Short of government assistance, households across the country have to curb energy costs. The good news? There are ways to do exactly that, including these seven:

  1. Match pans to burners. For energy-efficient stovetop cooking, be sure to use the burner that most closely matches the diameter of the pot or pan you are using. It’s a simple way to save around $36 a year if you use an electric range, or $18 annually for a gas stove.
  2. Keep your stove top shiny. When the metal pans that surround burners on older stovetops become blackened from charred spillover, they absorb heat. When they are clean and shiny, they reflect heat and require less energy to cook food.
  3. Bake in the toaster oven. If the dish you are making will fit in your toaster oven, cook it in there. It could slash the energy cost of cooking that dish by more than half over a full-size electric oven. You’ll save time, too, because a toaster oven preheats much faster than a full-size oven.
  4. Banish power vampires. The modern home has lots of devices that suck electricity even when turned off, costing an average of $100 per year, according to the Department of Energy. Chargers for phones, tablets and other cordless devices drink juice even when they are not charging anything — so unplug them. Likewise, turn off or unplug televisions, computers, cable boxes and game consoles — anything with a little indicator light.
  5. Cover your windows. Homes lose about 30 percent of their heating energy through windows in the winter, and 76 percent of sunlight that falls on double-pane windows become heat in the summer. Consider blackout curtains.
  6. Upgrade to LED lighting. You can cut the amount of energy used by your light bulbs by up to 90 percent by switching to light-emitting diodes (LEDs) from traditional incandescent bulbs. LEDs also last 25 times longer, meaning you won’t spend as much on new bulbs over time.
  7. Get all rebates and tax credits. States and some municipalities offer incentives for everything from installing solar panels to buying an electric car or upgrading your home appliances. Check your eligibility at