Electricity is used everywhere--computers, lighting, industrial applications, medical devices, water heaters, TVs--the list is nearly endless. And in today's environment of wanting to do more with less, you need all the energy-saving tips you can get. Click on any of our information-packed energy solutions to help give you ideas on how you can save more and use less at work and at home.
Provide shade around your air conditioner, and it could reduce your cooling costs by nearly 3 percent.
Appliances and home electronics account for about 20 percent of your energy bill. Consider updating these items by shopping for ENERGY STAR qualified appliances and electronics. And, turn them off when not in use.
Make sure that your attic access is tightly sealed and well insulated.
Seal all attic air leaks, especially chases, dropped ceilings, wiring and plumbing penetrations, light fixtures, and bathroom fans.
Install rafter and soffit vents to maintain a steady airflow, removing heat from the attic and keeping your home cooler in the summer. In winter, proper ventilation and insulation helps keep the attic cold, reducing the potential for melting and refreezing that can cause harmful ice dams on the roof and gutters.
Use caulk to seal cracks in the rim joist where basement walls meet the ceiling.
Seal gaps where plumbing and wiring pass through basement walls or ceilings leading to the outside or into the floor above.
If you have a crawl space, make sure that it is properly sealed and insulated. See Crawl Space Insulation from the U.S. Department of Energy for more information.
Install low-flow shower heads and aerated faucets to conserve water and save energy on water heating.
Fix leaky faucets in bathroom sink, tub, or shower. Not only can you save 10 to 20 gallons of water per day, but you can keep energy dollars for water heating from going down the drain.
Limit showers to 10 minutes or less; this is a highly effective, no-cost way to save energy and water.
Unplug battery chargers when the batteries are fully charged or the chargers are not in use.
Operate ceiling fans at night to reduce the need for air conditioning and heating. In summer, direct the fan to push air down. In winter, reverse fan direction to pull air up, forcing warm air down.
Install insulating window treatments and close them at dusk during winter to keep warm air in at night.
If you use a window air conditioner in your bedroom, make sure it fits tightly in the window to prevent cool air from escaping. In winter, remove the air conditioner from the window.
Consider buying a laptop for your next computer upgrade; they use much less energy than desktop computers.
To save energy, match the size of your pan to the heating element on your stove.
Use the smallest burner that fits your pot to help reduce the amount of energy used. And, use a lid to shorten the time on the burner when boiling water or heating food on the stove.
Run only full loads of dishes, but be sure not to overload it.
Use the "air dry" setting instead of the "heat dry" setting on your dishwasher.
Don't over-dry your clothes. If your machine has a moisture sensor, please use it.
Family rooms are full of electronic devices--such as gaming consoles and DVD players--that continue to use energy in standby mode even when they are turned off. Cluster these devices on a power strip to conveniently cut off power at one time.
Initiate sleep mode features on home computers and switch to laptops if possible; they use substantially less energy than desktop computers.
If you have a fireplace, keep dampers closed when it is not in use to keep conditioned air from escaping through your chimney.
Clean or replace your heating and cooling filters every month.
Replace your incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs and reduce your electricity usage for light by 75 percent.
Do not run the dishwasher until you have a full load; use the air-dry feature whenever possible.
Microwave ovens use 50 percent less energy than conventional ovens. Heat food in the microwave instead of on the range top or in the oven.
Keep your oven door closed when baking. Every time you open the oven door, the temperature can drop 25 degrees.
For oven cooking, use the lowest temperature setting possible and preheat the oven to the exact temperature required.
When cooking on range tops, cover pots and pants; foods will cook more efficiently and the kitchen will stay cooler in the summer.
Plant trees or shrubs to shade your air conditioner, but don’t plant too close or you’ll block airflow.
Consider air drying clothes. This will save energy and help to increase the life of your clothing.
Use the cold or warm water settings when possible. By switching from hot to warm, you can cut energy use in half.
Wash full loads whenever possible. If you must wash a small load, use the appropriate water level setting.
Turn off the lights when you leave a room.
Your electronics--such as TVs, phone chargers, and DVD players--use energy even when turned off. To save energy, unplug the gadgets. 75 percent of the electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while they're turned off.
Need to recycle electronics, CFLs, batteries, paint or other household waste? Visit earth911.org
to receive a list of recycling centers in your area.
- Consider skipping the ice-maker and dispenser. Automatic ice-makers and through-the-door dispensers increase energy use by 14-20 percent. They also raise the purchase price by $75 to $250.
- If you buy a new refrigerator, be sure to recycle your old one. Replacing a fridge from the 1980s with an ENERGY STAR model can save $100 per year on your utility bill. Replacing a 1970s model can save up to $200 per year!
- Consider buying a refrigerator with a top-mounted freezer. Models with top-mounted freezers use 10 to 25 percent less energy than bottom-mount or side-by-side models.
- Purchase an appropriately sized refrigerator. Generally, the larger the refrigerator, the greater the energy consumption. The most energy-efficient models are typically 16-20 cubic feet.
Follow these guidelines to reduce the amount of energy your refrigerator uses:
- Set the appropriate temperature. Keep your refrigerator at 35-38 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place your fridge in a cool place. Position your refrigerator away from a heat source such as an oven, a dishwasher, or direct sunlight from a window.
- Allow air circulation behind the fridge. Leave a few inches between the wall and the refrigerator, and keep the condenser coils clean if you have an older model. Read the user's manual to learn how to safely clean coils. Coil cleaning brushes can be purchased at most hardware stores.
- Check the door seals. Make sure the refrigerator seals around the door are airtight. If not, replace them.
- Keep the door closed. Minimize the amount of time the refrigerator door is open.
Install a programmable thermostat to keep your house comfortably warm in the winter and comfortably cool in the summer.
Set your thermostat to 85 degrees if you're going to be away from home for several days or more.
When shopping for a new clothes washer, look for the ENERGY STAR label. ENERGY STAR clothes washers clean clothes using 50 percent less energy than standard washers.
Set your water heater's thermostat to "normal" or 120 degrees.
To save energy and cut down on your water bill, take a shower instead of a bath.
Weather-strip around the seams of your air conditioner to provide better insulation, and reduce cooling costs.