricity on Lighting

  1. Make it a habit to turn off unnecessary lights and to turn off lights when you leave the room.
  2. LED’s are the most energy efficient option for light bulbs on the market right now. Currently, the upfront cost may be a bit higher than compact fluorescent lights (CFL), but the electricity savings and the lifetime of the bulb will make up for it. However, LED lights are directional, meaning they are excellent for lights under cabinetry, but not as suitable to table lamps. But this is quickly changing, and some of the newer LED lights come with diffusers, which makes it behave like a regular bulb.
  3. If for some reason you can’t use LED bulbs, use compact fluorescent lights (CFL) instead of incandescent bulbs whenever possible. They may be more expensive, but they last much longer. They also use approximately 80% less electricity to produce an output similar to incandescent bulbs. For example, a 100 watt incandescent bulb is equivalent to 23 watt CFL.
  4. Even better, use fluorescent tubes. They are even more efficient than CFL and last even longer, up to 18,000 hours (depending on the switching and bulb quality).
  5. Use low-wattage light bulbs in “non-reading” places and other areas where you don’t need bright light.
  6. Use one large watt light bulb instead of two or more low watt bulbs. One 100-watt light bulb uses less energy and gives off more light than two 50-watt bulb.
  7. Avoid halogen floor lamps that consume 300W or more power and wastes electricity through heat.
  8. Use lamp shades with white liner. This reflects more light.
  9. Choose light, reflective colors for room ceilings and walls.
  10. Keep bulbs and lighting fixtures clean. Dust lowers light levels.
  11. Get to bed an hour earlier each night. You will use an hour less light and even heating, and this savings add up.
  12. If you have to work late at night, use task lighting or light that is focused at your work, for example on your writing or computer desk.
  13. Consider effective lighting fixtures like ENERGY STAR qualified table, desk and floor lamps in your house. Also, using reflectors and good light placement can save you up to 50 percent electricity consumption.

  14. Make use of daylight for lighting, as much as possible. Use light-colored, loose-weave curtains on your window to allow daylight in your room while protecting privacy. Also, fill your room with light colors to reflect daylight.
  15. Use outdoor lights only where they are needed and turn them off at daytime. Use motion-detectors, photo cells (turns off light automatically at daytime) or automatic timer switches (turns off light automatically at programmed time).
  16. Turn off holiday lights and inflatable yard decorations before going to bed at night or whenever you are away from home. You can use a programmable timer to help you control when to turn them on and off. A programmable timer also makes your house look that someone is home when you are away, and may prevent burglary.
  17. Use fewer holiday lights and decorate with flowers, wreaths, and other alternatives that do not use energy. Look for holiday lights that are solar-powered.
  18. Consider installing solid state switches when you are replacing switches. Use full illumination when doing tasks and dimming for mood, decorative or safety lighting. Use CFLs that are compatible with dimmers and photo cells.
  19. Teach all family members to turn off lights when leaving a room.
  20. Save Electricity on your Refrigerator and Freezer

  21. Use a refrigerator or freezer that is energy efficient or have earned the Energy Star. Refrigerators and freezers consume about a sixth of all electricity in a typical American home – using more electricity than any other single household appliance.
  22. Select a new refrigerator that is the right size for your household. Top freezer models are more energy efficient than side-by-side models. Features like icemakers and water dispensers, while convenient, will increase energy use.
  23. Avoid refrigerators with a built-in frozen food compartment if you have a separate freezer. These models are less efficient and you lose cooling space.
  24. Don’t keep your refrigerator or freezer too cold. Recommended temperatures are 37° to 40°F for the fresh food compartment of the refrigerator and 5°F for the freezer section. If you have a separate freezer for long-term storage, it should be kept at 0°F. To check refrigerator temperature, place an appliance thermometer in a glass of water in the center of the refrigerator. Read it after 24 hours. To check the freezer temperature, place a thermometer between frozen packages. Read it after 24 hours.
  25. Keep your fridge and freezer full, but not so full that the air can’t circulate. If you have empty space fill a container with water, cover it and store it in the fridge or freezer. Your fridge works harder to cool or freeze empty space. Just leave room for expansion.
  26. Organize your refrigerator shelves so that the food you place on them will allow for air to easily flow around it. Too many items packed together closely will reduce air circulation, which results in an inefficient fridge.
  27. Cover liquids and wrap foods before storing them in the refrigerator. Uncovered items release moisture, which makes the compressor work harder.
  28. Let hot food sit out until it cools down to room temperature before you put it in the fridge. That way, your fridge does not do extra work cooling it down and you save on energy.
  29. Decide what you want from the refrigerator or freezer before you open them so you don’t waste electricity by standing there looking inside and keeping the door open. The more cold air escapes from the fridge, the harder the fridge has to work.
  30. Remove and replace items in the refrigerator in groups rather than one at a time. Opening the door makes the cold inside the refrigerator escape. The fewer times the door is opened, the less heat is needed to be pumped away.
  31. Defrost frozen food in the fridge as this helps to keep it cool as it thaws.
  32. When choosing a freezer, choose a chest freezer. Upright models are not as energy efficient as chest freezers because when you open the door the cold air stays in the chest freezer while the upright model leaks the cold onto the floor.
  33. Do not purchase a freezer that is too large for your family’s needs. Larger freezers do need more electricity. So don’t buy a freezer that is larger than you need, especially if you live close to the store.
  34. Put your fridge in the coolest part of the kitchen. Do not place your refrigerator or freezer close to a heat source such as the oven, a heating vent or radiator or the washer and dryer.
  35. When going away for extended periods, set refrigerator at lowest setting or higher temperature such as 38 degrees for the refrigerator and 5 degrees for the freezer. For longer trips (such as four weeks or more), consider emptying your refrigerator and unplugging it.
  36. Test your freezer and refrigerator seals by closing the door on a sheet of paper. Pull the paper and if it slides out very easily, cold air is probably escaping and the seal must be replaced.
  37. Defrost your freezer on a regular basis or whenever necessary. An iced up freezer will make the freezer work harder, therefore wasting more energy than needed. Don’t allow frost to build up more than one-quarter of an inch.
  38. Vacuum the coils of your refrigerator every few months in order to lower your energy bill and to keep the condenser working better.

  39. Save Electricity on Computers & Electronics

  40. Always buy an ENERGY STAR labeled computer, monitor or other electronics.
  41. Activate the power management features of your computer. When your computer and monitor are not working, they go on sleep mode and use 70% less power. Have your monitor turn off after 10 minutes of idle use.
  42. Better yet, turn your monitors off when you are leaving it for 30 minutes or longer. Screensavers do not save any energy.
  43. Only have your monitor as bright as you need it. Unnecessary brightness only uses wasted electricity.
  44. Turn off the computer when not in use. The belief that a computer consumes the same power when booting and leaving it on is a myth. Also, the belief that leaving a computer or other electronics on might be true in the old days, but now is also a myth. In fact, by turning them off you extend their life.
  45. Consider buying a laptop as your next computer purchase. It uses much less electricity than a desktop computer.
  46. Plug your computer, monitor, laptop, DVD player, TV, stereo, and other electronics to power strips. They still use electricity even on sleep mode. By turning off the switch of your power strips, you cut power of all your electronics, therefore saving you a lot of money.
  47. Unplug battery chargers when the batteries are fully charged, and the chargers are not in use. Do not overcharge.
  48. Use rechargeable batteries for high-draining gadgets like digital cameras.
  49. Save Electricity & Energy on Cooking: Stove, Oven, Microwave

  50. Defrost food before you bake or microwave it. This uses 1/3 less energy than if you cook food that is still frozen.
  51. Cook with the microwave oven or pressure cooker. They cook faster and are more energy-efficient than the stove.
  52. You can use a pressure cooker to make all sorts of food that requires a moist cooking environment. Soups, stews, pot roast, corned beef, potatoes, steamed vegetables etc. It is also perfect for egg dishes that need a water bath to insulate them.
  53. Microwave ovens use 50% less energy than conventional ovens. To save energy, reheat food in the microwave.
  54. Inside the microwave, put the food as close as possible to the edge of the rotating tray where the microwave energy level is highest.
  55. If you need to purchase a natural gas oven or range, look for one with an automatic electric ignition system. An electric ignition saves natural gas because a pilot light is not burning continuously.
  56. In natural gas appliances, look for blue flames; yellow flames indicate the gas is burning inefficiently and an adjustment may be needed. Consult the manufacturer or your local utility.
  57. Keep range-top burners and reflectors clean; they will reflect the heat better, and you will save energy.
  58. Use a covered kettle or pan to boil water; it’s faster and uses less energy.
  59. Use the correct size pan. If you are using a small pan, use a smaller burner.
  60. Cooking utensils with flat bottoms and tight fitting covers save heat.
  61. Choose a self cleaning oven because they have more insulation than conventional oven.
  62. When using an oven, turn on the interior light when checking how your food is cooking instead of opening the open. Make sure the light is working and the inspection glass is clean. Opening the oven door can lower the temperature inside the oven as much as 25°—wasting energy and increasing the cooking time.
  63. Cook several food dishes in the oven at the same time. Plan some meals so that entire meal can be prepared in oven at same time.
  64. Bake several batches of cookies or bake more than one pie at a time.
  65. Avoid preheating the oven for foods that cook for several hours. When preheating is necessary, heat to the exact temperature required.
  66. Use small electric pans or toaster ovens for small meals rather than your large stove or oven. A toaster oven uses a third to half as much energy as a full-sized oven.
  67. Glass and ceramic baking dishes retain heat better than metal. If you cook with glass or ceramic dishes, you can reduce the oven temperature by 25°F.
  68. Turn off oven about 5 minutes before cooking time is over. The heat in the oven will keep on cooking your food, and you’ll save on gas or electric bills.
  69. If you use an electric oven, you can turn the oven off 15 minutes before the cooking time is complete and food will continue cooking at the set temperature as long as the oven door is not opened.
  70. The self-cleaning oven feature requires the oven to be set at a very high temperature. If you want to use this feature, do so immediately after cooking to take advantage of the residual heat.
  71. Cook on a range top instead of the oven whenever possible. Range-top cooking generally uses less energy.
  72. Use the lowest possible setting for range top cooking and keep pots and pans covered to prevent heat loss.
  73. Be sure pots and pans are right size for range burners and elements.
  74. When heating water, only use the amount of water you need. Don’t waste heat on excess water that is going to be thrown away.
  75. When cooking on a stove or a range top, turn it off just before the food is cooked. There will be enough heat to finish the cooking.
  76. Clean range top burners and reflectors to provide better heating and save energy.
  77. Use an electric skillet, if you have one, to “bake” a chicken or roast or to make spaghetti sauce. It is easy to drain the fat from meat—just tilt the skillet slightly.
  78. Never use your stove or oven for heating your room. It doesn’t do a good job, it’s bad for the stove and it could be dangerous.
  79. Save Electricity on Laundry: Washer & Dryer

  80. When buying a clothes washer, look for the ENERGY STAR and EnergyGuide labels. ENERGY STAR clothes washers clean clothes using 50% less energy than standard washers. Most full-sized ENERGY STAR washers use 15 gallons of water per load, compared to the 32.5 gallons used by a new standard machine. ENERGY STAR models also spin the clothes better, resulting in less drying time.
  81. When buying a clothes washer, choose the front loading model. It uses half the energy and less water than top loading models.
  82. When buying a clothes dryer, look for one with a moisture sensor that automatically shuts off the machine when your clothes are dry. Not only will this save energy, it will save the wear and tear on your clothes caused by over-drying.
  83. When buying new appliances, consider those that offer cycle and load size adjustments. They’re more water and energy efficient.
  84. Wash full loads of clothing instead of smaller ones. If you are washing a small load, use the appropriate water-level setting.
  85. Use the warm or cold water setting to wash clothes. With today’s detergents, you don’t really need to use hot water. Use cold water to rinse clothes.
  86. Wash your clothes in cold water using cold-water detergents, such as the 2X Ultra Tide Coldwater, whenever possible.
  87. The fill line is twice the amount of detergent you need to clean effectively. Fill your cap up halfway to the fill line and your detergent will last twice as long. Using too much laundry detergent not only wastes money, it can shorten the life of your washing machine and make your clothes stiffer.
  88. Put dry towels and heavier cottons in a separate load from lighter-weight clothes.
  89. Dry your clothes in the sun, instead of using the dryer. If there’s no sun, use a clothesline or a laundry rack in the bathroom.
  90. If you have to use the dryer, run full loads. Make sure the clothes are as dry as possible by having the clothes go through fast spin, and use the moisture-sensing setting.
  91. If you have to use the dryer, clean the lint trap or filter after every use. The dryer will run more efficiently saving you money and energy. Built up lint in the clothes dryer vent is also a common cause of house fires.
  92. Use the cool-down cycle to allow the clothes to finish drying with the residual heat in the dryer.
  93. Make sure that the room where the dryer is has plenty of air circulation.
  94. Turn off the dryer as soon as the clothes are dry. Do not “over dry”. If your machine has a moisture sensor, use it.
  95. Remove clothes that require ironing from the dryer while they are damp.
  96. Dry loads one after another immediately while the dryer is still hot.
  97. Never overload the clothes dryer.
  98. Keep the outside exhaust of your clothes dryer clean.
  99. Don’t waste money on a new dryer just because your washer dies. A common money-wasting mistake consumers make is to have a matching set.

  100. Save Electricity or Energy on Water Heating

  101. Although most water heaters last 10–15 years, it’s best to start shopping now for a new one if yours is more than 7 years old. Doing some research before your heater fails will enable you to select one that most appropriately meets your needs. Look for the ENERGY STAR and EnergyGuide labels.
  102. Consider natural gas on-demand or tankless water heaters. Researchers have found savings can be up to 30% compared with a standard natural gas storage tank water heater.
  103. Lower the thermostat on your water heater; water heaters sometimes come from the factory with high temperature settings, but a setting of 120°F provides comfortable hot water for most uses.
  104. Install an automatic timer so water is heated only during hours needed.
  105. Insulate your electric hot-water storage tank using insulating sleeves, but be careful not to cover the water heater’s top, bottom, thermostat, or burner compartment. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  106. Insulate the first 6 feet of the hot and cold water pipes connected to the water heater.
  107. Install heat traps on the hot and cold pipes at the water heater to prevent heat loss. Some new water heaters have built-in heat traps.
  108. Drain a quart of water from your water tank every 3 months to remove sediment that impedes heat transfer and lowers the efficiency of your heater.
  109. Bleed trapped air from hot-water radiators once or twice a season. If in doubt about how to perform this task, call a professional.
  110. Install an aerator on your kitchen sink faucet to save on hot water.
  111. Be sure to place the faucet lever on the kitchen sink in the cold position when using small amounts of water; placing the lever in the hot position uses energy to heat the water even though it may never reach the faucet.
  112. “Suds savers” on washers allow you to reuse hot water for several loads.
  113. If you will be out of town for more than a couple days, turn off your water heater.
  114. Convert to a gas water heater if you are using electricity. It is more efficient and will save you money in the long run.
  115. If you heat water with electricity, have high electric rates, and have an unshaded, south-facing location (such as a roof) on your property, consider installing an ENERGY STAR qualified solar water heater.
  116. Heat pump water heaters can be very cost-effective in some areas.
  117. Miscellaneous Energy Tips

  118. Buy appliances on the basis of purchase price plus operating costs, not price alone. Buy energy efficient appliances. Look for the Energy Star on appliances and consider the annual energy cost before buying. More efficient appliances cost more, but you make up the extra cost and then some over the life of the product.
  119. Consider disposing your old appliances even though they still work. Many of the newer models can pay for themselves in the long term through lower utility bills due to water and energy efficiency.
  120. Keep appliances clean and in good working order. They’ll use less energy.
  121. Limit the use of appliances that use over 1,000 watts.
  122. Use auto-sensing power strips for your home media center and computer accessories.
  123. Unplug your TV or use a power switch to turn off electricity going to the TV when turned off. Instant-on TV sets use energy even when set is not turned on.
  124. Buy only “no iron” sheets and pillow cases to save on electricity used for ironing.
  125. When shopping for a new dishwasher, look for the ENERGY STAR label to find a dishwasher that uses less water and 41% less energy than required by federal standards.
  126. Use the dishwasher only when you have a full load.
  127. Air-dry dishes instead of using the drying cycle on your dishwasher, Just set it to clean only, and open the door when the dishwasher is done. The wire racks in the dishwasher can conveniently double as drying racks. Prop the door open slightly so the dishes will dry faster.
  128. Use a window fan instead of air conditioner whenever possible.
  129. Use hand tools in your workshop, instead of power tools.
  130. When leaving on long trips, create a checklist for yourself of items to turn off.

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