Simple, Non-Obvious Ways to Conserve Energy

If your household energy bill is out of hand, put these tips in action to conserve energy — and therefore, money.

To conserve energy is to conserve money, and most savvy consumers are already aware of the conventional ways to do that. But some savings aren’t as obvious as turning the thermostat up in the winter or down in the summer, or tightening up your weather-stripping.

Fortunately, you have us here at Savvy Consumer Central to suggest that you paint your roof white or install LED light bulbs. Well, here are a few more unconventional energy-saving tips that you might try.

Wrap Your Water Heater

If you persist in using a conventional hot water heater instead of a tankless system (as we suggested months and months ago), you can still save a little money by wrapping your water heater in a thermal blanket during cold weather. No use wasting heat warming up your garage or utility closet.

While most water heaters are pretty well insulated inside, a good fiberglass hot water heater blanket can save you as much as 10% on your water-heating bill. You can get one at the hardware store for $20-25, and it’ll last forever. It should pay for itself in a year or so.

Let There Be Light

Believe it or not, simple lamp placement can save you money. If you situate lamps in the corners of your rooms, the light will reflect off the surrounding walls, brightening up the room considerably. That means you can use a lower wattage bulb to get the same amount of light you were getting before. Simple, yes?

Movin’ On

Speaking of lights, if you connect them to a motion sensor, you don’t have to worry about turning them off when you leave the room; the sensor will do it for you. This isn’t a big deal for you, of course, since you’re good about turning out lights you’re not using; but how about your kids or forgetful spouse?

You can usually get a good motion sensor for about $15, or possibly less if you’re really savvy.

Buy a Laptop

We’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating: laptop computers use one-third the energy of a comparable desktop.

So next time you replace your computer, get a laptop instead. These days, they’re just as powerful as most desktops, and have just as much memory storage. Plus you can take them everywhere with you, which is especially useful since Wi-Fi is almost everywhere nowadays.

The Bottom Line

I can’t say you’ll save oodles of dollars every month by implementing these tips, but you’ll definitely save some money, and the savings will add up. It’s certainly worth time and effort to conserve energy even little bits at a time, if you can put that money toward something else important.