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100 Ways to Save on Electricity

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ElectricityLooking for ways to save money on your electric bill this summer? Short of cutting all power to your home, there is no one single way to drastically cut your bill so you’re going to need to combine a series of small actions to see some big savings.

We scrutinized the web looking for ways to be more energy efficient and we found a few (well, more than a few!).

How many of these can you combine to save big this year?

  1. Turn Off Your Lights: Let’s start the list off with something easy – turn off your lights!
  2. Stop Your Dishwasher from Drying Your Dishes: In the typical dishwasher cycle, the last 8-10 minutes is reserved for “drying” and it’s not much of an improvement over just opening the dishwasher at the end of the cycle.
  3. Use Table Lamps: Using lower wattage table lamps for more localized light beats higher wattage lights that brighten an entire room.
  4. Shut Off Main Power when You’re Gone: Study your breaker box and understand which switches control which parts of the home. You can switch off any that might be powering appliances that suck energy despite being off.
  5. Only Use Lights When Needed: Do you really need the light on? Instead, consider turning off the electric lights if you have enough natural light. Open a window, and let nature light your room.
  6. Turn Lights Off When You Leave a Room: Growing up we had a rule in our house, one light per person (in general). So if you leave a room, turn off the light.
  7. Use Timers on Your Lights: For those who don’t have the discipline or memory to turn off lights, use a timer instead.
  8. Use Motion Sensors in the Garage (or other rooms): Motion sensors to turn on and turn off lights almost ensures you won’t leave a light on in a room you are no longer in, plus it’s convenient to have it turn on when you walk in.
  9. Stay in Cooler Areas of the Home: Instead of having the air conditioner running all of the time, consider reducing the time it’s on. Spend more time in cooler areas of your house. If you have a downstairs, go down there; it’ll be cooler and you’ll save money since you won’t need the air condition so much.
  10. Use Task Lighting (with LED’s): Rather than lighting a whole room, use task lighting. LED bulbs for task lighting can focus light where you need it, without using a lot of energy, and no need to light the other side of the room.
  11. Hand Wash Single Dishes: Don’t be silly a run a dishwasher that’s not full.
  12. Untangle Your Drying: Tangled clothes take longer to dry because the water is trapped inside a mess of fabric. Untangle it so the clothes can flop around freely as the dryer tumbles.
  13. Hang Your Clothes Indoors: Hang drying or line drying beats a dryer.
  14. Turn Off Your Home Office: Do you have a computer in your home office? Make sure it hibernates when you aren’t using it.
  15. Unplug Your Home Office (Standby Mode Still Uses Power): When you know you won’t be using it for the rest of the day, shut her down.
  16. Go to Bed Earlier (and Turn the Lights Off): Early to bed, early to rise!
  17. Use Your Front Door Not Your Garage Door: Why go through your garage door when you have a perfectly good non-electric front door?
  18. Turn Off Your Computer (and the Monitor): When you aren’t using your computer, turn it off. Don’t forget to turn off the monitor as well. These can suck a great deal of electricity. Turn them off, and you’ll save.
  19. Turn Off Appliances When You Leave: Can you hear the radio or TV in the other room? If it doesn’t need to be on, turn it off if you aren’t using it. This goes for any number of appliances.
  20. Turn Off Lights When TV is On: Do you need the lights on when the TV is going? Besides, you’ll see the screen better with the TV off.
  21. Turn the TV Off When You’re Not Watching: How many times do you leave the TV on when you leave the room, only to never return for a long while? If the answer is “often,” shut it off when you walk out.
  22. Watch Less TV (A Lot Less for Some People): Watch less TV in general. Read a book. Go outside. Play a game as a family. Less tube time means less energy.
  23. Don’t Dehumidify When It’s Not Humid: Many people run the dehumidifier all the time. Instead, pay attention. If the humidity level is low, turn off the dehumidifier.
  24. Unplug Battery Chargers (Check the Garage Too): Leaving batter chargers plugged in can slowly leak some of the electricity. Unplug them when they aren’t in use.
  25. Switch sides of the house through the day: Close the blinds on the east side of the house in the morning, and accomplish tasks on the west of the house, with natural light. As the day progresses, close the blinds on the west side, and move to the east. You’ll stay cooler, and be able to use natural light at the same time.
  26. Take All Food From the Fridge at Once: Instead of making multiple trips and opening and closing the door more than once, get what you need at one time.
  27. Use Half As Much Light: Try swapping out your bulbs for weaker ones to see if you would even notice.
  28. Clean Dishwasher Drain: A clean drain puts less strain on your dishwasher.
  29. Keep Dryer Lint Trap Clean: This is especially important for dryers, plus the lint can catch fire.
  30. Always Run Full Loads of Laundry: The washing machine uses the same amount of energy regardless of fullness, so you might as well max it out.
  31. Soak Your Dishes Before Putting them in the Dishwasher: This makes stuck on gunk easier to clean off.
  32. Check Your Dryer Before the End of the Cycle: Your clothes my be dry already: Why keep drying them?
  33. Don’t Completely Dry Clothes in the Dryer: You can always dry them part way and line dry until complete dryness.
  34. How Old is Your Dryer? (Might Be Time for a New, More Efficient Model): Older appliances suck of energy, while dryer technology hasn’t improved significantly, check the labels to find out.
  35. Don’t Use the Wrinkle Shield Feature of Your Dryer: This uses extra energy.
  36. Put Scanner/Printer/Fax on Sleep Mode: Instead of leaving it on all the time, use sleep mode. It will come on only when needed.
  37. Turn Off Your Games Console: Don’t leave your game console on all the time; it will use energy. Turn it off when you aren’t playing to reduce your energy use.
  38. Unplug Your Games Console: Better yet, unplug your console. This will prevent any phantom leakage.
  39. Unplug Your Phone Charger: If your phone isn’t charging, unplug the charger so that it isn’t pulling energy.
  40. Manual Gardening: Don’t use machines for your gardening. Do as much work as possible manually. Plus, you’ll get good exercise.
  41. Use a Manual Can Opener: It doesn’t take much longer to use a manual can opener, and it can save a little energy.
  42. Turn Your Coffee Maker Off: Don’t leave your coffee maker on and plugged in all the time. You’ll reduce leakage by turning it off.
  43. Have Bread Not Toast: Boost your electricity savings by unplugging the toaster. Instead of toast, have untoasted bread.
  44. Computer on Standby: Putting your computer on standby, or reducing the amount of time before your computer goes to sleep mode when not in use, can save energy.
  45. Unplug Your Cable Boxes: When you aren’t watching TV, unplug your cable box (unless you need it for DVR purposes).
  46. Air Dry Your Hair: Rather than use the blow dryer, let your hair air dry.
  47. Light Free Day: Try having a light free day. You might be surprised at how effective this is. See how many light free days you can have during the year.
  48. Don’t Dispose of Garbage in the Sink: Rather than run the garbage disposal, take your garbage outside. Organic garbage can be used in a compost pile to create low cost, natural fertilizer.
  49. Disconnect the Microwave Light: You probably don’t need this light, so disconnect it for a small increase in efficiency.
  50. Raise the Temperature in the Fridge: Bump up the fridge temperature by a couple degrees. It’ll still be cool enough, but won’t use as much energy.
  51. Raise the Freezer Temperature: As long as your freezer is below 32 degrees, your food will freeze.
  52. Remove One Light Bulb in Your Garage Door Opener: You don’t really need two light bulbs in the garage.
  53. Turn Off the Porch Light When You Get Home: Don’t leave it burning all night. Instead, turn it off once everyone’s home and you no longer expect visitors.
  54. USE LED Bulbs in Your Porch Light: Consider switching to a LED light bulb for your porch.
  55. Leave the Porch Light Off Altogether: If everyone’s home, and you don’t expect visitors, go ahead and turn off the porch light. No reason to leave it on.
  56. Keep the Fridge Full: No reason to cool down empty space.
  57. Rake Leaves Manually: Instead of a leaf blower, or other appliance, rake leaves. You’ll get good exercise as well as save electricity.
  58. Clean all of Your Light Fixtures: Keep your light fixtures clean, and you’ll receive more light and increase more efficiency.
  59. Keep the Pool Pump Clean: Your pool pump will work much less if it’s kept clean.
  60. Keep Your Freezer Full: Your freezer doesn’t have to work as hard when there are other cold items to help keep things frozen.
  61. Shovel Snow by Hand: Once again, you can get great exercise, without using as much fossil fuel energy.
  62. Cook several dishes at the one time: Plan to use your stove efficiently, cooking several dishes at once.
  63. Use a Saucepan with Dividers: Allows you to cook more items at a time, and on one element.
  64. Warm Food at 70-80 Degrees: Don’t turn it up too high if you are just warming something up, rather than cooking it.
  65. Use the Excess Heat from the Oven for Warming: If you’ve recently cooked something in the oven, you can use the left over heat for warming.
  66. Use Pots and Pans with Well Fitting Lids: Better efficiency while cooking. This can save you energy.
  67. Cook Veggies in Simmering Water instead of Boiling: Simmering water works fine for cooking veggies, and you don’t need as much energy to get the water to the desired temperature.
  68. Use a Pressure Cooker: You can cook things quicker, and save on energy.
  69. Use a Crockpot: A crockpot usually uses less energy than a stovetop. Plus, it doesn’t heat up the whole house and prompt extra air conditioning.
  70. During the summer, use alternate methods of cooking: Grill more in the summer, and you won’t heat up the house with the stove or oven. Consider microwave cooking as well.
  71. Experiment with raw foods: If you are willing to experiment, you can try eating raw foods a couple times a week. There are plenty of raw food ideas that can provide you with good eats, and won’t require you to turn on the stove or oven.
  72. Thaw Frozen Foods before Cooking: You’ll use less energy trying to warm these foods up if they are thawed instead of frozen.
  73. Make Sure Your Oven Door Completely Seals: Less heat escaping means better efficiency — and less energy use.
  74. Check Your Attic Insulation: Make sure your insulation meets energy efficiency standards. This can keep your home warmer in winter and cooler in summer.
  75. Block Off Chimneys not in Use: Instead of letting the air escape, block off unused chimneys so that you don’t end up compensating for heat loss or the loss of cold air.
  76. Don’t Cool Rooms you Don’t Use: If you aren’t in the room, or don’t use it much, don’t spend the money to cool it.
  77. Check all Household Filters: Your entire heating and cooling system will run more efficiently, using less energy, if your filters are clean.
  78. Shade Windows: Shade windows from the outside. Install awnings, or plant trees. A shaded window can keep your home cooler in the summer, without the need for more air conditioning.
  79. Don’t Keep Heaters or Window Air Conditioners On When Not in the Room: If you aren’t in the room, turn off the window air conditioner, or the space heater.
  80. Ceiling Fans are Better: Get the air circulating without an air conditioner. You’ll feel cooler and use less electricity.
  81. Turn Your Air Conditioner Up: Keep it warmer during the day. Turn up the air conditioner so that it kicks on at 78 degrees instead of 70. Compensate by staying in cooler rooms during the day, and using fans.
  82. Turn Your Heat Down: During the winter, turn the heat down. Keep the house at 69 or 70 degrees, instead of 75 or 80. Dress in layers to help stay warm.
  83. Use Electric Blankets: You won’t need the heater if you have an electric blanket that uses less electricity.
  84. Don’t Buy a Bigger Fridge than you Need: Only get what you need. You’ll use less energy and save money.
  85. Make Sure the Doors on the Fridge Seal Well: Poor seals leak cool air, and the fridge has to work harder to keep up with demands. This can cost you over time.
  86. Keep the Fridge Clean: A clean fridge is a more efficient fridge.
  87. Keep Your Fridge out of Direct Sunlight: The sun can heat up your fridge, forcing it to work harder to keep your food cool. Keep sunlight away from your fridge, and you’ll save money.
  88. Don’t Buy a Larger Washing Machine than you Need: Once again, getting only what you need can help you save money.
  89. Adjust the Water Level in the Washing Machine: The more water the machine uses, the longer the cycle. Adjust the level lower, and you’ll find that your clothes are still clean, but the cycle is shorter.
  90. Use Money Saving Features on Your Appliances: If your appliances come with “smart” features that reduce energy consumption, you can save money with their help.
  91. Don’t Overload Your Dryer: Properly loading your dryer means better efficiency.
  92. Fix the Dripping Water: Stop leaks, and your home will be more energy efficient.
  93. Use Low Flow Shower Heads: Your water pump probably runs on electricity. The less water you use, the lower the power bill.
  94. Insulate Water Pipes: Increase the efficiency at which your water is heated with the help of insulation around your water pipes.
  95. Take Showers Instead of Baths: Use less water and save more money.
  96. Build a Fire: If you have a fireplace, consider using it instead of turning on the heat throughout the house.
  97. Go to Somebody’s Home for the Weekend: This is cheating but go somewhere else for some free heat or cooler air! :)
  98. Buy a Portable Wind Turbine: Depending on your energy needs and where you live, a portable wind turbine can provide you with an independent source of electricity that doesn’t cost you anything beyond set up costs.
  99. Solar Panels: Depending on where you live, solar panels are a good option to help save money on the electric bill.
  100. Use Dimmers: You can use dimmers to reduce how much power you use with light bulbs.

Just think, with the money you save, you could save for college or retirement, pay down credit cards, or buy that iPad you’ve wanted. Do you have other energy saving tips at your house? Let us know.

(Photo: caveman_92223)

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30 Responses to “100 Ways to Save on Electricity”

  1. cvargo says:

    My money saving tip: Follow my wife around the house and turn off the lights for her.

  2. Vincent says:

    It is likely dangerous to keep your freezer too close to 32F. Organisms can grow even in frozen food if the temperature is too high.

    • Shirley says:

      Make sure that there is airflow around your refrigerator and your freezer and clean/dust off the coils twice a year. These appliances stay cold inside by expending heat on their outsides. If you block the airflow they have to work harder and use more energy.

  3. NateUVM says:

    Watching TV in the dark (or, without other lights on) causes eye fatigue. That’s not necessarily “bad” for your eyes, but it can be uncomfortable.

    And what if I want to eat toast? Plain old bread is just not going to cut it…

    Seriously, though, that’s the best I could do for nit-picking. Nice list.

  4. I try to do little things like let natural light in when available, open the windows instead of turning on an a/c, and keeping unused chargers unplugged. But there are so many tips here that if I follow even 1/3 of them I’ll probably save a lot more on my energy bill!

  5. Matt M says:

    Wow thats a lot of tips, I never would have thought about blocking off a chimney but it sounds like a good idea.

    • MikeO3 says:

      This can actually be very dangerous so be careful that it is the right chimney that is not being used… REMEBER to unblock when your making a fire also!

  6. Martha says:

    How about turn down the maximum temperature on your water heater?

    • Scott says:

      This would need to be combined with spacing out your household showers

    • Ron says:

      Great idea Martha! I’ve read that your electric water heater should be set to 125F for safety as well as saving money. Gas water heaters can be set even lower, to 120F.

  7. Shirley says:

    This is the first time I have ever seen #12 in print. My mom always shook out clothes before putting them in the dryer, so I do too. It just makes good sense that they would dry faster. ;-)

  8. Scott says:

    If you don’t have a powered roof vent and your roof is at least partially exposed to direct sunlight, it’s well worth the investment to install one. Our upstairs stays MUCH cooler after we put one in and we run the AC a lot less.

  9. Shirley says:

    Years ago we planted Star Jasmine vines to climb a trellis covering the west facing wall of our home. It is amazing how much cooler those two rooms stay now.

    In the summertime we open windows at about midnight to let the cooler air in, and then close them about 8 AM to keep it in. With triple digit temps even little things can make a big difference.

  10. knotReally says:

    all of these combined might actually save some money, however, i found it almost useless to turn off the power strips to our computers/tv. the amount of energy used is SO trivial my Kill-a-watt could barely read it.
    However, my tips for saving electricity:
    1) use cfls (why is this not mentioned in this list?) they create WAY less heat when in use thus saving the cooling bill.
    2) i would recommend turning off the cable box. it is amazing how much heat they can put off (although you are stuck with it having to reboot each time you turn it on)
    3) sleep with less sheets/blankets and/or lower your bed’s height (closer to floor = cooler)
    4) consider running a dehumidifier instead of the a/c. it will raise the temp in the house (reference a psychometric chart to see how much) but coupled with a fan, it will feel much cooler.

    • knotReally says:

      btw, check your local electric/gas utility. Some offer rebates for a lot of what was mentioned (e.g. attic insulation, efficient washing machines/fridges, etc.)
      for more info… visit dsireusa.org (compiled by NC State)

  11. Ben says:

    Great tios! How about having your electric company pay for your bill? No cost of course

  12. I wash my clothes in cold water during the summer months; you can save on your gas bill and your clothes still get clean. Use solar screens on the south-facing windows and close the blinds to reduce on the incoming sunlight entering the room. Solar screening is similar to sunglasses, less glare and heat.

  13. freeby50 says:

    Great list.

    #86 – “Keep the Fridge Clean: A clean fridge is a more efficient fridge.”

    I’m not sure what this one means really. Do you mean clear out unnecessary food, or wash the inside or clean the back of it? All 3? How does this improve efficiency?

    • Cole Brodine says:

      I would assume it means to clean the coils on the back. That does the most good. I would also make sure the vents aren’t blocked in the interior of the fridge. It won’t hurt to actually clean the inside either, but I’m not sure how it would save energy.

  14. Momma Lotte says:

    Here are just a few of the ones we do that aren’t on the list.
    Use LED lighting.
    Use a crockpot.
    Use a solar cooker.
    Use up old candles instead of lights.
    Keep your freezer full…uses less energy.
    Use manual kitchen tools.
    Go for awalk arounf the block instead of electric treadmill.
    Don’t buy an electric car…walk or ride your bike.
    In general, be organized and slow down. Life is too fast these days and we miss too much. Stop and smell the flowers, watch a sunrise or a sunset, make some ice-cream out on the porch, spend time and enjoy life…then it wont need to be powered on high all the time

    • Matt M says:

      Good ideas but buying an electric car will save you money.

      • Cole Brodine says:

        You may want to check those numbers for yourself first. Buying an electric car can only save you money in certain situations. The upfront cost of an electric car can actually make it more expensive then a high mpg gas car over the entire lifetime of the car. It also makes a big difference if you mostly do city driving or mostly do highway driving. The electric cars do better in stop and go driving, while the high mpg gas cars generally do better or just as well on the highway. Don’t forget the upfront cost of installing chargers in your home if you don’t have one.

        Check your local electric rates also… These can make a big difference.

    • coremaker says:

      As for keeping the freezer full, if you can save your gallon milk jugs, fill them with water and place them in all your empty spaces in your freezer.
      Not only will this keep your freezer full it will help at keeping food frozen if you loose power.
      It will also be available if you have any water problems.

  15. Edward says:

    Retrofit a heat recovery coil on the vertical drain pipe in your basement. It scavenges shower/sink/dishwasher/washer waste water heat, and uses it to preheat the supply going back to your water heater.

  16. wildeyed says:

    Man, you tried really hard to get to 100. Most of these are pure bunk. Save money? My TIME is money and most of these aren’t worth the effort.

    • Kay says:

      Some people are facing REALLY hard times right now. Not every tip is for every person. (I don’t own a humidifier but I’m not about to accuse the list of being faulty because of it!) For my family, we already do a lot of these because we have to in order to be able to keep up with all of our bills. And most of the actions we do take are only SECONDS – for example, switching the surge protector power button to our microwave when we need to use it.

  17. alia says:

    i got lot of help with this i really liked it.

  18. ace carolla says:

    wow, this was just way too long to read

  19. Noel Hedrington says:

    These are all great points. In the end you have to work hard to get new clients. They will not just come to you. If you want to make it big you really need to push for it.


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