Seasonal tips to help you save at home
Spending more time at home?
Check out these tips to reduce energy during the fall and winter and save money!
- Now’s the time to use your oven to roast some savory suppers and do your holiday baking. You'll add warmth to your home and save money by eating at home.
- Replace worn or ripped door sweeps including those on doors in attached garages. Sweeps block drafts from reaching inside your home.
- Use weatherstripping and caulking wherever it's needed. This keeps heat from leaving your home.
- 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!
- Replace the ten most-used incandescent bulbs in your home with LEDs to save about $55 per year.
- Open curtains and blinds on south-facing windows during the day to let the sun help heat your home. Close them on winter 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.
- Schedule service for your heating system to maintain efficiency, and clean furnace filters and chimney flues.
- Break out the cozy clothes and blankets! 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.
- Working from home? Place a rug under your feet. Not only will your feet stay warm while you work, you’ll stay comfortable and avoid the temptation to turn up your heat.
Additional ideas to save in each area of your home
- 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 the refrigerator. This will reduce the load on your refrigerator.
- 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.
- 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 cookware and turn your oven temperature down 25°F. Your dish may cook just as quickly.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Open shades and blinds to take advantage of natural light.
- Keep light fixtures clean to get the most illumination.
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 them off to save battery charge and standby energy loss.
- 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.
Heating and cooling
- Make sure air returns and registers aren't blocked by furniture, carpeting, or drapes.
- Install a smart thermostat to automatically manage your home’s heating and air conditioning—from anywhere.
- Use kitchen, bath, and other ventilating fans wisely, turning them off as soon as they've done their job. Depending on where it's used, a ventilating fan will complete 8-15 air changes per hour (ACH). If left running when not needed, this will cause your heating or cooling system to run more often.
- 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.
- During the cooling season, keep the window coverings closed during the day to prevent the sun from heating your home.
- Seal air leaks. Air leaks are the biggest energy wasters in the home. Caulk, weather strip, and/or insulate around entrance doors, electrical outlets, and switch plates on exterior walls, bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans, exterior hose connections, and windows.
- Insulate. Add insulation to your attic, around rim joists, in walls, and under floors that are over unconditioned crawl spaces.
- Close fireplace dampers when not in use. An open damper allows drafts to pull warm air out of the house.
When you're ready to replace existing equipment, explore our programs and rebates!