For many people, energy bills are a significant portion of their monthly budget. Whether the energy source is gas, electricity or even propane, there are several things you can do to help reduce energy consumption and lower costs. Consider the following action steps, which range from small do-it-yourself projects to replacement of major appliances with Energy Star® certified models, to help reduce your energy consumption.

Heating and Cooling

  • Caulk and weather-strip around windows and doorframes.
  • Use caulk or spray foam to seal any holes where pipes, cables or vents enter or exit your home.
  • Set your water heater thermostat to 120 degrees or lower.
  • Install a programmable thermostat.
  • Check your system’s air filters often and replace on a regular schedule.
  • Replace your furnace and air conditioner with a high-efficiency model that an appropriate size for your home.


Use Energy Star® certified fixtures with CFL or LED bulbs, which use a fraction of the electricity as incandescent bulbs and last many times longer.


Plant appropriately sized trees, shrubs, and bushes around your home to provide shade from the summer sun, windbreaks, and dead air spaces along the foundation.

Phantom Energy Loss

Power Strip with Switch
Power strips with a switch may be used to reduce phantom loads.

You may have heard the terms “phantom energy loss” or “standby power” or even “vampire energy.” These phrases describe the power used by chargers, appliances, and other electrical items when left plugged in but are not actively being used. Examples include leaving your phone charger plugged in after your phone is fully charged or leaving other seldom used appliances, particularly those with digital screens, plugged in.

Are you thinking that this accounts for only a very small portion of your energy usage? The USEPA reports that the average U.S. household spends $100 per year for standby power. Connecting electronic devices to a power strip and then switching off the strip when the devices are not in use for extended periods of time, prevents phantom energy loss.

Resources & Rebates

Ameren Illinois provides tutorials and tips for energy savings along with rebates and cost incentive programs for both homes and businesses.