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30 Ways to Lower Your Home Energy Costs

These smart, easy and often free solutions can help

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With utility bills always on the rise, it's always useful to reduce your home's energy consumption.

Here are 30 smart and easy ways to lower your energy costs.

Fixing up your home? AARP member discounts can help

No-Cost Fixes

  1. In winter, open drapes, blinds, or shades on south-facing windows and let the sun warm your rooms. Close window coverings at sundown to help insulate. Clean windows maximize solar gain.

  2. In summer, close drapes, blinds, or shades on east- and west-facing windows. Once the sun sets, open the windows to let the cooler night air in, but remember to close and lock ground floor windows before retiring for the night.

  3. Use heat-generating appliances (washers, dryers, or ovens) during the morning or evening when it’s cooler. This reduces the load on your air conditioner in the summer and helps heat the house in the winter.

  4. Shut fireplace dampers to prevent heated air from going up the chimney when the fireplace is not in use. This will stop the loss of warm air up the chimney all year long. Be sure all embers are out before closing the damper after burning a fire.

  5. Remove window air-conditioning units when the summer is over to prevent heat from escaping. If the unit can’t be moved, put a cover over it to prevent drafts.

  6. Turn off lights in unoccupied rooms, and switch off kitchen and bathroom ventilating fans after they’ve done their job. If left on, ventilating fans can quickly remove a home's heated or cooled air.

  7. Place your favorite chair or sofa away from an exterior wall or window so you aren’t sitting in a draft.

  8. Lower the temperature on your water heater to 120° to reduce water heating costs.

  9. Take short showers instead of baths. (They use less water so your water heater won’t have to work so hard.)

  10. Run your washing machine and dishwasher only when you have a full load.

  11. Instead of using your dishwasher’s drying cycle, air dry washed dishes and pots and pans.

  12. Use the cold water setting of your clothes washer when possible.

  13. Clean your clothes dryer’s vent system. (Lint buildup can cause the dryer to run longer to dry your clothes, which wastes energy. Even worse, lint buildup in the vent can lead to a fire.)

  14. Clean air registers, baseboard heaters and radiators, and make sure they are not blocked by curtains, furniture, or carpeting.

  15. When not in use, unplug block-type chargers (such as phone, flashlight, small appliance, and toy chargers).

  16. Lower your thermostat at night and sleep under extra blankets or a comforter during cooler months.

  17. If you have ceiling fans, turn the fan on low in the opposite direction to recirculate the air, remembering that warm air rises and cold air sinks.

Next page: 13 energy-friendly improvements that will cost a bit but save a lot. »

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