Save Money at Home with Easy Energy-Saving Tips

Small changes help add up to big savings.

Save Money & Energy
Rebates & Incentives

Austin Energy

Customer Energy Solutions

721 Barton Springs Road

Austin, TX 78704

email icon   Customer Energy Solutions

phone icon   512-482-5346

Save Money at Home with Easy Energy-Saving Tips

Whether you live in a house, a condo, or an apartment, you can try new habits to reduce your home energy usage.

Are you ready to save money and energy? Many of these tips require little to no effort or out-of-pocket expense. Over time, you will see your energy efficiency increase and your savings multiply.

Light Up Your Home for Less

  • Install Light-Emitting Diode (LED) light bulbs. ENERGY STAR® qualified LEDs use at least 75% less electricity, generate less heat, and last about 50 times longer than regular incandescent bulbs, and five times longer than Compact Florescent Light bulbs (CFLs).
  • Use photocells on your outdoor lights.
  • Use task lights instead of lighting an entire room.
  • Turn off unneeded lights, even when leaving a room for a short time. Lights generate heat that increases room temperature. Lighting accounts for about 10% of your energy use.

Get instant, in-store savings on LEDs and other energy-efficient products

Don’t Let Your Electronics Waste Energy

  • Unplug appliances, chargers, and electronic devices when you are not using them. They use energy even when they are turned off.
  • Use power strips in home offices, entertainment centers, and other areas. Turn the strip off when not in use.
  • Purchase a "smart strip" that powers only the devices that need to stay on.
  • Use timers on surge protectors when they are difficult to get to.
  • Use ENERGY STAR® products (some use as little as 1 watt on stand-by).
  • Turn off ceiling fans when you leave the room. Fans cool people, not rooms.

Use Our Web App to Monitor Your Energy Usage

With Austin Energy's interactive web app, you can monitor your daily energy consumption, view your bill history, and see a future forecast of your energy bill.

Learn how to register and get started using the Austin Energy App

Manage Energy Use with Laundry and Dishes

  • Run washing machines and dishwashers on a full load.
  • Choose cold or warm water to wash your clothes. This saves money and makes your clothes last longer.
  • Choose the air dry cycle on your dishwasher.
  • Dry loads of clothes back-to-back to take advantage of heat built up in the dryer.
  • Clean the lint filter after every load. Your dryer will dry more efficiently, requiring less running time.
  • Close the door to the dryer room to keep heat from entering the rest of the house.

Control Your Water Heater

  • Set the temperature no higher than 120 degrees to save around $45 a year.
  • Use the vacation setting when you are away.
  • Wrap your water heater with an insulation blanket. This can reduce energy use by 10% to 15%. An insulating blanket will pay for itself in less than a year.
  • Consider installing a timer on your water heater.  This will keep it from heating the water continuously when the temperature goes below the thermostat setting.  The water heater will only heat water when the timer allows.

Cook and Cool Smart in the Kitchen

  • Check your refrigerator and freezer temperatures. You can save up to 25% by setting your refrigerator temperature between 35 and 38 degrees and your freezer to 0 degrees.
  • Consider getting a chest-styled freezer. They use 10% to 25% less energy than upright freezers, which lose more cold air when open.
  • Consider an energy efficient refrigerator or freezer. Refrigerators more than 10 years old use up to 50% more energy than new energy-efficient models. 
  • Gently vacuum the refrigerator's condenser coils about every three months. Excessive dust buildup makes the refrigerator work harder and run longer. The coils are located in the back or under the bottom of the refrigerator.
  • Make sure your refrigerator and freezer doors seal properly. To test, close the door over a dollar bill. If the dollar pulls out easily, you may need to replace the seal around the door or adjust the door latch.
  • Let food cool before placing in refrigerator (unless the recipe says otherwise). Warm food will cause your refrigerator to run more.
  • Cook outdoors or use the microwave. Microwaves use up to 80% less energy, cook food up to 75% faster, and produce much less heat than an electric or gas oven.
  • Keep the oven door closed. Oven temperature drops by 25 to 30 degrees every time you open the oven door, which slows cooking.
  • If you are using your oven for an hour or more, shut the kitchen off from the rest of your home and turn on the stove exhaust to help take heat out.
  • Never place aluminum foil on an oven bottom (for instance, to catch drippings). The foil may block heat or air circulation and reduce the oven temperature as much as 50 degrees. It may also interfere with even browning.
  • Cook with lids on pots to reduce energy use and heat. This will bring liquids to a boil more quickly and will allow continued cooking at lower temperature settings.
  • Use glass and ceramic pans. They retain heat better than metal pans and can lower the baking temperature by 25 degrees.
  • Try to cook in the morning. Kitchen heat can make your air conditioner work harder during the hotter parts of the day.
  • Cover exhaust fans when not in use. An open kitchen exhaust fan allows hot/cold outside air to come into your home. Low-cost covers are available to cover exhaust fan openings.

Manage Air Conditioning & Heating

Stay Cool During the Summer

  • Set your thermostat at 78 degrees or higher. Each degree lower increases your energy use by 6% to 8%.
  • Turn off your AC or raise the thermostat to 85 degrees when you are away for two hours or more.
  • Let someone else pay the energy bills. Go to a library, shopping center, or community center and take advantage of climate-controlled activities away from home.
  • Point fans in your direction. Fans blowing directly on you can make temperatures around you feel about 4 degrees cooler. In the summer, fan blades should move counterclockwise to push cool air downward. 
  • Clean your AC condenser/evaporator coils at the beginning of the season. Clean coils lower your energy costs, extend the unit's life, and provide cleaner air for you to breathe. The fin coils on the outside AC unit can be washed with a hose. Coils on inside units may be difficult to get to and may require a trained technician.
  • Keep debris and high grass away from the condenser. These obstacles block airflow, which makes the condenser work harder and run longer.
  • Close shades and curtains on windows hit by direct sunlight to prevent heat from getting indoors.
  • Provide shade for outside AC units. AC units shaded by trees or other means work more efficiently and use up to 10% less electricity.
  • Plant trees to shade south and west-facing windows. Trees can reduce indoor air temperatures as much as 20 degrees, saving up to 40% on cooling costs.
  • Avoid turning on the oven during the hottest time of the day. Using the microwave produces less heat.

Stay Warm During the Winter

  • Set your thermostat at 68 degrees. Each degree higher uses 3% more energy.
  • Lower your thermostat when you leave home. You’ll use much less energy to heat the house while you are away.
  • Let the sun shine in. Open curtains and shades on eastern and southern windows during the day to let in more heat, then close them in the evening.
  • Add insulation to water heaters and hot water pipes to save energy and money. This is inexpensive and easy.
  • Caulk and weatherstrip windows and doors. This simple and inexpensive improvement prevents drafts.

Save Even More with Whole Home Energy Improvements

If you are ready to make whole-home energy improvements, and your home is more than 10 years old, our award-winning Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® program offers rebates and loans to help offset the costs of your improvements.

Want to learn more about these energy upgrades? See our interactive guide: Home Energy Improvements Explained.

To get started, contact a few of our registered contractors and learn the recommended energy efficiency improvements for your home.


Austin Energy

Customer Energy Solutions

721 Barton Springs Road

Austin, TX 78704

email icon   Customer Energy Solutions

phone icon   512-482-5346

Date last reviewed or modified: 5/7/19
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