1. Defang energy vampires
Today's electronic devices, from computers to coffee makers, continue to use energy and drain power, even when they are turned off. There are two types of energy vampires: bricks and wall warts. Bricks are power plugs for computers that have a big box on the cord. A wall wart is a charger with a large plug. Both use up energy when the laptop or charger isn’t used. How much can you save by unplugging? As much as 20 percent of your electric bill, according to Duke Energy.
2. Get a programmable thermostat
If you can let the house get a bit warmer when you're gone and cool it off when you get home, you can save as much as 20 percent from your heating and cooling bills, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. You can even get thermostats that you can control remotely with your cellphone. If you're leaving your pets at home, never let the house get hotter than 80 degrees; if you have a long-haired pet, keep the house slightly cooler. And keep lamps and TVs away from the thermostat.
3. Draw the blinds during the daytime
About 76 percent of sunlight that hits your windows enters to generate heat inside your home, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. A recent study found that 75 percent of blinds stay in the same position every day. The Energy Department says that medium-colored draperies with white-plastic backings can reduce heat gains by 33 percent, so put down the blinds when the sun is blazing.