Utility bills can be one of your biggest expenses after your mortgage or rent payments. That’s why saving money at home is so important. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to reduce your energy consumption and lower those bills. Keep reading to learn seven strategies for saving money at home by using less energy.

1. Take Care of Your HVAC System

For most people, the power used for heating and cooling your house makes up the biggest portion of your utility bills. Fortunately, there are some routine maintenance tasks that can help boost the efficiency of these units.

According to Neeeco’s Mass Save Rebates program, If your house uses forced air for heat or air conditioning, then make a point to change out filters monthly during use. Dust, pet hair, and debris can clog them, making your unit work harder than necessary (and use more energy) to keep your home comfortable.

Arranging for an annual tune up of your HVAC system is a great way to make sure it is running at peak performance. It can also help you identify any problems before they become an emergency repair call. That can potentially save you hundreds in repair costs down the road, making a tune-up a smart investment.

2. Add Insulation

Modern homes are pretty well insulated, but if your house was built more than ten years ago, you might want to inspect your insulation. This is what keeps cold and hot air outside of your home, and it helps keep your house free from drafts. All of which means more money stays in your bank account where you want it to be.

Attics, walls, and basements or crawl spaces should all be properly insulated. There are several types of residential insulation available, such as rolled, spray-on, blown-in, and board type products. Each is designed for different uses. Be sure to follow building codes in your area when choosing an insulation product.

3. Unplug Tech Devices

Your tech devices and gadgets draw power when they are plugged in, even if they are powered off. The easy solution to this is to unplug them. Using surge protectors that can easily be switched off is an easy way to cut power to multiple devices when you are not using them. Just keep in mind that anything plugged into that unit will not charge while it is turned off.

4. Adjust Your Thermostat

Adjusting your thermostat up or down a couple of degrees can make a big difference in how much your heat or a/c has to work. Using ceiling fans to move air around can make a room feel more comfortable as you adjust to the new temperatures.

5. Upgrade Windows and Doors

If you have single-pane windows, or there are noticeable drafts around them and your doors, it could be time to invest in new ones. If your budget doesn’t allow for this major renovation, consider alternatives like storm windows and doors or weatherstripping kits to reduce drafts.

6. Replace Incandescent Bulbs

New energy-efficient LED bulbs use about a quarter of the energy needed to power traditional incandescent bulbs, so they will quickly pay for themselves in energy savings. They also last up to 25 times longer than other styles of lighting. Since you won’t need to buy replacement bulbs for a while, you can expect your savings to last.

7. Rethink Your Laundry Routine

Changing how you wash laundry can translate into major household savings. Start by lowering the temperature on your washing machine at least one setting. If you usually use warm water, opt for cool instead or switch from hot to warm or cool. Heating water takes the most energy out of any function your washing machine does, so you should see a change in utility bills right from the start.

Use the smallest load size for the number of clothes you are washing, or wait until you have a bigger load before putting them in. This can cut down on total water use, especially if you have a traditional, standard efficiency machine that fills to cover your clothes.

Don’t overlook the dryer, either. Use moisture sensing settings if your machine has them to avoid running already-dry clothes through the appliance unnecessarily. Invest in a drying rack or install a clothesline to avoid using it altogether.

Small Steps Can Lead to Big Savings

You don’t have to do a complete overhaul of your home to realize substantial savings on your electric bill. Start with small changes in your everyday routine like switching off lights when you leave a room and unplugging your devices when they aren’t being used. When you are ready to do more, consider having an energy audit done to see where you can maximize savings.