Low Cost, Low Effort Ways To Save Energy and Money

Low Cost, Low Effort Ways to Save Energy and Money

Have you ever wondered if there’s truly a way to save money on your energy bills without putting forth a lot of effort? After all, buying all new, energy-efficient appliances and replacing your windows at $750 a pop may not exactly be in your budget in the near future.  Furthermore, it could take you months, if not years to recoup your investment in terms of energy savings on these massive types of home improvements.  So, you may have to settle for less expensive ways to save energy and potentially money around your home.

Here are some relatively simple hacks that can make your home just a little more energy efficient.

Use LED Bulbs


You don’t have to replace all of your bulbs with LED light bulbs if you don’t want to spend a lot of money right away. You can start with light fixtures that you use most and swap them out for their more energy efficient LED light counterparts. Just changing a few bulbs can help you save money.

Combat Vampire Load with Smart Surge Protectors

Appliances will still use energy if they are plugged in even when they’re not in use.  This is called vampire load and it can cause your electric bill to be higher than it needs to be.  There are some “smart” power strips like the, Smart Strip LCG3,  which will automatically turn off some appliances when not in use. This feature  is designed to save you energy usage and money.

Adjust Settings on Appliances

You can turn down the temperature on your hot water heater and furnace as needed. You can also adjust settings for your freezer and refrigerator to save energy.

Another option would be to get a jacket for your hot water heater which reduces radiant heat loss and helps maintain water temperature without using a lot of extra energy.

In the case of your refrigerator settings, you’ll want to make sure your temperature setting will keep your food safe.  You can experiment with settings that offer the best combination of food safety, freshness, and energy savings.

Go Easy on the Dryer

Instead of putting your clothes in the dryer, you can hang them on a clothesline outside. If you don’t like that idea,  you can dry your clothes “slightly” in the dryer and then hang them up indoors to finish drying.  At the Chicago Eco House,  kids not only learn about the benefits of drying clothes outside in Eco World, but they get to see it demonstrated when they come over! 

Finally, you can use a small appliance called a spin dryer. It will remove the excess water from clothing so that when you remove it, it’s almost dry. This can reduce the amount of time you need to put your clothing in the dryer. Some people do not transfer their clothes to the dryer at all with this device. Either way, it can save tons of money on your energy bills.

Add insulation


No, you don’t have to break open walls and insulate them. But you can undertake small projects like insulating air conditioning lines and weather stripping your doorways.  You could also insulate wall sockets and light sockets.

Use Infrared Heat

You can use an infrared heat thermometer to find air leaks around your home. This can help you seal off places that are letting in drafts and causing you to turn up your thermostat.  Plugging these leaks can save up to 20% on heating and cooling costs

Consider Solar Energy

Though a solar panel system is no inexpensive consideration, it’s worth at least researching the possibility for a point in the future. The cost of solar panels is dropping each year and it’s very likely that they will become common fixtures in homes all over the United States in the near future.

With options to lease, finance, obtain tax credits and sell energy credit, a solar panel system could end up being a good investment. Before you decide on this route, check out a solar panel calculator to see if it makes sense for your home and financial circumstances.


Aja McClanahan is a blogger and writer who covers personal finance and entrepreneurship on her blog, www.principlesofincrease.com, and other web outlets. She lives on the south side of Chicago with her husband and two children.