Are you looking for some extreme ways to save on electricity? Check out all of these great tips submitted by readers for the best ways to save!
Extreme Ways to Save on Electricity
Recently, I polled the Little House Living readers on the most extreme ways to save on electricity. I received so many great suggestions that I wanted to share them all with you for some inspiration. Some of these are more extreme than others but all are great ways to cut back on the electricity if you truly need help to save even more money on your electric bill each month.
Install a Wood Stove. – Angel P.
A wood stove can be a great way to save on electricity and they can pay for themselves in one season. Use them to heat your main living areas and kitchen. Maximize your electricity savings by doing your cooking and baking on it. You can keep a large pot of water on the stove to use for most of your hot water needs and hang dry your clothes next to it.
You can also purchase a heat-activated wood stove fan to sit on top of the stove, as the stove heats up the fan will blow the hot air through the house. It requires no extra electricity and can be handy if the power goes out to circulate the heat.
–More tips about How to Save on Heating Costs here.
Close Vents. – Becky
Close off vents in any rooms that are not being used to avoid heating and cooling extra spaces.
Lower Your Thermostat. – Kim R.
During the winter months, keep thermostat temperatures lower to keep costs down. Setting the thermostat to 64-68 degrees can prevent the heater from coming on for long stretches of time which will reduce costs and keep the moisture level down to prevent mold during cool, wet seasons.
Update your current HVAC. – Barbara L.
If you don’t’ have a good electric heating system, it is well worth the money and effort to install a new one and keep up with the maintenance. A good HVAC creates a steady climate in your home that saves money.
To get the most out of your current HVAC, make sure filters are changed and cleaned regularly.
Use natural light. – Melzora T.
Natural light from a window can be just as good as overhead bulbs. During the winter, open South facing windows to let the warmth in and save on heating costs too. Make sure windows are clean to let in as much light and heat as possible.
For extreme savings, try going to bed when it gets dark to prevent the need for overhead lights.
Check your windows. – Carol S.
Check your windows to ensure they are properly sealed and not letting out heat or cool air. Purchase shrink wrap from your local hardware store to put on the insides of windows to prevent drafts on old windows that aren’t properly sealed.
You can also use black out liners for drapes over windows. This can keep the heat out in summer and heat in during the winter. You can save money by making these with a bolt of Roc-Lon insulated drapery lining.
Seal off areas in your home. – Valerie
Seal off all the cracks around your home and use weather stripping around the doors to prevent energy loss. Purchase Sealer Sockets to prevent heat and energy from escaping from your electrical outlets.
You can make door snakes use on the inside of doors to rooms that aren’t used as much and at the base of windows. You can use the legs from old jeans or denim fabric remnants to make the tubes. Fill them with bulk clay cat litter found at your local pet shop and sew the ends shut.
–Find similar tips on my post on Winter Weather Preparedness!
Insulate your basement. – Valerie
If you have a basement, think about insulating the ceiling. Check with your local hardware store and any contractors for damaged or waste board type insulation. Install using duck tape or other temporary solutions so that you can remove it if needed for plumbing or mechanical repairs.
Hang clothes to dry them. – Fatima S.
Hanging your clothes outside on a line is an easy way to save electricity. If you don’t have space outside to hang a line, you can also set up a portable drying rack inside. This one holds a good amount of clothes and folds away very neatly and tucks behind a door when not in use. If you have a wood stove, you can place your rack near it (but not too close) to speed up the drying time.
If hanging your clothes isn’t an option due to time or space, use at least 6 wool dryer balls to prevent the clothes from clumping together and decrease drying times.
–Here are more tips on Frugal Drying Methods.
Use alternative cooking sources. – Laura, Genie, and Sheri
Using an instant pot, slow cooker, and small electric frying pan instead of a large conventional oven can reduce the amount of energy used while cooking. If you have to use your oven, use it to your advantage! In the winter, prepare your items the night before and cook them early in the morning to heat up your home. In the summer months, you can do the opposite and cook late in the evening so you do not add to the heat in your home during the hottest parts of the day.
For even more extreme savings, you can use a solar oven for cooking, dehydrating and distilling. Or purchase a Thermofan oven (convection oven). You can bake lots of different dishes at the same time and it uses less electricity than other ovens.
Scrap your Electric Appliances.
Large mixers, coffee makers and dishwashers can be convenient but they use up a lot of unnecessary electricity. Go back to mixing and washing by hand and use a coffee press to make your daily cup of coffee or tea. Water can be easily heated on a gas stove or wood stove without using additional electricity. If you really love the convenience of these appliances, consider using their fuel-powered alternative.
–Here is a great article on how Washing Dishes By Hand Saves Money!
Turn off the lights. – D. McBee
Always turn off lights when you leave a room or that are not in use. In rooms with multiple bulbs, you can unscrew or loosen a couple of the bulbs so that you have just enough light for daily use. You can easily re-tighten the bulbs when needed or if you have company coming or would like the fixtures to look nicer.
Check your Lighting. – Crystal
Change all of your light bulbs to energy-conserving, LED bulbs. These can be pricey upfront but can really save money on your electricity bill over time. Look for mail-in rebates or instant rebates and replace a room or two at a time.
For more extreme savings, you can switch to candles, oil lamps and solar lights. Start by enjoying your meals by candlelight and then add in more times.
Unplug things that are not in use. – Rose & Crystal
Appliances and electronics pull what is called a “ghost charge” even when they aren’t turned on. Unplug everything when you aren’t using it; computers, printers, radios, phone chargers, kitchen appliances, etc. This can be especially helpful if you leave town or go on vacation.
Deep freezers use a lot of electricity on their own. Consider plugging them in only to store meat and goods long enough for you to process them by canning or dehydrating.
For even more extreme savings, you can shut off most of your breakers until after dark to keep the TV, lights, etc. from being used. Leave only the essentials like the stove and refrigerator in use. You can even turn off the hot water heater until the evening when it is time for dishes and baths.
Switch to a Laptop. – Mette
Desktop computers use more energy than a laptop. Laptops can be conveniently used and even charged at other locations, such as coffee shops.
Take advantage of Medical Baselines. – Susan
If you or someone in your household have a chronic medical condition that requires life-sustaining equipment, including minor aid of an air conditioner or nebulizer, you may be eligible for an energy discount using a Medical Baseline. This program increases (and sometimes doubles) the number of hours at the lowest baseline rate rather than being pushing you up the to next higher rate tier. Energy companies can provide you the medical applications needed for your doctor to complete verifying the condition. It will need to be renewed every two years but can be well worth the time to save you money.
More Creative Ways to Save Electricity
In addition to the tips above, I have a few of my own I’d like to add to this list! We’ve always wanted to live off the grid and while that hasn’t been a possibility for us yet, over the years our family has tried out various ways of saving and conserving energy so that we might be able to live off of a solar or wind system. Below you will find some of the ideas we’ve had and methods that we’ve tried.
Reflective Bubble Insulation
Reflective Bubble Insulation is awesome! You just cut to fit the size of your windows and stick in. We didn’t have to use any adhesives because they fit in the little creases around the windows of our rv which is mainly where we’ve used this. Bubble Insulation works to keep the heat from coming in during the summer and the heat from escaping in the winter. We did lose some natural lighting from the windows but if you have skylights or remove the insulation during the cooler/warmer part of the day (depending on the time of year) you can still enjoy natural light.
Become Very Conscientious of Energy Usage
Once we made our decision to work towards sustainable energy, we became very conscientious of how much energy we were using, how many lights were left on, what used power and what used propane, and more. If you can spend a couple of days without any power at all and you will know exactly what you use!
Invest in LED Bulbs
I know that this is a tip that was mentioned above but it’s worth repeating. We’ve put LED lighting into each home that we’ve been in, including our RVs. Did you know the average lifespan of an LED bulb is 22 years? We’ve purchased 40 watt LED bulbs for the lamps (they actually use 7 watts of energy) and we usually get 60 watt LED bulbs for the overhead lighting (actual use is 8.5 watts), the estimated cost to use the 40 watt bulbs per year is $0.72 (if you use them for 3 hours per day). And yes that’s the YEARLY cost! When we lived in our RV, we also replaced the tiny light bulbs in our RV factory-installed lights, these run around a single watt for each bulb.
Discover LED Nightlights
I tried out a few nights without any night lights at all but it seems like with a little one we just really need them. Amazon sells all kind of neat little LED night lights for only a few dollars each. I originally found the ones in the picture above at Walmart but we switched to THESE after the kids broke the other ones and we like them better Our wattage meter tells us they use 0.0 watts (aka nothing!) to run. Speaking of which…
Kill A Watt
We also purchased a Kill A Watt meter so we can learn what our various devices used for amperage and wattage. I wish we would have gotten it sooner, it’s pretty neat and you really have no idea what something uses until you test it! It has been very handy to know how much electricity small appliances and other small things use and overall has been good for a learning experience. All you do is simply plug any device with a cord into the Kill A Watt and it will tell you how many amps, watts, kilowatts, or volts that an item uses.
Stop Using the Microwave
About a year ago our microwave died and after a few weeks, we realized that we hadn’t even missed it and decided not to replace it. This one wasn’t really too hard but sometimes you do miss the convenience of it…especially when you have a fussy toddler and just want to get supper ready. But did you know that the average microwave runs at 1400 watts? That’s a lot. We now use our stovetop to re-heat things that we otherwise would have in the microwave.
Learned About Solar Items
We’ve been doing our research on smaller solar items and what is worth a purchase and what’s not. To create a decent lighting system over our dining table are would cost about $300. That’s a little much at the moment but the price of solar is continually going down so it may be a possibility in the future. We got a d.light Solar Lanterns to try many years ago and I seriously think it’s the coolest thing. You just put it in the sun during the day and it produces a very nice bright light for up to 8 hours!
–You can learn more about small and simple tips for switching to solar here.
Thank you to all the readers who suggested these great tips! Even if you don’t need to work on some of the more extreme ways to save money on electricity, you might be able to glean some inspiration from this list of time. After all…who needs to pay more for electricity than they need to?
Need even more tips on how to save money on electricity? Check out some of the articles below to dig even deeper.
What is your best tip for saving money on electricity?