Saving on your home energy bill – 22 ways

22 ways to save money on your home energy billsAs I am navigating through the first few months of home-ownership, I have been a bit surprised by how expensive my energy bills have been the last couple months. Even having a brand-new house, it seems there is a lot of room for improvement when it comes to creating an energy efficient home. I am not waiting around for the the Cash for Caulkers program to start – I need to get on it now!

So, I am getting ready to embark on an all out battle against our energy bills and I know the next couple months are going to be tough. It’s been a cold December, but January and February are always a bit more intense. But after doing some homework, I found a bunch of simple things that we can do to lower our bills this winter.

Even though I should have done this 2 months ago, I am going to basically treat this as my checklist of things to do to over the next couple weeks. Hope it helps!


Free ways to save on your energy bill this winter

  1. Whenever you leave the house or go to sleep, lower your thermostat down a bit. It has been said, “If you consistently set your thermostat back at night 10 degrees Fahrenheit, you may reduce your heating bill by 10-20 percent.”
  2. You can take this to the next level, by always keeping the thermostat lower and wearing warmer clothes around the house. I know one guy who keeps his house at 55 degrees during the winter. I can’t say I’d be into that, but I am sure his heating bill is a lot lower than mine!
  3. Lower the temperature on the water heater to 120 degrees. If you have smaller children this could be a safety measure as well. 160 degree water coming out of your faucet can be a bit dangerous. Also, turn off the hot water heater when on vacation.
  4. Set your refrigerator temperature closer to 40 degrees and try to keep it as full as possible. When it is full it costs less to keep cool.
  5. Only run your dishwasher when it is full of dishes, rather than running it every night.
  6. When washing clothes, use warm or cold water and rinse with cold.
  7. Adjust your energy setting on your computers to go into sleep mode or power down quicker.
  8. Listen to your parents and turn off the lights when you aren’t using them!
  9. Rather than using the oven every time, use a toaster oven to cook smaller items.
  10. Close your fireplace damper when not in use.

Ways to cut your energy bill by spending a few bucks

  1. Get a Low Flow Showerhead. They are a lot better these days than they used to be and the one I just purchased feels like it sends out a lot more water than my previous one, but it actually uses quite a bit less.
  2. Open windows during the day – especially if they are south-facing. But close them up at night to keep the heat in.
  3. Install Foam Gaskets behind electric-outlet and switch-plate covers.
  4. Add or fix your weather stripping, door sweeps, and thresholds.
  5. Get a programmable thermostat and set it to be lower when you aren’t at home or are asleep.
  6. Buy caulk and seal all windows, doors, and any other areas where air leaks might be present.
  7. Replace your furnace air filters at least every 60 days. It will yield better air for your family to breathe and a more efficient furnace.
  8. For outdoor lighting use motion sensors or solar-powered.
  9. Add a hot-water heater blanket and hot water pipe insulation especially if in an unheated space.
  10. Insulate and seal air ducts in attics, crawl spaces, garages and other unheated areas.
  11. Increase attic insulation to R-38 (the current requirement for new homes).
  12. If your refrigerator is more than 10 years old, you should probably consider replacing it. It will likely end up paying for itself with the energy savings.

What other tips do you have to help lower your home energy bills?


  1. I have a question: What is the average temp of your house? The first point says to lower the thermostat by 10 degrees Fahrenheit at night. That would make my house 60 degrees, seems a little cold especially for kids. I tend to keep my house between 70 and 72 degrees almost all your round (except when the house is empty for 4+ hours, then I drop the temp to 62 degrees)

    • My parents have their house set at 68 during the winter and 74 in the summer. They also set it down to 64 at night and during the day. They have it kick back in to 68 about an hour before they get up and an hour before they get home from work. They save a lot of money doing this and you just learn to wear socks and long sleeves. I agree, it is a mindshift but once you get used to bundling up, it becomes a habit!

  2. My house and my parents’ house when we were growing up we set at 60 F. in the winter. Just bundle up. It’s not bad for children. In fact, I get sick less because the heater’s not constantly drying out (that’s actually one of the reason’s for the lower temperature in my parent’s house… and it’s better for the instruments :) ). As I’m typing this, I’m wearing slippers, two shirts, and a sweater. Earlier this morning, I had a blanket wrapped also. It’s just a mindset shift. You think you can’t do it because you haven’t. Try it for a week or so, bundle up, and you’ll be fine.

    As for opening the windows… I thought the post meant to literally open the glass and let the air in. You meant open the curtains or blinds – that makes sense. :>) You had me going there for a second.

    -Marshall Jones Jr.

  3. Yeah, I meant, “…WAS set at 60 F.”

    Sorry ’bout that. Maybe the cold’s getting to the ol’ typing fingers… or brain. :)

    -Marshall Jones Jr.

  4. How To Reduce Your Energy Bills / Energy Conservation Begins at Home

    Imagine leaving a window open all winter long — the heat loss, cold drafts and wasted energy! If your home has a folding attic stair, a whole house fan or AC Return, a fireplace or a clothes dryer, that may be just what is occurring in your home every day.

    These often overlooked sources of heat loss and air leakage can cause heat to pour out and the cold outside air to rush in — costing you higher heating bills.

    But what can you do about the four largest “holes” in your home — the folding attic stair, the whole house fan or AC return, the fireplace, and the clothes dryer?

    Attic Stairs

    An easy, low-cost solution to this problem is to add an attic stair cover. An attic stair cover provides an air seal, reducing the air leaks. Add the desired amount of insulation over the cover to restore the insulation removed from the ceiling.

    Whole House Fans and AC Returns

    An easy, low-cost solution to this problem is to add a whole house fan cover. Installed from the attic side, the whole house fan cover is invisible. Cover the fan to reduce heating and air-conditioning loss, remove it when use of the fan is desired.


    A recent study showed that for many consumers, their heating bills may be more than $500 higher per winter due to the air leakage and wasted energy caused by fireplaces.

    An easy, low-cost solution to this problem is to add a fireplace draftstopper. Available from Battic Door, a company known for their energy conservation products, a fireplace draftstopper is an inflatable pillow that seals the damper, eliminating any air leaks. The pillow is removed whenever the fireplace is used.

  5. These suggestions will have the WW2 generation screaming “I told you so!” (Let’s not tell them about it).

    We’re already doing some of these but having them all listed in one place is extremely helpful, especially with the new year coming and winter setting in.

  6. I keep my house around 62 during the day. It’s not too bad. :)

  7. Hi there – great suggestions…

    I’m going to invest in down comforters for my kids so I can drop the temperature even more at night… right now we’re down to 62 … but I think we could go a bit further. And I like the foam gasket idea for outlets… I have a room that will definitely benefit from that!

    Mark – I’m curious about what to do about my clothes dryer? I did notice that it’s super cold in there…

    We’ve recently upgraded our refrigerator and hot water heater (2 months ago)… and we’re already seeing a large difference in our energy bills…

  8. I do most of those things and I live in an apartment. I think you forgot to mention using a space heater in rooms instead of the whole house unit. It also sounds crazy..but there are two of us in my apartment and using the space heater in the bedroom only and leaving all other rooms closed off makes a world of difference.

    If the room is going to be mostly empty then it does not make sense to run the heater there.

  9. I like that you have ones that cost and ones that don’t! :)

  10. Steve Penrose

    We set our wintertime temperature at 66 degrees and leave it there all season long. We use a little $40 oil filled portable space heater (looks like a little radiator on wheels, bought at a big box store) and warm up a room that we will be spending time in. We saved about $100 each of the past two winters and kept warm throughout.