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Being Energy Conscious Pays: How to Save Money This Summer

July 27, 2015

As temperatures rise over the summer, it’s common—and frightening—to see energy bills rise with them. The average household spends more than $2,000 a year on these utilities. Most people want it to feel cold the moment when they walk through the front door, but this mindset can be challenging for your wallet and the environment.

It’s easy to make a few minor adjustments in your home to have a more efficient and equipped house. Here are a few ways to save money this summer—and through the rest of the year.


Lights are one of the easiest changes to make in the home. If you have family or roommates who tend to come and go quickly, installing occupancy sensors for your lights can help. You have light when you need it and it turns off soon after you’ve left the room—doesn’t matter if you’ve forgotten to flip the switch. These types of motion detectors can help you save 10-15 percent of your lighting costs.

LED lights are also a quick option. They last longer and are more energy efficient than other bulbs. With a lifespan of about 22.8 years, Cree’s 60-Watt Daylight LED bulb, for example, has a lifetime savings of $140 and uses 85 percent less energy than a comparable incandescent. Switching out the top 10 most used bulbs in your home with Cree 60-Watt Daylight LEDs could result in:

$60 Annual Savings


Simple landscaping decisions could actually save you money in the long run. Trees are a great way to add natural shading around a home—and you only need a few. Also, by sheltering your air conditioning unit with natural shade, you will help the appliance run more efficiently when it’s working hard to crank out cold air. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, effectively placing as little as three trees around the home can result in:

$100-$250 Annual Savings

Vampire Power

Remember those unused electronics plugged into the wall, down in your basement? Well you might not realize it, but they are still using power. These appliances are using “vampire power” and they can creep up the energy bill. Make it a habit to unplug items when not in use. According to the EPA, over $10 billion is wasted each year on vampire power in the United States. Georgia Power notes that making it a habit to unplug items when not in use could result in:

$100 Savings


While refrigerators always need to be on, there are some surprising tips that can make them run more efficiently. Try to keep food away from the interior walls of the refrigerator. It will help the cold air inside circulate faster and more efficiently. Also, don’t place your refrigerator in an unairconditioned space, such as a garage or basement. These environments will require the appliance to use excessive amounts of energy to remain cool inside.

Thanks to new innovations, ENERGY STAR certified refrigerators use less energy than those that are 10 or more years older. Consider recycling your old refrigerator and investing in one that’s better for you and the environment for a $9 annual savings. Or, better yet, if you have a second fridge, unplugging it when not in use could result in:

 $250 Annual Savings

HV/AC Air Filters

Out of site and out of mind is a common theme when it comes to changing air filters. Dust and dirt can clog the filters and reduce their efficiency. Place a reminder on your calendar to change your air filters every three months. A clean filter can lower your A/C’s energy consumption by 5-15 percent. The savings will quickly add up and could result in:

Ceiling Fans

If you’re looking for an instant cool down, start with turning on your ceiling fan. It may not lower the actual temperature of the room you’re sitting in, but it can make the air feel up to six degrees colder. Increase your thermostat two degrees and, once combined with fan use, you could be raking in a 14 percent savings in your energy expenses over the summer.

Want to know more ways to lower your monthly bills and help the environment? Take the Home Depot Home Efficiency Audit.