Energy Tips

Seasonal tips to help you save

Make saving money part of your day!

Check out these tips to reduce energy use and save money this season.

  • Add insulation to your attic to reduce energy loss through your roof—one of the most significant areas for heat loss in most homes.
  • Replace worn or ripped door sweeps, including those on doors in attached garages. Sweeps block drafts from reaching inside your home.
  • Install a smart thermostat. Set it to adjust temperatures when you’re asleep or away. You’ll save without needing to upgrade your HVAC system.
  • Open curtains and blinds on south-facing windows during the day to let the sun help heat your home. Close them on chilly evenings to prevent drafts and avoid heat loss.
  • Rearrange furniture that may be blocking heat registers or radiators to let heat flow more readily to living spaces.
  • Limit the use of exhaust fans, which draw out heated air. It’s okay to let shower steam make its way through your home during the winter season. It adds moisture to dry winter air!
  • Weather strip windows and doors to save money on energy bills and increase home comfort by controlling leaks and drafts.
  • Schedule service for your heating system at least once a year to maintain efficiency.
  • Regularly change furnace filters to keep systems operating efficiently. A dirty filter reduces airflow, which decreases performance and causes damage.
  • Stay comfortable with your thermostat set at a lower temperature by wearing your slippers and a cozy sweater. For each degree you lower the temperature, you’ll save about three percent on heating costs for the period the setting is dropped. 

Additional ideas to save in each area of your home

Refrigeration

  • Think before you open. The longer a refrigerator door remains open, the more cooled air you’ll lose, causing the motor to run more often.
  • Set temperatures correctly. For greatest efficiency set your refrigerator to 40°F and your freezer to 0°F.
  • Cool hot foods or liquids before placing them in your refrigerator to reduce load.
  • Select the right size. Get a refrigerator that’s just large enough for your family’s needs. It will operate more efficiently if it's full—but not packed.
  • Deep clean your fridge. Use a duster or vacuum to clear dust from refrigerator coils and remove outdated food for optimal airflow. It will run more efficiently.
  • During holiday gatherings, store drinks in a cooler. You’ll free up space and save when you avoid opening the fridge door unnecessarily.
  • Defrost your freezer to remove ice buildup. Just a sixteenth of an inch of ice can cause the unit to use 10% more energy.

Cooking

  • Use small appliances such as crockpots, electric frying pans, toaster ovens, and microwaves to save energy when cooking.
  • Use your oven instead of your cook top when possible. Surface units heat continuously, but an insulated oven normally heats just one-third of the time it's in use.
  • Don't peek! Cooking temperatures can drop as much as 50 degrees every time the oven door is opened, causing the oven to reheat.
  • Start your oven's self-cleaning cycle while it's still hot from baking and only use it for big cleaning jobs.
  • Turn off your oven several minutes before your food is fully cooked. As long as the door remains closed, enough heat will be stored inside to finish cooking your meal.
  • Use glass or ceramic bakeware. They distribute heat more evenly, leading to a quicker cook. Decrease your oven setting by 25 degrees to get the same result.
  • Match the size of the pan to the heating element when cooking on your stove top. More heat will get to the pan and less will be lost.

Laundry

  • Wash with cold water whenever possible.
  • Wash and dry full loads to maximize efficiency.
  • Use front-load washing machines. They use at least 28% less water and 17% less energy than standard top loaders and are gentler on fabrics.
  • Always adjust the water level to fit load size. Overloaded washers don't clean clothes as effectively and may need to be rewashed.
  • Dry towels and heavier fabrics in a separate load from lighter-weight items.
  • Don't overload your dryer. Overloaded dryers run longer, use more energy, and can cause clothes to wear out more quickly and wrinkle.
  • Use the moisture sensor feature if available to reduce drying time.
  • Clean the lint filter after each drying cycle to maintain dryer efficiency.

Water and water heating

  • Take showers rather than baths. The average person uses about half as much hot water in a shower than a bath.
  • Limit the use of exhaust fans. They draw out heated air. It’s okay to let shower steam make its way through your home during the heating season. It adds moisture to dry air!
  • Install faucet aerators to help you use less water.
  • Insulate long runs of hot-water supply pipes, especially sections that pass through unheated spaces.
  • Drain a bucket of water from the bottom of your water heater tank once or twice a year to remove sediment. Sediment insulates elements in the tank causing it to be less efficient.
  • Lower your water heater thermostat to 120°F. Reducing the temperature from 140°F to 120°F can reduce water heating energy costs by more than 10%.
  • Replacing a water heater? Look for electronic controls. Some water heaters have smart controls that allow you to create a ‘vacation’ setting. Take advantage of new features to save.

Lighting

  • Use task lighting to illuminate work activities. This allows you to reduce your overall room lighting levels.
  • Add motion sensors to outdoor lighting so less continuous lighting is needed.
  • Use LED bulbs in all fixtures. When shopping for LEDs look for the ENERGY STAR® label. A 60-watt incandescent bulb can be replaced by a 9-watt LED bulb, which has a rated lifetime of more than 25,000 hours.
  • Replace the ten most-used incandescent bulbs in your home with LEDs to save about $55 per year.
  • Open shades and blinds to take advantage of natural light.
  • Keep light fixtures clean to get the most illumination.
  • Choose LED. Enjoy the holidays and save by choosing LED holiday décor and lights. LEDs use 80% to 90% less energy and are available in a variety of designs.

Appliances and electronics

  • Turn down the LED back light on your LED TV. You’ll lower energy consumption and also make your TV less bright. Many LED TVs are set on a retail setting—the brightest setting for use in retail stores.
  • Turn off the monitor if you aren't going to use your computer for more than 20 minutes.
  • Turn off both the CPU and monitor if you're not going to use your computer for more than two hours.
  • Turn off electronics when not in use. Typical homes have 30 or more electronics. Use a power strip or turn electronics off to save battery charge and standby energy loss.
  • Recycle that old TV. LCD, CRT, plasma, and rear-projection TVs use 35% to 70% more energy than LED models.
  • Look for ENERGY STAR® labels when shopping for any type of new appliance.
  • Use a smart power strip to easily manage all your electronics. In addition to protecting from power surges, it detects when connected devices are in standby mode and cuts off power so you save.
  • Use a phone when possible rather than making a video call. While video calls don’t use much power, a phone call uses even less.
  • Set your dishwasher to air-dry instead of using the heat-dry cycle to save more than 15% on your dishwasher’s cost of operation.

Heating and cooling

  • Check your settings. Adjust the settings on your programmable smart thermostat each season. If you don’t have one, consider upgrading to a smart thermostat to save 10% or more on heating and cooling costs!
  • Schedule service for your heating and cooling system to maintain efficiency.
  • Prepare for the season changes by cleaning furnace filters and chimney flues.
  • Remove furniture and other objects from air vents and registers to ensure proper airflow throughout your home. This maximizes efficiency of the system and helps distribute conditioned air throughout the space.

During the heating season:

  • Keep draperies and blinds on your south-facing windows open during the day to allow the sun to help warm your home.
  • Close drapes at night to help reduce heat loss.
  • Stay comfortable with your thermostat set at a lower temperature by wearing your slippers and a cozy sweater. For each degree you lower the temperature, you’ll save about 3% on heating costs for the period the setting is dropped.
  • Close fireplace dampers when not in use. An open damper allows drafts to pull warm air out of your house.

During the cooling season:

  • Keep window coverings closed during the day to prevent the sun from heating your home.
  • Move that lamp. Avoid placing lamps or TVs near your thermostat. It will sense heat from these appliances and run longer cooling cycles than necessary.
  • Turn on your ceiling fan. You'll be able to set your thermostat four degrees higher without sacrificing comfort. Just remember to turn it off when you leave the room. Fans cool people, not spaces.
  • Use bathroom and other exhaust fans wisely to suck out heat and humidity from bathrooms but don't leave them running, pulling cooled air out of your house.
  • Clear space around your heat pump (or central AC). Make sure that no trees, weeds, shrubs, or other obstructions block the airflow around your cooling unit. Blockages lead to higher energy consumption and costs.
  • Turn up your thermostat. For each degree you raise the temperature, you’ll save about 3% on cooling costs for the period the setting is raised. 
  • Go outside to save! Shut off your television, devices, and appliances and enjoy the warm weather by taking a walk, reading a book outside, or chatting with a neighbor.

Home envelope

  • Check for gaps. Walk around the outside of your home and check for openings and gaps around pipes, conduits, chimneys, lights, windows, and brick or cement work. Fill them with an easy-to-use spray-foam insulation or caulk. Use a high-temperature product if it will contact a hot surface such as a flue pipe or chimney.
  • Weatherstrip and caulk around windows, door frames, and where baseboards meet walls to stop drafts and heat loss.
  • Add insulation to your attic to reduce energy loss through your roof—one of the most significant areas for heat loss in most homes.
  • Replace worn or ripped door sweeps, including those on doors in attached garages. Sweeps block drafts from reaching inside your home!
  • Seal openings at the rim joist inside your basement. You’ll prevent heat and cold from entering and increasing energy costs. This will also stop moisture from damaging your home.
  • Insulate walls and the underside of floors that are over unconditioned crawl spaces.
  • Ventilate your attic. Trapped attic heat warms living spaces and allows humidity and pollutants to build up. Check that vents are open and motorized systems are working. Work with a professional to improve your ventilation if needed.

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