8 Ways to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient

Christa Baxter
Researcher & Writer
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Published on July 11, 2019
3 min read

At a glance

Many homeowners and renters are trying to cut costs to make up for rising prices. Lucky for you, one of the easiest places to save money is right inside your own house or apartment.

Making your home more energy efficient isn’t just good for the environment, it goes a long way in reducing your monthly utilities, too. In fact, if you implement the right changes, you can see those bills drop anywhere from 20–30% per year.

Here are eight easy ways you can make your home more energy efficient without making a drastic lifestyle change or tackling major renovations:

  1. Cover bare floors with rugs
  2. Insulate your windows
  3. Install energy efficient lightbulbs
  4. Use smart power strips
  5. Invest in a smart thermostat
  6. Seal your doors and windows
  7. Change your ceiling fan direction
  8. Clean your refrigerator coils
Money
See how your utility bills rate

Ever wondered how your utility bills compare to the rest of the country? See what the average energy bill looks like in each state—then find more tips for saving money on utilities in our Utility Bills 101 guide.


The whole picture

1. Use rugs on bare floors

Instead of cranking up the heat whenever your bare floors get too cold during the winter, lay down a nice area rug instead. Rugs trap heat much more efficiently than hardwood flooring does, giving the heating system in the apartment a bit of a rest.

Move.org's picks

Product
Estimated price
View on Amazon
Safavieh Moroccan Ogee Plush Runner, 2'3" x 6' Safavieh Moroccan Ogee rug$37
nuLOOM Contemporary Area Rug, 5' x 8'$68
Safavieh Grey/Gold Rug, 6'7" x 9'2"$132
Safavieh Vintage Bohemian Navy Area Rug, 8' x 10'Safavieh Vintage Bohemian Navy Area Rug, 8' x 10'$191

2. Insulate your windows

Poorly insulated windows let cool air in during the winter and let cool air escape during the summer. Taking care of this one simple issue is another way to rely less on your heating and cooling system all year round.

Try an inexpensive window insulator or add thermal curtains.

Move.org's picks

Product
Estimated price
Learn more
Duck Heavy Duty Insulating Film Window Kit, 3 Windows $8
3M Indoor Window Insulator Kit, 5 Windows $12
NICETOWN Thermal Insulated Blackout Curtains, Multiple Sizes & Colors $19 & up
H.VERSAILTEX Blackout Curtains, Multiple Sizes & Colors $29 & up

3. Use energy efficient lightbulbs

CFL and LED light bulbs aren’t just more energy efficient—they also shine brighter and last longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. Not only do you get the benefit of saving money on utility bills, but you’ll also have to buy replacement bulbs less often.

Move.org's picks

Product
Estimated price
Learn more
Philips T2 100W-Equivalent CFL Light Bulb, 4-Pack $10
Sylvania T2 60W-Equivalent CFL Light Bulb, 8-Pack $20

Great Eagle A19 100W-Equivalent LED Light Bulbs, 6-Pack

$19
Sylvania A19 60W-Equivalent LED light Bulbs, 24-Pack $24

4. Use smart power strips

Did you know your appliances and electronic devices can still draw power even when they're turned off? Turns out these devices make up about 25% of all residential energy consumption even though they're in standby or idle mode.1

More expensive models come with Alexa, Apple Home, and other smart home integrations or apps that let you remotely control which electronics get turned off. And some energy-saving power strips turn certain devices on or off when they’re not in use based on the order they’re plugged into the strip.

For example, if you plug your TV into the “master” plug on the strip, it automatically cuts off power to your Blu-Ray player and game console when the TV is not in use.

Move.org's picks

Product
Estimated price
Learn more
TrickleStar 12-Outlet Advanced Power Strip $14
BESTEK Surge Protector 8-Outlet Power Strip $34
TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi 6-Outlet Power Strip $65

5. Don't heat an empty home

Installing a smart thermostat is a great way to automatically adjust your home’s temperature based on how you’re actually using it. You can turn off the heater during the day while you’re at work and have it automatically turn back on at certain times, giving you a nice and toasty home to return to.

Move.org's picks

Product
Estimated price
Learn more
Honeywell Home Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat, Alexa-Enabled $133
Nest Learning Thermostat, Alexa-Enabled $189
ecobee SmartThermostat, Alexa-Enabled $249

6. Seal your doors and windows

If you’ve found a draft in one of your doors or windows, you’ve just spotted one of the primary ways that money is leaving your bank account without you realizing it.

By sealing your doors and windows, you can make sure that the cool air during the summer or warm air during the winter actually stays in your home where it belongs.

Move.org's picks

Product
Estimated price
Learn more
CloudBuyer Weatherproof Door & Window Weatherstrip, 2-Pack $8

BAINING Door Draft Stopper Door Sweep for Exterior/Interior Doors

$10
MAGZO Draft Stopper, 36-inch $20

7. Change your ceiling fan direction for the season

7. save on energy costs by changing your ceiling fan rotation

Maintaining the right temperature in your apartment is all about proper air circulation.

Your ceiling fan should be pushing air down during those warm summer months and drawing it up during the winter to help regulate the temperature and create a more comfortable environment at the same time.

Not sure which direction your ceiling fan should rotate in the winter? Check out this handy guide from Home Depot.

8. Vacuum and dust your refrigerator coils and fan regularly

8. save on energy costs by cleaning refrigerator coils

Vacuuming and dusting your refrigerator coils and fan regularly helps to improve the energy efficiency of this ever-important appliance.

Regular cleaning also reduces the chance your fridge breaks down (ruining all your groceries in the process)—and your refrigerator will also use less electricity and save you money at the exact same time.

Not sure where to start cleaning? Check out this refrigerator maintenance guide from The Family Handyman.


Recap

Making your home more energy efficient doesn’t have to be a costly or lengthy process at all. Spending a few minutes to make these changes can yield a substantial difference in the cost of your utilities over the course of the year.

Have you tried any of these tips? Do you have any other suggestions that have helped save you money? Let our readers know what you’re doing to make your home more energy efficient in the comments below!

Sources

Christa Baxter
Written by
Christa Baxter
Christa Baxter has worked as an editor for more than eight years and specialized in moving content for the last three. She leads the Move.org content team in producing whip-smart moving tips and recs. After relocating four times in the last calendar year, she’s got strong opinions about moving best practices. (Just don’t ever pull a Marie Kondo and suggest she whittle down her personal library.) She earned a BA and MA in English with a minor in editing.