Saving Electricity home As seen in Newsweek, Forbes, NPR, the Christian Science Monitor, CNET, PC Magazine, InfoWorld, and everywhere else. About  
Rebates & Tax Credits
for U.S. consumers

Incentives for installing insulation and for buying energy-efficient appliances like refrigerators, washing machines, and air conditioners are often available from local and state governments and utilities. You can see what's available at DSIRE,, and Energy Star.

Related sites:

Home Power Magazine. All about renewable energy for the home.

No-Impact Man. Blog about a family striving to have no net impact. (i.e., What little they use, they offset.) Inspirational.

Off-Grid. News and resources about living without being connected to a utility company.

Mr. Electricity in the news:

"Michael Bluejay runs the outstanding Saving Electricity site that I've mentioned many times before." —J.D. Roth, Get Rich Slowly

Deep Green (book) by Jenny Nazak, 2018
Small Steps, Big Strides: Building Sustainability Habits at Home (book), Lucinda F. Brown, 2016
How much money you'll save with these common energy-saving strategies, Lifehacker, Sep. 28, 2015
Radio interview about saving electricity, Newstalk 1010 (Toronto), April 21, 2015
How much does your PC cost in electricity?, PC Mech, Nov 21, 2013
How Much Electricity Do Your Gadgets Really Use?, Forbes, Sep. 7, 2013
Can my bicycle power my toaster?, Grist, June 10, 2013
Six summer debt traps and how to avoid them, Main St, June 5, 2013
To convert to gas or electric?, Marketplace Radio (NPR), July 20, 2012
8 Simple Ways to Reduce Household Waste, Living Green Magazine, June 29, 2012
Why is my electric bill so high?, New York Daily News, Mar. 27, 2012
Fight the Power, CTV (Canada's largest private broadcaster), Mar. 23, 2012
How to Cut Your Electric Bill, Business Insider, Mar. 20, 2012
Tips to save energy when using your computer, WPLG Channel 10 (Miami, FL), Feb. 23, 2012
How long will it take an energy-efficient washer/dryer to pay for itself?, Christian Science Monitor, Oct. 29, 2011
10 Easy Ways to Lower Your Electric Bill, Forbes, August 23, 2011
18 ways to save on utility bills, AARP, July 9, 2011
How to Save $500 Worth of Energy This Summer, TIME magazine, June 28, 2011
Hot over the energy bill? Turn off the A/C, just chill, Chicago Tribune, June 24, 2011
Cool Site of the Day, Kim Komando (syndicated radio host), May 29, 2011
This calculator shows how much you spend washing clothes, Lifehacker, May 6, 2011
What you pay when you're away, WCPO Channel 9 (Cincinatti), May 5, 2011
Spotting energy gluttons in your home, Chicago Tribune (CA), Apr. 7, 2011
Walnut Creek author has tips for livng a thrifty life, Contra Costa Times (CA), Jan. 24, 2011
Do space heaters save money and energy?, Mother Jones, Jan. 10, 2011
Energy steps to take for a less pricey winter, Reuters, Nov. 10, 2010
Should you shut down your computer or put it to sleep?, Mother Jones, Nov. 1, 2010
Energy saving tips for fall, Chicago Tribune & Seattle Times Nov. 7, 2010
10 ways to save money on your utility bill, Yahoo! Finance, Oct. 2, 2010
Mr. Electricity Ranks Refrigerators & Electrical Wasters, Green Building Elements, Sep. 8, 2010
The case against long-distance relationships, Slate, Sep. 3, 2010
10 household items that are bleeding you dry, Times Daily (Florence, AL), July 27, 2010
Cold, hard cash, Kansas City Star, June 22, 10
Stretch your dollar, not your budget, Globe and Mail, May 18, 2010
Auto abstinence, onearth magazine, Winter 2010
2010 Frugal Living Guide,
Energy-saving schemes yield €5.8m in savings, Times of Malta, Dec. 20, 09
Four ways to reduce your PC's carbon footprint, CNET, Dec 2, 09
The day I hit the brakes, onearth magazine, Fall 2009
How Much Do You Really Save By Air-Drying Your Clothes?, The Simple Dollar, 2010
Enjoy the mild weather, low electricity bills, Detroit Free Press, Jul 18, 09
The most energy-efficient way to heat a cup of water, Christian Science Monitor, Jun 16, 09
Ten ways to save energy, Times of Malta, Jan 3, 09
Measuring your green IT baseline, InfoWorld, Sep 4, 08
Bald Brothers Breakfast (MP3), ABC Adelaide, March 27, 2007
Net Interest, Newsweek, Feb 12, 07
The Power Hungry Digital Lifestyle, PC Magazine, Sep 4, 07
Net Interest, Newsweek, Feb 12, 07
Answers to all your electricity questions, Treehugger, Jul 11, 08 Going Green, Monsters and Critics, Jan 6, 2007
A hunt for energy hogs, Wall Street Journal Online, Dec 18, 06

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Last update: December 1, 2023

This was the very first site on the Internet about saving electricity, launching in 1999.  I was telling you about LED lights, front-loading washers, and heat pump heating years before they started to become mainstream.  I don't have time to update the site much these days, but most of the old info is still true today.  In fact, the site is better than most articles about saving electricity in the popular press, which don't include useful numbers or which get their facts completely wrong.

Start with learning exactly what a kilowatt hour is and how much you pay for one.  You can then see how to calculate exactly how much electricity your household appliances use, so you know which items are guzzling the most juice (and which ones are the best targets for savings).  You'll also learn exactly how to read your electric meter, if you like. (Find that on any other website.)  Finally, I've answered countless questions from readers about saving electricity. If you have a question, it's probably answered here already.

Saving electricity doesn't just save money, it also saves energy, which means less pollution.  This might be surprising, because you don't see or smell any pollution when you turn on the lights, unlike when you fire up your car.  But the pollution is there—it just happens at the power plant instead of on-site.  Most electricity is generated by burning coal and other fossil fuels.  Every time you turn on the lights, you create a little pollution. (See the sidebar.) In fact, the average home pollutes more than the average car! (See my Carbon Footprint Calculator for the numbers.)  So saving electricity doesn't just put money in your pocket, it helps keep the air and water clean, too.

Saving electricity is the low-hanging fruit.  The legendary James Hansen, one of the first scientists to warn about global warming way back in the 80s, said that the real key to preventing climate change is reducing home energy use.  That's because, as he says, we can't stop the oil from being burned for transport, since if we don't use it, another country will. But we can certainly stop burning our own country's coal.  And the quickest way to reduce coal emissions is to reduce our electricity consumption. (more on climate change)

And if you really want to lessen your carbon footprint, you'll also want to look into eating less meat and driving less.

I hope you find this website useful. Happy savings!

— Michael Bluejay, "Mr. Electricity"

Lesson #1: Attack the biggest energy-users first

Before we get to the tips on specific appliances, remember one simple thing: You'll save more electricity by dealing with the biggest electricity-guzzlers rather than worrying about items that don't use much electricity.

Obsessing about whether it's better to boil a cup of water on an electric burner or in a microwave, or whether you wear out your lights quicker by turning them off rather than keeping them on, is a waste of time and misses the point.  Such trivia won't make a big difference in your electric bill.  It's the bigger things that matter.  With that in mind, you'll first want to address the big energy users in your home first, such as your:

Here are some sample savings you might be able to enjoy:

 Easy Strategies


Up front cost Potential Savings per year
(1) Avoid using energy-hungry appliances during peak hours. (Some utilities charge more for electricity during certain hours.  Check your local rates.)  (Appliances that use lots of energy are air conditioning, heating, ovens/stoves, laundry, and dishwashers.) $0 $1200
(2) For homes with central electric heat, use space heaters to heat only the rooms you're in, and turn off the heat when you're not home. $80 $1116
(3) Use ceiling fans instead of the air conditioner $100 $438
(4) Use a clothesline or a laundry rack instead of a dryer $20 $196
(5) Wash laundry in cold water instead of hot or warm none $152
(6) Turn off six LED light bulbs (16W / 100-watt equivalent) from running constantly $0 $131
Total $200
every year
 Aggressive Strategies
(7) Replace top-loading washer with front-loading washer $500 $99
(8) Replace 1992 fridge with newer, Energy Star model $440
(9) Install mini-split heat pump AC/heat when building a new home, or replacing an existing HVAC $0
(see note 8)
Total $940
every year

Assumptions:  (Calculations are always only as good as the assumptions.  See how to misquote this website.)
Sample electrical rate of 15¢/kWh.
(2) One 20,000-watt central system, always on, running 40mins/hr. for four months ($1440), vs. four 1500-watt heaters running 12 hours a day for four months ($324).
(3) A 2.5-ton, 3500-watt AC 24 hours a day (15 mins/hr) for five months, vs. two 48" ceiling fans on high (75 watts each), 12 hours/day.
(4) 50¢/load as per the clothes dryers page, 7.5 loads a week.
(5) Electric water heater; 7.5 loads/week.
(6) 1/3 hot washes, 2/3 warm washes, water heated electrically, electric dryer, 7.5 loads/week. Includes water costs.
(7) Replacing a 900 kWh/year fridge with a 400 kWh/year Energy Star model.  Non-Energy Star fridge costs $400 and saves $60/yr. All fridge sizes are 18cf.  Fridge prices checked at Sears in Nov. 2010.
(8) The relative up-front cost is essentially $0, because if you didn't buy the mini-splits, you would be buying an expensive traditional HVAC.  If you heat/cool the whole house with the mini splits there will likely be little to no savings, but if you heat/cool only the rooms you're using, that's the secret sauce.  We'll figure a 25% reduction in energy use, applied to annual HVAC costs of $1800 each for heating and cooling.

Retired strategies:
(1) Turn off unused lights (negligible savings with LED lights)
(2) Replace light bulbs with CFLs (by now almost everybody has switched from incandescent to LED)
(2) Sleep your computer (computers now automatically sleep)

Calculate your electric cost

Device / Wattage (wH/hr)

Amount used per day

Cost of Electricity (per kWh)

Days used per month

Kilowatt Hours used: kWh/mo.
Cost per month: $
Cost per year: $

Don't misinterpret these results!
(1) Your particular computer, TV, etc. could use more or less energy than the samples listed here.
(2) Some things use more or less energy based on how high you crank them (e.g. ovens, stereos).
(3) You should generally choose highest electricity rate you're paying. See the Right and Wrong Way to Use the Calculator.

»» Next: How much electricity costs »»


Electricity causes pollution

This chart shows where the U.S. gets its electricity. Note that most of it was from burning coal. (Source: Department of Energy)

How much pollution?
Here's a calculator which will show you how much pollution is created from your electrical use. The typical home accounts for more pollution than the typical car. (source)

More on energy production
On a separate page we have info about how much fuel is required to produce electricity.

Fan mail & success stories

“If I could bookmark only one energy website, it would be this one!” —Jenny Nazak, author of Deep Green

I'm just dropping a quick note to thank your for your amazing electricity subsite. It's outstanding. I've been working to improve my finances for a while, and every little bit helps. I just posted about your Saving Electricity site on my site (Get Rich Slowly). I hope to steer others to the information you've provided. -- J.D. Roth, Get Rich Slowly I love your site, I have cut my oil bill in half by using space heaters which has really saved me money as a direct result of your advice. - Andrew G.

We took a lot of advice from your web site last month. Got electric bill today. 30 days later & we have a $100 savings!  the weather has been MUCH colder this month than last. THANK YOU! - Eileen Phillips & Cheryl Myers, Blackstone, VA

I studied your site after deciding that I was determined to put an end to paying for (and wasting) lots of electricity.  I bought a kilowatt meter to measure my usage.  In the first month I dropped my from 578 kWh avg. to 197 kWh.  This past month after replacing my 1980's fridge with a new one I was able to get down to 150 kilowatt-hours, and that includes my home office.  My electric company lets you look at and compare the past 14 months worth of usage and bills online.  I saved $50 this past month compared to last year and plan on saving more than $1000 for the year over 2004.  Our rates are about 14 cents for delivery and usage not including the $7.36 customer charge, so this has made a big impact.  So I just wanted express a quick 'thank you' for your site.  I appreciate the depth of information and the ability to reference many other sites. best regards, Aaron Patt Thank you for making 'Saving Electricity.'  I googled for a site about using the window units in my apartment more efficiently (I'm used to central air) and after reading your site I've gone from running two window units and a fan on high and still being uncomfortably warm to sitting directly in front of a single fan, on low, and I'm a little chilly. I think I'm also going to purchase clothes drying rack. I have a wacky idea about trying to use my fan and hanging my clothes up to dry in conjunction.... Veronica Pare

What an AMAZING web site!  How grateful I am that you were kind enough to share your vast knowledge on saving electricity.  I can certainly understand why you are no longer taking any more questions.  You've written the definitive guide to all things electric.  That anyone could take offense or consider you less than reasonable for retiring on the subject is unbelievable.  Those of us who are concerned about the environment - and "living below our means" - salute you. Thank you for your generosity! -- David Davis

Great web site.  Thank you for you sharing your knowledge.  (Saved me from the surge suppression scam.) Liz McLean

see more fan mail & success stories...

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