Seasonal tips to help you save at home
Spending more time at home?
Check out these tips to reduce energy and save money!
- Avoid using your oven. Try salads, crockpot meals, or grilling instead. You’ll reduce the heat in your home and save on cooling costs.
- Select the air-dry cycle on your dishwasher rather than the heat dry cycle to dry dishes. You’ll save!
- Fix that leaky faucet. Fixing a hot-water leak can save up to $9 per year in energy costs.
- Toss a towel in the dryer. Adding a dry towel to your dryer load can significantly reduce drying times, saving up to $27 a year.
- Clean or replace heating/cooling system filters each month to keep systems working efficiently.
- Don’t forget your dryer’s exhaust vent. Clean it twice a year to maintain your dryer's performance and safety.
- Use your garden hose to spray plant matter off your air conditioning or heat pump condenser coil. This simple maintenance step ensures your system runs efficiently and reduces energy use.
- Working from home? 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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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