Installing solar panels on your home is a great way to lower your electricity bill. Each kilowatt of solar moves your utility bill closer to $0. Plus, with Maryland’s net metering program, you can even enjoy negative electricity bills in your solar home.

Another way to reduce energy spending is to decrease your electricity consumption. The following list outlines 10 easy steps you can take to conserve energy in your home.

Energy Saving Tips for Maryland Solar Homes

1. Unplug Your Appliances

Turning off home appliances is not the “energy saver” you might think it is. Many modern electronics use stand-by power when not in use — from TVs to computers to telephone charges. This unused “phantom” power accounts for 75% of the electricity that home appliances consume. So when you’re done charging your phone or watching TV, it’s best to unplug completely.

2. Use Energy Efficient Appliances

EPA-approved EnergyStar appliances use between 10% and 50% less electricity than traditional home appliances. Although they carry higher upfront costs, Energy Star appliances quickly pay for themselves when you factor in your lower monthly electricity bills.

3. Use Compact Florescent Light Bulbs

CFL light bulbs use 75% less electricity than their incandescent counterparts. They also last 10 times longer. Like Energy Star appliances, CFL light bulbs cost more upfront, but the financial payback is 100% worth it.

4. Plug Leaks in Windows, Crawl Spaces, and Doorways

Did you know that more than 50% of your home’s energy consumption goes to cooling and heating? If your home is not properly sealed, this means your thermostat is literally regulating the temperature of the entire world — and you’re paying for it. Be sure to plug all leaks — including around windows, doors, vents, and any other entrances into your home.

5. Insulate Your Home Properly

Similar to the point above, insulating your home is one of the best ways to make sure your AC units and furnace aren’t working overtime.

6. Plant Shrubs and Trees Nearby

Planting trees and shrubs next to your home can further boost your home’s insulation. By strategically placing these plants 12″ away from your home’s exterior, you create pockets of dead air space that shield against both cold and hot temperatures.

7. Use a Smart Thermostat

When you’re away from home or snuggled up in bed at night, you really don’t need your HVAC system working at maximum power. By installing a “smart” thermostat, you can program your climate control system to regulate inside temperatures only when necessary.

8. Decrease Hot Water Temperatures

For most home activities, hot water doesn’t need to be higher than 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 centigrade). Any higher than this threshold, and your plumbing system will have to add cold water to make your overheated water usable.

9. Use Full Loads in the Washer, Dryer, and Freezer

To make optimal use of larger appliances, it’s best to fill them to capacity. This means doing full loads of laundry. But is also means keeping your freezer and fridge packed. High-density food storage units keep cold temperatures more efficiently than empty ones do.

10. Shift Daytime Energy Use

Your solar panels operate at peak performance during daylight hours — precisely when grid electricity is most expensive. For many solar customers, this is perfect since they’re away at the office or out running errands.

If you’re a stay-at-home parent or if you work at home, consider shifting your energy-dependent activities to off-peak hours (i.e. early and late evenings). This last tip isn’t really an “energy saving” strategy. But the more solar energy you can sell to the utility company during the day, the lower your monthly electricity bills become.

Need More Maryland Energy Conservation Tips?

This list is only the tip of the iceberg. There are literally thousands of creative ways to reduce your energy consumption without making radical lifestyle changes. To learn more strategies or to explore your solar options, click here.