With the hot weather we’ve experienced lately, you’ve probably been more mindful about energy consumption in your home. While there are obvious ways to conserve electricity—turning off lights and fans in rooms you’re not using, turning your AC up when you’re away from home, and closing curtains and blinds to keep your rooms a little bit cooler—many of us don’t think about the not-so-obvious energy wasters.

These sneaky squanderers use electricity without being noticed. They’re quiet and inconspicuous, hiding in plain sight. And though the electricity being wasted may seem slight, it adds up when you think of how much it could be costing you annually. Here are some things you can do to help plug the unnecessary drain on your electric service and on your wallet!

Change or Clean Your AC Filter Regularly

According to energy.gov, this is the most important task when it comes maintaining your AC’s efficiency. Dirty filters obstruct normal airflow and cause your unit to work harder, using more energy to cool your home. You can lower your energy consumption 5% to 15% by replacing or cleaning (if you have reusable) filters regularly.

Unplug Your Electronics

Leaving laptops, phones and devices plugged in after they have fully charged is like throwing money away. Since you can’t charge these items beyond 100%, there is no reason to leave them plugged in. And this doesn’t mean only unplugging your device from the charger—unplug the charger from the outlet! It’s bleeding electricity from the outlet even when nothing is being charged.

By that same token, leaving larger electronics plugged in can cost just as much. Even when turned off, most electronics only go into “stand-by” mode, so they are still consuming energy. This is especially true of TVs, DVD players, gaming consoles, microwaves, computers, monitors and things that have a power light or digital clock display when not in use. Plugging these items into a power strip with a switch allows you to cut power to them easily. If that seems like an extra chore, there are even “smart” advanced power strips (APS) available that can help reduce consumption of idle electronics without changing your normal use.

Cracks and Crevices Around Openings

Remember your mother asking, “Are you trying to cool the whole neighborhood,” if you left a door open when you were a kid? Cracks and crevices around openings in our home allow cool air to escape, basically doing the same thing. Installing weather strips around doors and windows to seal cracks, even those you can’t see, help keep cool air form escaping your home also.

Windows and doors aren’t the only openings in your house, however. Any holes that have been cut in your home, including outlets and light switches, have the potential to leak air. Wall plate sealers that go under your outlet and switch plates are fairly inexpensive and easy to install yourself!

Lower Your Water Heater Temperature

Lowering your water heater temperature to 120°F can lower the risk of scalding your skin, slow mineral buildup and corrosion in your water heater and pipes, and save electricity, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Setting your water heater temperature too high is estimated to cost consumers about $400 annually. While instances such as dishwashers without heat boosters or certain health conditions of family members may require a higher water temperature, 120°F is suitable for most households.

Hopefully these tips to pull the plug on sneaky energy wasters in your home are helpful. If you have further concern about your home’s efficiency, don’t forget about GVEC home energy audits, free to members! To lean more or schedule an audit, call 800.223.4832.

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