As people become more energy-conscious and realize there are easy ways to lower their monthly energy payments, more and more information comes out on how exactly you can, little by little, reduce your carbon footprint and, as an added bonus, save money along the way. Gone are the days when people had to completely redesign their houses to save energy in the long run; nowadays, the solutions cost only a couple of seconds or a couple of bucks. Keep reading for some interesting ideas for how you can start saving on your energy bills.

The Phantom of the Energy

Have you ever heard of a “phantom load?” It’s less creepy than it sounds, but it does secretly make energy disappear. The phantom load becomes a problem over time, as it is the energy that’s being used when the device or appliance is not, in fact, turned on. In fact, as much as 75% of the electricity that is used for electronics in your home comes from when those electronics are actually turned off!

Luckily, there is a simple way to reduce the effect your home’s phantom loads have on your energy bill. Simply unplug any appliances or electronics after you are done using them. This will eliminate the phantom load altogether. Another option is to plug in your devices to a single power strip, and then switch it off when the items are not in use.

Upgrade Your Appliances

How old are your appliances, really? If you are in the market for new appliances anyway, check out which ones have the Energy Star recognition. Those ones will save up to half the energy other appliances use. Despite their higher price tag, the long-term savings make it well worth the upfront costs.

Swap Your Bulbs

If you’re looking for an easy, cheap, and highly effective way to improve the energy efficiency of your home, light bulbs are the way to do that. If you replace your old-fashioned light bulbs with the newer CFLs (compact fluorescent light bulbs), you will start saving money after just six months of use.

Time Your Heating

Nowadays many homes have a programmable thermostat that works on a timed basis. Many people who work during the day, leaving the house, therefore, unoccupied for the majority of the morning and afternoon, will program their thermostat so that the heat lowers or turns off altogether during their working hours. This slight change alone, which you won’t even notice in your day-to-day life, can save you as much as 15% on your electricity bill.

Summer Shade

If you add some houseplants into your home and place them in a strategic location to reduce the amount of sunlight warming up your house during the months of the year that are already warm. In other words, you’ll be lowering the cost of air conditioning. Because plants don’t need electricity to grow, they only help in the energy savings. It could reduce your energy bill by as much as 40%, so don’t underestimate the power of the plant.