There are lots of ideas on how to cut energy costs at home. You probably have heard most of them but still havn't done them. Here are some tips for the person who is not very diligant about energy use, but still wants to cut some costs.
Things You Will Need
indoor plug in timers
Great Stuff foam
Step 1One of the most basic energy saving ideas that people avoid doing is shutting off phantom load power sources. Many modern devices draw electricity even when turned off. Experts suggest plugging these things into a power strip and turning the strip off when not in use. I tried to do this but failed. I came up with a plan that even the lazy person can do. I plugged my TV, DVD player, Game console, and all of that stuff into a power strip. And then I plugged that into a timer. I was unable to remember to kill the power strip but with the timer I don't need to remember.
Another energy drain on your budget is cold air. An place often forgotten for cold air to seep in is your power outlets. Put your hand in front of your outlets on your exterior walls and you will probably feel a light draft. For a more sensitive test try a burning incense stick. Light it and watch the smoke. If you do have drafts here there are a few solutions. Great stuff foam used in moderation or specially made insulation or seals for outlets.
If you have an unfinished basement, or a crawlspace, you may be wasting lots of energy and money heating space you don't even use. To find leaks in your duct work, use the incense stick again. When you find leaks, patch with any number of methods from special tape, to caulk. If you do have a crawl space you may even want to insulate the ductwork. There are insulation products designed to wrap around your metal ductwork.
Of all of the methods for saving energy, the one that had the biggest impact in my house was the shrinkwrap plastic over windows. Frost was forming on my bathroom window and the window over the kitchen sink. So I bought a kit and covered those two windows to save the wood from damage. I had some left over material and decided to cover a couple of windows upstairs. In my house I have only one heat vent upstairs. My upstairs is usually 4-5 degrees colder all winter. I shrinkwrapped 3 of the 6 windows and now my upper floor is warmer than the rest of the house. I was shocked, I had always found it odd that my upstairs was colder anyway, and now I know why. The windows are only 3 years old and are double pane with argon, so I thought that plastic waould be a waste of time. I was wrong. I am sure glad I had extra plastic film from the other windows. All six windows took 35 mnutes and cost me 2.99 to wrap.
There is always room for energy improvement. Take it one project at a time and the results may shock you.
I use CFL bulbs where I can, and timers as often as possible, insulate my hot water pipes and change my furnace filter as often as I can remember to.
Tips & Warnings
Not all projects are major undertakings or wildly expensive.
Don't use a 50 foot cord if a 5 foot cord will reach.