How to Lower Your Energy Bill: The Homeowner’s Guide

How to Lower Your Energy Bill: The Homeowner’s Guide

Here’s what we’ll cover in this guide:

  • How to fight the rising costs of energy
  • 13 energy conservation tips 
  • More ideas to reduce the amount you pay per bill
  • Ways to save and support clean energy
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Electricity isn’t cheap — and in a world with hotter summers, more severe winters and more powerful storms, having access to affordable and reliable electricity ranks high on everyone’s agenda.

One of the most common questions we at EcoWatch get is how to lower your energy bill, as in 2022 consumers across the country are struggling with electricity prices rising at their fastest rate since 2008.1 So, whether you live in a house or apartment, here are a few tips to help you save.

How To Fight the Rising Costs of Energy

Electricity rates can be high for many reasons: expensive energy in your state, an energy-inefficient home, excessive electricity use, or an expensive or unsuitable electricity plan from your provider. Whatever the case, there are some simple things you can do to save energy and reduce your monthly energy bills a little planning and action can go a long way.

Before you start thinking about a major investment like solar panels, consider a few energy-efficiency tricks. Here are 13 tips for conserving energy in your home. 

13 Energy Conservation Tips

We can be quick to blame electricity rates and inflation for rising electricity bills, but you can reduce them with a few simple alterations to your home and lifestyle. Below are 13 tips to consider if you’re trying to conserve energy and lower your energy bill.  But first, here’s a look across the country at what electricity is really powering in our homes and how much electricity our household items use:

How Americans Use Electricity

Badge icon

Constellation Energy

Best National Company

Nationwide Service

EcoWatch rating

Average cost


  • Many years of experience
  • Great industry reputation
  • Award-winning company
  • No.1 producer of carbon-free energy in the U.S.
  • Makes charitable contributions


  • Charges contract cancellation fees
  • No prepaid or no-deposit plans
Badge icon

Gexa Energy

Best Rates

Statewide Service

EcoWatch rating

Average cost


  • Many years of experience
  • Great industry reputation
  • Makes charitable contributions
  • Low rates
  • Wide variety of contract term options


  • Charges contract cancellation fees
  • No prepaid or no-deposit plans
  • Slightly high number of complaints versus competitors
Badge icon

Green Mountain Energy

Best Green Energy Options

Nationwide Service

EcoWatch rating

Average cost


  • Green-e certified plans
  • Wide variety of contract term options
  • Low number of customer complaints
  • Many years of experience
  • Makes charitable contributions


  • Charges contract cancellation fees
  • No prepaid or no-deposit plans
  • No satisfaction guarantee

1. Get an Energy Audit

A home energy audit, also known as an energy assessment, helps you understand how you’re actually using electricity in your home. Audits can help determine how much energy you use, whether your home needs efficiency upgrades and how to prioritize home energy use improvement.

Home energy expert Greg Fasullo said his customers are always pleasantly surprised by how much money they save after his company, Elevation, performs home energy audits.

“‘ll get emails from people and they’ll little circle their bill and the month before they spent $300. And then all of a sudden they spent $150,” Fasullo said.

By having an audit done and making necessary improvements to fix energy problem areas, Fasullo said homeowners can save $1,000 or more a year.

“The analogy I like to use it’s like a car or the gas tank. If gas tank has a leak. You don’t want to keep putting more gas in or lower cost gas. First thing is let’s fix the leak. And that’s the energy efficiency work with the house,” Fasullo added.

Many electrical contractors, solar companies and window or door installation companies provide comprehensive energy audits. These can be a great first step in assessing the most practical ways for you to conserve energy in your home. Getting an accurate picture of your energy use before you plan other actions to increase efficiency and decrease your bills can save you a lot of time and potential expense. 

Watch our quick video below to see how much a home energy audit can save you.

2. Wash Your Clothes in Cold Water

Many of us don’t think much about our washing machine settings, but you waste a lot of electricity when you wash clothes in warm or hot water. Heating gallons of water for laundry might actually use more energy than running the load itself. Using cold water to wash your clothes and washing only full loads can save you a lot of electricity.

3. Use a Drying Rack or Clothesline

Solar energy isn’t just useful for solar panels! Consider hanging your clothes to dry on a clothesline or drying rack to let heat from the sun dry your clothes without electricity. On warm, sunny days, clothes can dry even more quickly outside than in the hot air of the dryer. 

As a bonus to lowering your energy bill, avoiding the dryer can help you maintain the integrity of your clothes for longer. Dryers mean more wear and tear — including shrinkage, color loss and fiber weakening — on your clothes and linens.

4. Change Your HVAC Filter

Your HVAC (heating, cooling and ventilation) filters collect dust, lint, dirt and debris over time. When too much debris accumulates, it’s a lot harder for your systems to pump hot and cold air through the filters. Changing them every few months can ensure your HVAC systems don’t have to work harder than they need to. It will keep the air in your home fresher as well. Consider buying your filters in bulk to boost the savings. 

5. Replace or Upgrade Your Lighting

tips lowering energy bill with led light bulbs

We’re sure you’ve heard about LED lights and the energy savings you can generate with efficient light bulbs. Most sources show LED light bulbs use more than 75% less energy than incandescent lighting and last 25 times as long.2 Upgrading to lights with dimmer switches also helps to regulate the electricity you actually need.

You can also upgrade your outdoor lighting with solar lights that store energy from the daytime in internal batteries for use at night. Solar lights can also go straight into the ground and don’t require any cables, power strips or extension cords. 

6. Upgrade Your Doors and Windows

If you have drafty, leaky doors or windows, you could be wasting a lot of energy. Heat gain/loss through windows is responsible for 25% to 30% of residential heating and cooling energy consumption.3 If your windows or doors are due for replacement, consider installing energy-efficient products in their place. 

If you don’t want new windows, weatherstripping or caulking the seams of your windows can prevent air leaks, helping to conserve energy and lower your utility bill.

Here’s a quick and easy way to tell if your windows or doors are drafty. Light a candle, and hold it near the cracks of the doors or windows you think could be drafty. If the flame from your candle starts to bend toward the window or door cracks, it means that your hot or cold air could be escaping through it. 

7. Shade Your House

Using shade in your home can help to reduce the solar heat that makes its way through your windows, lowering your cooling costs. There are a few ways to go about this — both inside and outside your home. 

  • Use curtains, shades or blinds to cover your windows in warm and hot weather. About 76% of sunlight that falls on standard windows enters to become heat.4 Without proper shading, your air conditioner has to work much harder to keep your home cool.  
  • Use landscaping to reduce the amount of sunlight that falls on your home. During the summer, well-placed trees in your yard can be as effective as other energy-saving home improvements such as insulation and weather-tight windows and doors.5

8. Use Ceiling Fans

It might seem counterintuitive, but turning on your ceiling fans can actually help you reduce your energy use overall. Through circulation, ceiling fans can make air feel cooler to the skin than it actually is. This means you can set your thermostat a few degrees higher than you might otherwise. The ceiling fan will use less energy than your air conditioner would to keep your home feeling cooler. 

Here’s a video that explains more:

9. Upgrade Your Appliances

Appliances such as refrigerators, water heaters, and washers and dryers account for about 15% of a home’s overall consumption of energy from all sources.6 If you have an appliance due for replacement, consider investing in an energy-efficient model. The up-front cost of inefficient appliances can be lower, but operating costs tend to be much higher over time. In addition, most states offer rebates and tax deductions for approved energy-efficient appliances and Energy Star products to cover the cost difference.

10. Install a Heat Pump

Heat pumps are the most efficient form of electric heating in moderate climates.7 They act both as a heater in cool months and an air conditioner in hot months (by pumping heat from inside your home to the outside). 

Heating and cooling your home makes up the majority of household energy costs, and heat pumps are an increasingly popular method of conserving a home’s energy usage. To save even more electricity, some heat pumps are designed to run on solar energy. 

11. Upgrade Your Showerhead

You might not associate water use with your electricity bill, but saving water also helps you save on the energy required to power your water heater. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, by upgrading your showerhead to a WaterSense-labeled one, you could save more than 330 kilowatt hours of electricity annually enough to power a house for 11 days.8

12. Set Your Thermostat

This might seem like a no-brainer, but you might be surprised how few homeowners think to set their thermostats to conserve energy. You can save as much as 10% a year on heating costs by adjusting your temperature setting to 7°-10°F lower than normal for eight hours a day.9 The best times to lower your thermostat are while you’re away for the day and at night while you’re sleeping. Consider investing in a programmable thermostat if you’re due for an upgrade. When used properly, it can pay for itself within a few years. 

Some smart thermostats even have the capability to automatically lower or raise the heat or air conditioning in different areas of your home to balance and optimize its energy use. Most smart thermostats are programmable remotely via smartphone or computer, making it easy to measure, monitor and conserve your home’s electricity usage. 

13. Consider Installing Solar Panels

Still looking for options? Under the right circumstances, an investment in high-quality solar panels can shave tens of thousands of dollars off your lifetime energy costs. Producing solar energy is also a way for homeowners to reduce their carbon footprints while lowering their dependence on electricity from the grid. 

Many solar power companies also provide other energy saving services along with solar installations, including energy-efficiency audits, appliance and lighting upgrades, and solar heat pump and smart thermostat installations. 

More Ways To Reduce Your Energy Bill

Unfortunately, you may face high energy bills even if the amount of energy you use is low. This could be because of your electricty provider’s rates or contract terms or because you’re using a lot of power during peak hours.

If you believe the reason for your high electricity bills rests with your provider, you usually have some options. If you live in one of the 15 states with deregulated electricity markets (shown on the map below), you can switch to a different electricity supplier or a different plan (or both) that will give you lower rates.

Switching suppliers won’t alter how electricity is delivered; this is a function of your local utility, which you can’t change. 

Providers in deregulated states are forced to compete by offering different specials and rate plans catering to different energy needs. Finding a provider and plan that suit your needs can lower your energy bill significantly. You can check out our page on electricity rates to learn more about how to find the right provider for you. 
States with Deregulated Electricity

Ways to Save and Support Clean Energy

In addition to lowering your energy bill, choosing a new electricity supplier or plan lets you decide the source of energy that your electricity is generated from. In many states, even those that are not deregulated, quite a few electricity providers offer plans that use energy from renewable sources like solar and wind, though they may not be cheaper than standard plans. 

Whether or not you live in a state with deregulated electricity, you certainly have the option of reducing or even eliminating your energy bill by installing solar panels. If you’d like to learn more, EcoWatch offers access to a network of reputable solar partners throughout the nation. 

We’ve narrowed down the top clean-energy providers in specific states, and by using this tool or clicking the links below, you can compare prices and find the right plan for you.

Karsten Neumeister is a solar energy specialist passionate about sustainable development, environmental and cultural change. Before joining EcoWatch, Karsten worked in the energy sector of New Orleans, focusing on renewable energy policy and technology. A lover of music and the outdoors, Karsten might be found rock climbing, canoeing or writing songs when away from the workplace.

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Karsten is an editor and energy specialist focused on environmental, social and cultural development. His work has been shared by sources including NPR, the World Economic Forum, Marketwatch and the SEIA, and he is certified in ESG with the CFA Institute. Before joining EcoWatch, Karsten worked in the solar energy sector, studying energy policy, climate tech and environmental education. A lover of music and the outdoors, Karsten might be found rock climbing, canoeing or writing songs when away from the workplace.
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Melissa is an avid writer, scuba diver, backpacker and all-around outdoor enthusiast. She graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in journalism and sustainability studies. Before joining EcoWatch, Melissa worked as the managing editor of Scuba Diving magazine and the communications manager of The Ocean Agency, a nonprofit that’s featured in the Emmy award-winning documentary Chasing Coral.