FABULESSLY FRUGAL FRIDAY: Strategies to Reduce Home Energy Usage

There is a wealth of information out there on ways to reduce your power bill. The top ten most reoccurring tips I have found are:

1. Set your home’s thermostat at the coolest level you can without making your rooms uncomfortable. For most homes, the heating bill drops by about 2 percent for every 1 degree the thermostat is lowered.

2. Lower your home’s thermostat at bedtime or while you’re away during the day. (See Tip #7.) Setting the thermostat to 58 degrees while you’re asleep (you may need an extra blanket!) can cut your natural-gas bill by up to 7 percent.

3. Seal up leaky drafts around doors and windows with weather-stripping, caulking, and door sweeps. (And don’t forget to keep the damper closed on a fireplace or wood-burning stove when it’s not in use.) Also seal up any leaks or gaps in furnace ducts that extend through unheated basements or crawl spaces.

4. Have your furnace inspected and tuned up every two to three years (before the heating season starts), and clean or replace the air filters on your furnace every two months during the heating season. Your furnace will run more efficiently and use less energy.

5. Set your water heater’s thermostat to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Lowering it from a higher setting will save you money and reduce the risk of being scalded.

6. Take shorter showers, wash clothes in cold water, and don’t over-dry your clothing.

7. Install a programmable thermostat for home heating. It can save lots of energy while you’re sleeping or away from home – and will re-warm your house shortly before you wake up or return home from work.

8. Replace traditional, incandescent lighting with Energy Star® compact fluorescent bulbs and fixtures (especially in the lights you use most).

9. Make sure you have adequate insulation in your home’s attic and walls, and around heating ducts that pass through unheated spaces.

10. Purchase an Energy Star® rated high-efficiency furnace, water heater, washer/dryer, and dishwasher when it’s time to replace worn-out models.
(Thanks Edison Electric Institute!)

I also found this awesome table from Mr. Electricity that I loved. I’m a very visual person, so seeing the savings calculated is awesome!

Easy Strategies
Strategy Up front cost Savings per year
(1) Use space heaters to heat only the rooms you’re in, (rather than a central system that heats the whole house), and turning off the heat when you’re not home. $80 $1023
(2) Use ceiling fans instead of the air conditioner $100
if you don’t already have ceiling fans
(3) Turn off lights you’re not using $0 $274
(4) Use a clothesline or a laundry rack instead of a dryer $20 $196
(5) Sleep your computer when you’re not using it $0 $178
(6) Wash laundry in cold water instead of hot or warm none $152
(7) Turn off a single 100-watt light bulb, from running constantly $0 $131
(8) Replace ten 60-watt light bulbs with compact fluorescents $32 $123
Total $232
every year
Aggressive Strategies
(9) Replace top-loading washer with front-loading washer $500 $112
(10) Replace 1990 fridge with newer model $300 $68
Total $800
every year
Sample electrical rate of 15¢/kWh.
(1) One 5000-watt central system, always on, running 40mins/hr. for four months, vs. two 1500-watt heaters running 8 hours a day for four months.
(2) A 2.5-ton, 3500-watt AC 24 hours a day (15 mins/hr) for five months, vs. two 48″ ceiling fans on high (75 watts each), 12 hours/day.
(3) Five 100-watt light bulbs on for 10 hours a day when they don’t need to be.
(4) 50¢/load, 7.5 loads a week.
(5) Computer on for 24 hrs/day @ 160 watts, vs. sleeping 21 hrs/day @ 5 watts
(6) Electric water heater; 7.5 loads/week.
(8) CFL’s are 15 watts, lights run 5.5 hours a day.
(9) 1/3 hot washes, 2/3 warm washes, water heated electrically, electric dryer, 7.5 loads/week. Includes water costs.
(10) Replacing a 900 kWh/year top-freezer model with a 450 kWh/year top-freezer model


  • Cathy

    Man, I would LOVE to replace my 1990’s fridge! Although I don’t think I’d be able to do it for only $300… what sort of energy efficient fridge can $300 get you?

  • Tamarah@homeandPantry

    Great Ideas! I’ve already replaced the light bulbs in my house and gotten a smart strip power strip for my computer but I didn’t know the space heater could save so much. I live in South Florida so It doesn’t get cold for a long time but I should invest in a heated blankie or a space heater b/c it comes in handy in January 🙂

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