It’s easy to reduce your home energy use, and doing so doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Here are 20 energy — and money — saving tips:

  1. Make sure your cooling/heating system is operating efficiently by having a contractor do annual checkups.
  2. Clear the area around your outdoor HVAC unit so nothing is obstructing air intake. Airflow problems can reduce your system’s efficiency by up to 15 percent.
  3. Vacuum registers and vents regularly to remove dust buildup.
  4. Plant trees to shade windows or move container trees and plants in front of windows. But always make sure you’re planting the right tree in the right place.
  5. Sealing air leaks can help your home feel more comfortable and improve its energy efficiency, saving you money on energy bills. Simple fixes include installing weather stripping on doors and caulking around windows. Film window coverings also help improve efficiency and qualify for an OUC rebate. If you want to splurge on a big gift to yourself, buy Energy Star® windows and get an OUC rebate.
  6. Increasing your attic insulation to R-30 or higher will reduce energy loss, and OUC can help you do it through Efficiency Delivered. Upgraded insulation is eligible for a rebate of 10 cents per square foot. Click here to check out our list of preferred insulation contractors.
  7. Put your Usage Dashboard to good use. Learn how this tool can help you manage electric and water usage and save money on your utility bill.
  8. Use ceiling fans to improve air circulation. In the winter, make sure they’re turning clockwise, and in the summer reverse the direction to counterclockwise, but don’t forget to turn them off when the room is empty.
  9. Set your thermostat at 78 degrees or higher when cooling your home and 68 degrees or lower when heating your home. Each additional degree can cost you 6% to 8% more on your heating and cooling costs.
  10. Avoid adding heat and humidity to your home during the hottest part of the day. Cook on your outdoor grill instead of using your oven.
  11. Wash only full loads in dishwasher and clothes washer. Using hot water can add about 90 percent to the cost of each load, so consider using cold water.
  12. Clear your dryer vent regularly to prevent fires and improve efficiency.
  13. Check your water heater temperature to ensure it is set no higher than 120 degrees, otherwise you’re wasting energy.
  14. In the spring, summer and fall, use shades, drapes and blinds to keep the sun and heat out, especially on windows that face east or west. Draw window covering in the winter to let heat in during the day.
  15. If you’re heating and cooling your home with an old HVAC system, then you’re throwing money out the window. Upgrade to a heat pump rated 15 SEER or higher and you may qualify for a rebate.
  16. Change your A/C filter every month! A dirty filter restricts air flow, making the system work harder to keep you warm or cool.
  17. Replace old and inefficient incandescent lights with light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs. They use substantially less electricity but emit brighter light, and they’re more durable and longer lasting. Here’s what you need to know about home light bulbs.
  18. Water heating can account for 14% to 25% of the energy consumed in your home. Wash your clothes in cold water and save.
  19. Instead of just turning your electronics off, unplug them. Even when they’re “off,” they still draw electricity from the outlet.
  20. A smart or programmable thermostat will allow you to set comfortable temperatures while you’re home and minimize heating or cooling when you’re not.

Find out how you can improve the energy efficiency of your home with a free OUC Efficiency Delivered home energy-efficiency audit. This program offers a variety of rebates on upgrades that reduce energy and water use.

Updated April 11, 2022