Many people think energy savings can only be made with pricey upgrades to your insulation and windows, but this is not the case. Small changes in the way you live day to day inside your home can whittle down your bills without much cost or effort on your part. Shaving pennies from your power bill can add up over time and turn into real savings.

Turn out the lights. Use natural light whenever possible during the day, and keep lights off in rooms that aren’t being used at all times. Where possible, use task lighting rather than lighting an entire room. Replace old incandescent lightbulbs with newer, energy-efficient LED or CFL bulbs.

Adjust your thermostat. Set the thermostat on your heater as low, or your A/C as high, as remains comfortable while the house is occupied. When the house is unoccupied, adjust it even more. A programmable thermostat can manage these changes for you, and this can greatly reduce your heating and cooling bills.

Don’t heat and cool unused rooms. If there are rooms in your house that are used infrequently or not at all, close all the air vents that lead into them, and keep the doors closed. Heating and cooling only the rooms that you use regularly will bring you significant savings on your power bill.

Turn off unused electronics. Plug your electronics into power strips, and shut those power strips off when you aren’t using them. TVs and DVD players use wattage even in standby mode, and turning them off entirely will save you money in the long term. And remember to unplug chargers when you’re not charging your devices: they continue to consume energy as long as they are plugged in.

Work with nature. Understand that west- and south-facing sides of a home will get the most sun, and plan your window treatments accordingly. Planting shade trees on these sides of your home will provide both beauty outdoors and a buffer between the sun’s rays and your home.

Change the way you do laundry. Try to do only full loads of laundry, as running a half-full laundry machine wastes water and energy. Wash on cold or warm cycles rather than hot whenever possible. If you can cut out use of the dryer altogether by air-drying clothes on clotheslines or drying racks, you will save a lot of money: dryers are exceeded only by water heaters in annual energy costs caused by appliances.

Keep filters up-to-date. Your furnace and air conditioner have filters that can get clogged up with dust, which restricts airflow and increases the amount of energy required to heat or cool your home. Changing the filters regularly will keep them clear of debris and keep your energy bills down. For this reason, you shouldn’t forget to clean the lint trap out every time you use the dryer as well.

Saving energy does not have to mean making major investments in your home. Cutting costs in small ways here and there by maintaining appliances, reducing waste, and making small changes to the way you live at home can add up over time, meaning more money stays in your pocket.

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