By now, just about everyone knows that to save energy, you need to turn the lights off in rooms that aren't being used, cut back on dishwasher use, and even use a programmable thermostat. And while these definitely help, there are plenty of other ways that you can cut your utility bill and keep more money in your pocket every month.

Here are a few lesser-known ways to slash your home's energy bill.

1. Use An Attic Fan

It's a well-known fact that air conditioners are major energy suckers. During the hotter months of the year, you may notice your energy bill increase just a bit as you crank the A/C. It's estimated that cooling a 1,500 sq. ft. home can cost an average of nearly $70 extra in energy costs. And when you tack on all the other expenses in your home, the bills can really add up.

READ: How Home Tech Can Help Save Homeowners Money

To cut back on that cost, consider installing an attic fan. As you may know, each consecutive level in the home is warmer than the one beneath it. Hot air tends to rise, so your attic is likely the hottest place in your home.

By installing a fan up there, you can cut down on the amount of hot air and help cool your home down faster without having to rely so much on the air conditioner.

2. Surround Your Home's Exterior With Leafy Trees

All that hot sun beating down on your home can send the interior temperature soaring. And while the A/C is always a lifesaver in this situation, there are cheaper ways to keep the temperature in your home more comfortable.

Adding natural shade all around your home can also help reduce the overall temperature inside, and thereby help cut down on how hard your air conditioner has to work by blocking the sun's rays. Just make sure that no trees, bushes, or shrubs are blocking your air conditioner unit, which could restrict airflow and force the unit to work harder than it has to.

3. Clean Your Refrigerator Coils Often

Keeping things cool takes a lot of energy, and your A/C is not the only component in your home tasked with this job. Your fridge uses up a ton of energy ensuring that your food doesn't spoil. In fact, refrigerators use as much as 500 kilowatts a year. But you may be able to reduce the amount of energy used by ensuring that the fridge's coils are cleaned on a regular basis.

Why? Because filthy coils force your refrigerator to work harder than necessary. On average, try to keep a coil cleaning schedule of once every three months to ensure they're kept clean. This will make it easier on your fridge to continue cooling your food.

4. Lower The Temperature On Your Hot Water Heater

You don't need piping hot water every time you turn on the faucet or run a bath. The hotter the water temperature, the more energy is needed.

Generally speaking, water heaters operate about three hours a day. That can equate to about nearly $800 in costs every year for an average 50-gallon water heater at a rate of $0.16 kilowatts per hour. If you want to reduce your energy bills, you may want to turn the temperature down on your hot water heater.

READ: Why You Need A Water Leak Sensor, And Other ‘Smart Home’ Tech

And while you're at it, consider using a water heater timer that will let you set heating times as needed. For example, you're probably more likely to need warm water in the mornings when you're getting ready for the day, but will be unlikely to need warm water in the middle of the night. Setting the temperature times accordingly can make a big dent in your energy use.

5. Do Laundry In Cold Water

An unwritten rule when it comes to doing laundry is to wash colours in cold water and whites in hot water. But you don't necessarily have to stick to that rule. In fact, there's nothing wrong with washing all of your garments in cold water. They'll still come out clean.

Washing in warm or hot water will require more energy to heat the water up, which will inevitably cost you more every month. Instead, wash your laundry in cold water and be sure to only do your laundry when you have a full load ready. This will reduce the number of loads you'll have to do.

6. Use Smart Strip Surge Protectors

Your laptop, TV, microwave, and other small appliances and electronics use up energy even when they're not in use when they're still plugged in. To cut down on the energy loss from these components, consider using a strip surge protector. These handy tools can help reduce unnecessary energy use when things are not being used by turning the power off when they're turned off.

7. Use Insulating Paint

Insulation is a necessary part of home construction to keep the interior temperature comfortable throughout the year, no matter what the season may be. Insulation will protect your home against cold weather in the winter and hot temperatures in the summer.

But in addition to the batting that is inserted behind the drywall, you can add another layer of insulation with insulating paint. This added layer can help reduce your energy use and costs by helping to make your home more energy efficient.

8. Use Motion Sensors For Your Lighting

Outdoor lighting is important both as an aesthetic component as well as a safety feature. You need to be able to see where you're going in the evening when the sun has set, which is why having outdoor lights installed is important. But why should you leave your lights turned on at all times, even when there's no one outside who needs them?

Instead, motion sensors installed around the perimeter of your home will allow you to save energy by keeping lights off when not needed and turning them on when the presence of an individual is detected.

Final Thoughts

There are literally dozens of things you can do to save a bit of household energy every month. And while you're doing that, you can save a few bucks, too.

Personal Finance