These tips are designed to help you choose effective ways to reduce your energy bills. Some measures may not be relevant depending on climate, the age of your home and appliances, and past improvements made to your home.
Fast and Free
The average home spends hundreds of dollars a year on energy costs. But you can lower your energy bills and help save the environment at the same time!
Be a speedy chef
- Nothing is more energy efficient for cooking than your microwave. It uses two-thirds less energy than your stove.
Push a button to wash your dishes
- Surprise! Your dishwasher uses less water than washing dishes by hand. Then let dishes air-dry to save even more!
Fill up the fridge
- Having lots of food in your fridge keeps it from warming up too fast when the door is open. So your fridge doesn’t have to work as hard to stay cool.
Cutting back unnecessary energy use is an easy way to reduce energy consumption while saving money. Here are some additional suggestions you can do at home, at absolutely no cost to you.
Turn up your thermostat
Set your thermostat to 78 degrees when you are home and when you are away. Using ceiling or room fans allows you to set the thermostat higher because the air movement will cool the room. Always take into account health considerations and be sure to drink plenty of fluids in warm weather. (Save: 1 – 3 percent per degree, for each degree the thermostat is set above 72 degrees)
Use your appliances wisely
To help prevent electricity outages, avoid running your appliances during peak hours, — from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. — or anytime an electricity emergency is declared.
- Do your laundry efficiently by using the warm or cold water setting for washing your clothes. Always use cold water to rinse clothes. (Save: 4 percent)
- Line dry clothes whenever you can.
- When you need to use the dryer, run full loads, use the moisture-sensing setting, and clean the clothes dryer lint trap after each use.
- Conserve energy by running your dishwasher only when it is fully loaded, and turn off the dry cycle and air dry dishes instead.
Operating swimming pool filters and cleaning sweeps efficiently
- Reduce the operating time of your pool filter and automatic cleaning sweep to four to five hours, and only during off-peak time.
Eliminate wasted energy
- Turn off appliances, lights and equipment when not in use. (Save: 2%)
- Unplug electronic devices and chargers when they aren’t in use-most new electronics use electricity even when switched “off.” Turn computers and printers off at the power strip.
- Unplug and recycle that spare refrigerator in the garage if you don’t really need it.
Inexpensive Energy Solutions
Make a quick trip to your local hardware store to purchase inexpensive energy-saving tools and equipment.
Replace air conditioner filters
Dirty filters restrict airflow and can cause the system to run longer, increasing energy use. Replace filters monthly for maximum benefit.
Plug your home’s leaks
Weather-strip, seal, and caulk leaky doors and windows and install foam gaskets behind outlet covers.
Choose ENERGY STAR® products
- Buy ENERGY STAR® certified table lamps and light fixtures, and replace your incandescent light bulbs that are used more than two hours per day with ENERGY STAR® compact fluorescent bulbs. For example, install compact fluorescent bulbs or LED bulbs in your porch light if you leave it on overnight.
- Buy ENERGY STAR® certified torchieres.
- Install an ENERGY STAR® programmable thermostat. (Save: 1-3 percent)
Good Energy Saving Investments
Planning to do some remodeling soon? Time to replace old appliances? Consider these energy efficiency suggestions when you make purchases.
Install a whole house fan
A whole house fan is permanently installed in your attic and draws cool air into your home through the windows while forcing hot air out through your attic vents. Use after sundown when the outside temperature drops below 80 degrees, and in the early morning to cool your house and help reduce your air conditioning use.
Install window shading
Install patio covers, awnings, and solar window screens to shade your home from the sun. For additional future savings, use strategically planted trees, shrubs and vines to shade your home.
Solar control window films applied to existing glass in windows and doors is an effective method to reduce peak demand during hot months and conserve energy anytime air conditioning might be required. In addition to the energy management benefits, the use of these films can also reduce exposure to ultraviolet radiation and reduce glare. Visit the INTERNATIONAL WINDOW FILM ASSOCIATION for more information.
Invest in a new air-conditioning unit
If your air conditioner is on the way out, buy an ENERGY STAR® air conditioner. (Save: up to 10 percent)
Seal your ducts
Leaking ductwork accounts for 25 percent of cooling costs in an average home, so have your ducts tested and have any leaks or restrictions repaired by a qualified contractor. Note: duct cleaning is not the same as duct sealing. As of October 1, 2005, if you install a new central air conditioner or furnace, your ducts will have to be inspected.
Replace your refrigerator with an ENERGY STAR® model
Refrigerators with a top or bottom freezer design can save you an additional 2-3% on your bill compared to a side-by-side design.
Increase attic insulation
If existing insulation level is R-19 or less, consider insulating your attic to at least R-30.
Install ENERGY STAR® windows
If your windows are due for replacement, ENERGY STAR® windows can make your house more comfortable year-round.