North Carolina energy bills certainly aren’t getting any smaller; in September of 2022, for example, Duke Energy customers saw a 9.5% increase in their electric bills, and other companies are likely to follow suit. To counteract these increases, now is a good time to focus on home energy saving.
The good news is that there are plenty of no- to low-cost, easy ways to save energy that you can implement around your house. Here are some of our favorite tips for saving energy at home.
10 Home Energy Saving Tips
These tips for how to save on energy bills are proven, effective, and easy to do. Try one or all of these ideas. Every little bit can make a difference!
- Seal air leaks around your home. Air leaks can account for 25% to 40% of your heating and cooling costs—a complete waste of energy (not to mention money). Spend some time caulking or sealing your home. Common air leak culprits include around external water faucets, exterior corners, door and window frames, and electrical outlets and switches, among others.
- Reduce costs with efficient laundry practices. Did you know that you can save up to $250 per year on your energy costs, just by washing your laundry in cold water instead of hot? Add another $100 in savings for line-drying instead of using a clothes dryer. This might take some getting used to, but it’s worth a try if you’re wondering how to save on energy bills.
- Clean air vents and filters. Dirty, clogged ducts and air filters require your furnace and AC to work harder, costing more money on your heating and cooling bills. Dust or vacuum air vents regularly and change air filters at least every three months.
- Turn down the temperature on your water heater. Turning the water heater down to 120 degrees can save you up to $400 per year. Most water heaters are automatically set at 140 degrees, which is much hotter than necessary for household tasks and bathing.
- Don’t heat or cool unused spaces. Guest rooms, rarely used rec rooms, and other areas of your home that you don’t use as often don’t need to be cooled or heated. Close the register vents and doors to those rooms to save energy.
- Unplug electronics when they’re not in use. Most electronics still use standby power, even when they’re powered down. Indicator lights, clocks, and other components still draw power. Duke Energy notes that unplugging these “energy vampires” can save you up to 20 percent on your electrical bill.
- Use small appliances when possible. When possible, use a smaller appliance like a toaster oven, microwave, or electric kettle to warm up food and beverages. These draw less power than a stove and generally get the job done faster.
- Adjust the temperature at night. During the summer, your AC doesn’t need to work as hard when it’s cooler at night. In the winter, turn the thermostat down a few degrees during sleeping hours. These minor adjustments can save you big money, and chances are that you’ll barely even notice the difference in temperature.
- Insulate hot water pipes. Insulating hot water pipes prevents heat loss as the water travels from your water heater to the faucet—which is even more critical if you’ve followed suggestion #4 above and turned down your water heater’s thermostat.
- Invest in energy-efficient appliances. Older appliances just aren’t as efficient as newer models. When buying a new appliance, look for the EnergyStar label, which indicates that the appliance meets EPA energy efficiency standards.
Related Content: Should You Replace a Furnace & AC at the Same Time?
Yellow Dot Can Help: Energy-Saving Home Improvements
While all the above tips will help you save money on the average electric bill in North Carolina, sometimes what your home really needs is an upgrade. A new furnace or AC can make a huge difference in your energy costs, as can upgrading your home’s appliances to more efficient models.