1. Install a programmable thermostat. The U.S. Department of Energy says you can save up to $150 a year on heating and cooling bills if you do—and if you program the device properly. Some homeowners who buy programmable thermostats continue to turn the temperature up and down manually instead of setting it to automatically raise and lower the heat or a/c.
2. Raise the air conditioner’s temperature to 78 degrees F. If you usually leave it at 72 degrees, you could save up to 18 percent on your cooling bill.
3. Turn off your computer. You could save $75 a year if you shut it down when you’re not using it. A tip: Plug your computer, printer and scanner into a multiple-outlet power strip/surge protector and shut the whole thing down when you’re finished using it for the day.
4. Don’t use your oven. Especially when the weather is nice, prepare cold meals or heat your food up in the microwave oven or toaster oven.
5. Lower your water heater’s temperature to 120 degrees F. DOE estimates that heating water accounts for up to 25 percent of the energy your home consumes.
6. Switch on the ceiling fans. But use them only while you’re in the room. A fan circulates the air so you feel cooler, but it doesn’t actually cool the room. So leaving a fan on in an empty room is a waste of electricity.
7. Plant trees around the house to shade windows from the sun and to block wind from blowing into the house through cracks and crevices.
8. Replace all of the stray incandescent light bulbs in your house with CFLs or with LED fixtures. The more modern light bulbs are more energy efficient because more of electricity they consume is used for light rather than heat.
9. Move your lamps and TV set away from the thermostat. Because they give off heat, they can trick the thermostat into working overtime to cool your home.