41 Home Energy-Saving Tips for Every Season

by HomeAdvisor

Mother and children using energy efficient light bulb

Saving energy is an attainable goal for any household. Several factors can affect your energy consumption, like your home’s square footage or your family size, but everyone can take advantage of home energy-saving tips. You might even want to begin a sustainable home improvement project to address sources of energy waste.

To lower your energy bill, start taking notes on your routines. For example, count how many weekly loads of laundry you run or see if you leave your TV on while you fall asleep. When you notice wasteful habits, you can set achievable goals to help limit your energy usage.

Follow this list of 41 home energy-saving tips and note which suggestions make sense for your home and lifestyle. Read on or jump to a room-by-room visual guide that features helpful hacks and fascinating home energy facts.

On This Page:

  1. Ideas for an Energy-Efficient Kitchen
  2. Home Office Energy-Saving Tips
  3. Tips for an Energy-Efficient Bathroom
  4. Energy-Saving Laundry Room Recommendations
  5. Living Room Tips to Conserve Energy
  6. Options for an Energy-Efficient Attic and Basement
  7. Outdoor Energy Conservation Suggestions
  8. Energy-Saving Tips for the Entire Home
  9. Energy-Saving Habit Tracker

Ideas for an Energy-Efficient Kitchen 

Your kitchen can be a laboratory of inspiration if you love to cook or a place to relax and de-stress when grabbing a snack after work. The extra time you spend in the kitchen means it’s critical to consider energy-saving tips for this room. 

When outfitting an eco-friendly kitchen from scratch, you can purchase energy-efficient appliances to boost your long-term savings. If you prefer ordering delivery, you can still change your daily behavior to curb energy usage. Regardless of your cooking preferences, there are plenty of solutions to keep your bill low.

Mother and child making food in kitchen

1. Keep a Stocked Refrigerator

Refrigerators are at their most efficient when full, as long as there’s ample room for air to circulate. Cooling this appliance while it’s empty can waste energy and money by overworking the motor.

2. Defrost Your Freezer Regularly

If you notice ice buildup that’s over one-quarter of an inch thick, empty and defrost your freezer. Ice can obscure your freezer’s temperature sensors and cause it to work harder to keep things cool.

3. Stick to Manufacturer Recommendations

Cooling your fridge and freezer below the manufacturer’s suggested operating temperature increases energy usage and may require you to repair your refrigerator sooner. Following the manufacturer’s cooling instructions can help your fridge and freezer last longer and run more efficiently.

Bonus tip: If you opt for energy-efficient appliances, they will consume less energy over their lifetime.

4. Limit How Long You Leave the Fridge Open

Decide what you want to eat before you get to the refrigerator so you can quickly close it. Lingering at the door and taking snack inventory causes large amounts of cold air to escape, making your fridge work extra hard to compensate.

5. Purchase an Electric Water Kettle

Boiling water on the stove consumes energy, whether you have a gas range or an electric stovetop. By using an electric kettle when you make tea or coffee, you’ll use a fraction of the energy you would otherwise.

6. Turn off the Kitchen Vent

Most kitchen vents and range hoods open to the outside of the home. Turn off the vent fan after cooking so your home doesn’t use extra energy to regulate its temperature. This could also help you improve indoor air quality.

7. Don’t Peek Inside the Oven While Cooking

Your oven has to work overtime to compensate for lost heat each time you open the oven door. Use a timer or turn on your oven light to check on your dish instead. You can also turn off your oven a few minutes ahead of time to allow your food to finish cooking without using extra power.

8. Swap Out Inefficient Cookware

Copper conducts heat more effectively than most other metallic cookware. This means that copper pots and pans require less energy to heat up and stay hot longer, so you’re not stuck with a high bill for every delicious meal you make.

9. Use the Dishwasher Over Hand-Washing

It’s a common myth that dishwashers waste energy. In fact, hiring a professional to install a new dishwasher can save more energy than running hot water from the faucet to clean dishes. To maximize savings, only run a full dishwasher and air dry instead of using the heated dry cycle.

Home Office Energy-Saving Tips 

Many Americans can work from home rather than commute to an office. But if you boot up a home computer, printer, scanner, or more each day (or never even turn them off), you’ll drastically increase your home energy usage. Try these tips to lessen the energy load of your home office.

Man sitting at desk working on the computer

10. Consider Smart Plugs and Power Strips

These handy energy-saving devices allow you to control your power usage from a mobile app. Turn off outlets to prevent “phantom load,” energy your electronics use while off or in Sleep Mode. A smart home installation like smart plugs can level up your home office setup when it comes to energy efficiency.

11. Don’t Charge Your Devices Overnight

Many new phones and tablets optimize charging to regulate their power usage, but they can still use phantom energy. Your phone only requires a few hours to charge, so unplug your charger when the battery is full to curb some energy waste.

12. Turn Off Overhead Lights While You Work

Overhead lighting often requires greater wattage and more power to operate than targeted lighting like track lights or lamps, which illuminate a specific area rather than disperse light through the room. Opt for a targeted desk lamp that uses a more efficient bulb, and unplug it when not in use.

13. Use a Laptop Instead of a Desktop Computer

Charge wireless devices sparingly and rely on battery power when you can. A desktop computer uses more energy overall than a laptop, and wastes energy if left in Sleep Mode overnight.

Tips for an Energy-Efficient Bathroom

Your bathroom routine probably involves the use of hot water in at least one way. If the thought of taking a cold shower stresses you out, there are other ways to lower your energy usage that won’t compromise your favorite habits. Try out these simple suggestions to transform your bathroom into an eco-friendly retreat.

Father and son saving in the bathroom

14. Install a Low Flow Shower Head

A hot shower is a therapeutic way to release stress and calm the mind, but it can also waste significant amounts of energy. Taking 10-minute showers will cost you about $38 more per year than if you take seven-minute showers. Install a showerhead that uses less water and therefore requires less heat to operate than standard varieties.

Seasonal tip: During the summer, switch some of your showers to cold water. The refreshing temperature will help cool you down in the summer heat while saving you extra money on your energy bill.

15. Upgrade Your Faucets

Leaky faucets waste lots of energy if they drip hot water. Hire a professional to repair or replace leaky bathroom faucets; they can also install aerators to slow the flow of water when washing your hands or brushing your teeth.

16. Check for Plumbing Stack Insulation

The plumbing stack is a central drain pipe that collects water from the other drains in your home. When hot water runs through your home’s plumbing stack, it can release lots of heat if your insulation isn’t adequate. Hire a local plumber to inspect your plumbing stack to make sure it’s as efficient as can be.

Seasonal tip: Add a window to ventilate a well-insulated bathroom during the spring and summer. This is also a great way to bring calming natural light to your space.

Energy-Saving Laundry Room Recommendations 

Running the washer and dryer accounts for 5 percent of the typical home utility bill. This means an energy-efficient laundry setup could save your household almost $50 in annual utility costs. Read on for five ideas on smarter washing and drying habits that use less energy.

Woman doing laundry

17. Plan Laundry Loads Ahead of Time

Peak demand refers to the time of day when the most strain is put on the electrical grid. By using your machines during off-peak hours, you reduce strain to the electrical grid and lessen the chance of a surge that could cause you to lose power.

Seasonal tip: Peak demand times are 7 to 11 a.m. in the winter and 4 to 8 p.m. in the summer.

18. Air Dry Your Clothes When Possible

By hanging your laundry out to dry, you’ll save money in two ways: you’ll use less electricity by avoiding the dryer, and you’ll prolong the life of your fabrics. In the winter, tumble-dry your clothes on a low-heat setting to conserve extra energy. You can also add a dry towel to your next load to dry clothes even faster.

Seasonal tip: If you live in a warm, dry climate, you can hang your clothes out to dry during multiple seasons.

19. Inspect Your Dryer Vent

The hot air escaping through your dryer vent can find its way back into your home if the vent leaks. Hire a professional to inspect your dryer vent at least twice a year to make sure it’s not costing you any money.

20. Only Wash Full Loads of Clothing

Follow manufacturer recommendations for optimal laundry levels in your washer and dryer since these machines perform best at capacity. By only running full loads, you’ll cut back on the number of times you have to do laundry. However, be careful not to overfill your machine.

21. Wash Laundry With Cold Water

According to GE, hot water requires as much as 90 percent of the energy it takes to wash a load of laundry. Keep in mind that you might need to use warm water with certain fabrics or to sanitize your laundry.

Seasonal tip: Use a warm water setting during the winter months if you live in a particularly frigid climate; very cold tap water (around 40 degrees) can cause damage that demands a washing machine repair.

Living Room Tips to Conserve Energy 

If your idea of relaxation involves using any kind of technology, you can decrease the impact on your energy bill by following a few simple tips. Allow yourself to unwind with these efficiency-boosting smart home hacks.

Man sitting on couch and listening to music from speakers

22. Opt for Efficient Electronics

Televisions and cable boxes are two of the top phantom energy users in the home, particularly if the TVs have large screens. Choose smart, efficient electronics to save more each month.

23. Try a Smart Home Assistant

Control your home electronics and appliances with a virtual assistant. This convenience factor is also a great way to save money on your electricity bill since you have the option to monitor your energy usage even when you’re not at home.

Seasonal tip: Use a smart home assistant to turn off appliances when you’re away during peak hours; this eases any strain your home might add to the electrical grid, reducing the risk of a power emergency.

Options for an Energy-Efficient Attic and Basement 

Attics often store critical home equipment that uses lots of energy. You should have a professional inspect your HVAC equipment regularly to ensure it operates properly and doesn’t cause more serious problems. If your HVAC system is running as it should, then you can also try these tips to ensure your attic is energy-efficient.

Contractor working on a ladder in the attic

24. Upgrade Your Home’s HVAC System

Air conditioning and heating use three times more electricity than anything else in the average home. This means you could save a considerable amount on your energy bill by making sure all the components of your home HVAC system are efficient.

25. Inspect Your Attic Seal and Insulation

Most attics aren’t air-conditioned since they aren’t considered living spaces unless they’re renovated. If you just use your attic for storage, seal any gaps around the entrance door to avoid releasing outside air into your home. You should also have your roof inspected for leaks and gaps.

Seasonal tip: A vent fan can help naturally regulate your attic’s temperature in the summer so it doesn’t reach dangerously high levels.

26. Use an Efficient Water Heater

Water heaters are the second-highest electricity-users out of all home appliances, so installing an efficient or smart water heater (like a tankless unit) is a great way to conserve energy.

27. Find Out if Your Floor Needs Insulation

If you have a basement or a crawl space under your home, chances are you need to hire a pro to install subfloor insulation that prevents air from escaping. This is especially important for homes with wood flooring since wood floors promote airflow more than concrete or sealed floors.

Seasonal tip: Floor insulation traps heat from escaping on cold winter mornings and nights.

Outdoor Energy Conservation Suggestions

In addition to all the home energy-saving tips that can help you reduce your consumption indoors, there are several ways to trim your energy bill with tips and upgrades for outside the home.

Man grilling in the backyard

28. Keep Your A/C Unit in the Shade

If your exterior A/C unit receives lots of direct sunlight, it could have to work overtime to avoid overheating. Look to install your air conditioner in a location that has shade during most of the day.

Seasonal tip: Install a sunshade over your air conditioner to keep its running temperature low and prolong its life.

29. Make Your Landscaping Work for You

Regulate the temperature in your home with low-maintenance landscaping tips. Hire a landscaping pro to plant deciduous trees (like beech or oak varieties) on the sunny side of your home; this shades it in the summer and allows light and heat in the winter when the trees lose their leaves.

30. Cook Outdoors When It’s Nice Out

Take your cooking outdoors and let heat escape naturally. This helps prevent excess heat from getting indoors in the summer when you’re already working hard to keep the house cool. Plus, outdoor kitchens can add tremendous value to your home.

Seasonal tip: To save more energy during warmer months, opt for refreshing dinners like salads and cold pasta dishes. Ovens and ranges lack efficiency ratings that other appliances have, but cooking dinner without the oven during the summer could save you as much as $35 on your energy bill over the course of one season.

31. Air Seal Your Home for Comfort and Safety

If you don’t seal outside access points (such as doors, windows, and vents) properly, they can disrupt your home’s interior temperature. You can use weatherstripping to create an air seal in your home for a safer indoor environment that’s more resistant to allergens and irritants.

Seasonal tip: In the summer, when it’s more common to work in the garage, double-check your garage door seal. Large quantities of air can escape through a compromised door seal.

32. Regulate Your Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor lighting is a tasteful way to showcase landscaping at night, but to save energy, only use outdoor lighting when it’s necessary. Hire a local landscape lighting professional who can install a timer or daylight sensor, or choose a motion sensor for extra security and savings. 

Seasonal tip: If your lighting runs on a timer, plan ahead to keep up with Daylight Savings Time changes in the spring and fall.

Energy-Saving Tips for the Entire Home

While many energy-saving tips apply to specific rooms, there are plenty of ways to conserve energy throughout your entire house. Use these tips as starting points to lower your energy bill.

Exterior of home and front yard with lights on

33. Take a Closer Look at Your Windows

The types of windows in your home can have a significant effect on your energy bill. The Department of Energy estimates that heat gain or loss through single-pane windows causes your HVAC system to work 25 to 30 percent harder to regulate the temperature. Installing double-pane windows can stop wasteful energy flow and lower your bill.

Seasonal tip: A reflective window tint can limit the amount of heat entering your home during summer.

34. Change Out Your Light Bulbs to Efficient LEDs

According to the Department of Energy, LED light bulbs last 25 times longer than traditional incandescent lights and consume one-fourth as much energy. That’s far more savings in your pocket in the long term.

35. Turn Off the Lights

Lighting accounts for one-eighth of the average electricity bill. Turning off just one light when you leave a room can save 6kWh of electricity per month. For extra smart savings, hire a pro to install LED lighting with motion detectors to activate your interior lights only when you need them.

36. Use Natural Light to Your Advantage

Take advantage of natural light to reduce your reliance on electricity. Install a skylight in darker rooms to naturally brighten your home. Additionally, choosing a lighter interior paint color reflects more light and reduces the need for lamps or other lights.

37. Hang Blinds, Shades, or Drapes

Speaking of using natural light, only use it when it’s most economical. Hanging window shades and using a lamp with an LED bulb can be more efficient than letting natural light into your home if you live in a hot climate.

Seasonal tip: In the summer, close your blinds or curtains on the sunny side of your home during the day and open them at night; do the opposite in the winter to naturally let in heat.

38. Use Your Ceiling Fans Often

Use a ceiling fan to circulate air and ease the burden on your HVAC system to heat or cool the room. You can hire an electrician to install ceiling fans in your home if you don’t already have them.

Seasonal tip: To optimize airflow for hotter and cooler months, change your ceiling fan’s direction seasonally, from counterclockwise in the summer to clockwise in the winter.

39. Have a Smart Thermostat Installed

Smart thermostats allow you to climate-control your home even when you’re away. These devices learn which settings you prefer, and use sensors to climate-control the house when it’s most energy-efficient.

Seasonal tip: If you have a window near your thermostat, close the blinds in the summer to avoid heat causing a sensor mix-up that will cost you money.

40. Keep a Filter Replacement Schedule

You have filters in many places throughout your home, including your HVAC system, water heater, refrigerator, and dryer. By keeping these filters clean and following recommended replacement guidelines, you’ll optimize your whole house for energy efficiency.

41. Stay Current With Regular Home Maintenance

One of the best ways to ensure your home uses as little energy as possible is to stay current on home maintenance. Monthly and seasonal checkups by skilled professionals can lengthen the life of your appliances while keeping your energy costs low.

Seasonal tip: Schedule a home energy audit during the peak summer months to pinpoint where your home could use an efficiency update.

Closing

No matter the size or age of your home, there are changes you can make to live an energy-efficient lifestyle. Many eco-friendly upgrades are attractive to prospective homebuyers, so energy-savvy remodeling could increase the resale value of your home.

Your behaviors and routines directly affect your home energy bill. Each room has opportunities to maximize savings and efficiency, whether you’re looking to make small changes or overhaul your home completely.

If you decide your home needs an upgrade to help you cut back on energy usage, begin with a tip from the list above or find a highly-rated local pro to help turn your eco-friendly home dreams into reality. With the help of professionals sourced from HomeAdvisor, finding a team to help you make energy-efficient improvements could be easier than you think.

If you’re ready to modify your daily routines to make your home and lifestyle more energy-efficient, look over our downloadable Habit Tracker below to inspire ways you can cut back on energy usage.

Button download weekly energy saving habit tracker

Weekly energy saving habit tracker on table with coffee

Additional Sources: Energy Star | SIEPR | Direct Energy | LifeHack | Omni Calculator

Saving energy at home infographic

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