14 Ways to Cut Costs in Every Corner of Your Home

By Jennifer Noonan, bobvila

Get a Programmable Thermostat

Installing a programmable thermostat can really save you money. According to, you can save as much as 1 percent on your winter heating bill for every degree you turn your thermostat down for an eight-hour period, and a programmable thermostat can automate those savings for you. If you choose a smart thermostat, it can even learn your schedule, automatically rolling back the temperature when you're sleeping at night or when you're out of the house so you'll always be comfortable, both physically and fiscally.

Install Attic Fans

Attic fans can take some of the pressure off your A/C unit by drawing hot air out of the house through the attic so your air conditioner won't have to work as hard. Attic fans don’t cost a lot to operate, and there are even solar options available, which means you'll use even less energy from the grid.

Put in Water Restrictors

Your water heater uses a lot of energy—in fact, only your HVAC system uses more. Build in some savings and use less hot water by installing water-flow restrictors on your shower heads. These little pieces of hardware control the flow of water from the shower head, thereby reducing your hot water use. You could save up to $25 per year for each shower head that you outfit with a restrictor.

Give Your Water Heater a Blanket

Just as heat escapes from your head in the winter, heat escapes from your water heater too. Stop the heat loss by giving your water heater a "hat"—a water heater blanket—to save money on your energy bills.

Thermal Curtains

The next time you're selecting window treatments, think beyond aesthetics and consider energy savings. If you opt for thermal curtains, which have a layer of foam sandwiched between the layers of fabric, you'll cut your energy bills in the long run. Insulated curtains keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. As a bonus, they'll also keep your room darker for better sleep and can dampen sound as well.

Upgrade Your Insulation

If your home is older, you could benefit from upgrading to the latest insulation technology. Adding insulation to your home is a doable DIY project and offers one of the best returns on investment of any home improvement. Depending on the size and location of your home and the heating type, improving your home’s insulation could save you more than $500 per year in energy costs.

Use Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs

Energy-efficient bulbs use between 25 to 80 percent less energy than traditional light bulbs, and they last longer. When you think about the number of light bulbs you have in your house, you can understand how replacing all of them could make a serious dent in your electric bill.

Maintain Your Furnace and A/C

Be sure to keep up with regular preventive maintenance for your furnace and air-conditioning units—and that includes changing the filters at regular intervals. A properly maintained system will run more efficiently, require fewer repairs, and last longer.

Wash Your Clothes in Cold Water

These days, both laundry detergents and washing machines have become more efficient. So, in most cases, cold water will get your clothes clean. Use warm or hot water only for heavily soiled clothes or linens that need to be sanitized. The less your water heater has to work, the more money you’ll save. While you're at it, save water by setting your washer to a water level that's appropriate for the quantity of clothes you’re washing.

Reduce Your Toilet's Water Usage

A dual-flush toilet helps save water by offering you two types of flushes—a lighter flush and a heavier one—to wash away waste. If you'd rather not upgrade your toilet or install a dual-flush retrofit kit, you can try this water-saving hack instead: Fill a two-liter bottle with water and place it in your toilet tank. The displacement will reduce the amount of water your toilet uses every time you flush. Multiply that little bit of water by thousands of flushes a year, and you end up saving both water and dollars.

Use Smart Power Strips

Household electronic devices can suck up a lot of electricity even when they’re not in use. Cut down on wasted energy by investing in smart power strips, which shut down power to devices when they are in standby mode.

Clean the Fridge

Be sure to clean your fridge regularly, and don’t ignore the vents and fan. By keeping these parts clean and free of blockages, you will encourage optimal airflow, which will keep your fridge working more efficiently and save you money.

Adjust the Temp of Your Water Heater

Most water heaters are set to a manufacturer’s recommendation of 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Go ahead and knock that setting down by 10 to 15 degrees. You'll spend less to heat your water, and your showers will probably feel just as comfortably warm as ever.

Use Your Dishwasher

It may seem counterintuitive, but using your dishwasher is actually more efficient than washing dishes by hand—as long as you’re running full loads. So, don’t feel guilty! Load 'er up!

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Lifestyle Magazine: 14 Ways to Cut Costs in Every Corner of Your Home
14 Ways to Cut Costs in Every Corner of Your Home
Nearly every room in the house provides an opportunity to save money—if you know what to do. Check out our favorite cost-saving tips for your home, ranging from cleaning your refrigerator to selecting energy-saving window treatments.
Lifestyle Magazine
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