We all know that turning off lights when we aren't in the room is the first step in controlling your utility bill. With electricity costs going up every year, finding ways to be more efficient about your utility use is not only better for your wallet, it is better for the environment.
Here are some awesome and perhaps lesser known tips to save electricity.
Install Door Sweeps. If you have heating or cooling for various parts of your house installing door sweeps can save you money. They are attached to the bottom of your door helping to keep a better seal. They are inexpensive and easy to install. A great use for example would be on a door to a basement.
Get a Programmable Thermostat. Getting one of these puppies is one of the sure fire tips to save electricity. Set it to be several degrees cooler throughout the day during the winter and several degrees warmer during the summer.
Get a Mattress Heating Pad. These are considerably cheaper than heating your entire house during the winter while you sleep. You can manage to keep your home cooler at night, still feel comfortable sleeping and save electricity all at the same time.
Buy Compact-Fluorescent Bulbs. These are a given. They use less than half the energy of a normal bulb and last 10 times longer. True, they don't off the same kind of light, but the dingy yellow light of a normal bulb isn't good for your eyes anyway.
Make Use of Power Strips. Many appliances including computers, TVs, and many appliances drain electricity when plugged in, even when they aren't on. You can avoid this "phantom" energy drain by utilizing power strips. When you turn a power strip off it will keep the items plugged in to it from draining juice.
Trick Your Toilet. This doesn't exactly fall under the category of "tips to save electricity", but it will help you reduce your water/sewer bill. If you still have a standard toilet here is a quick trick to make it just as efficient as an expensive brand new water saving one. Put a clean brick or a plastic bottle full or rocks in the toilet tank. This has the effect of displacing water so that less is used each time you flush.
Get an Energy Audit. An Energy audit is designed to evaluate your home and examine the areas of greatest heating or cooling loss. They can also work on determining the amount of time needed to recoup upgrade costs (like insulation or windows). Many energy companies will provide an audit for free or a nominal amount and there are even volunteer organizations in various areas that perform energy audits.
Check your AC. Have your air conditioning checked once a year or just replace the filter yourself. This is often overlooked, but changing the filter regularly can have a real impact on your bottom line during the summer months.