Ways to Save
Here are some ways to save on energy costs long term.
- Remember to turn off all unnecessary lights.
- Replace frequently-used lights with compact fluorescent lights - you'll save up to 79 percent on your lighting costs.
- Use task lighting to focus light where you need it most rather than lighting an entire room.
- Consider using lower wattage light bulbs – such as 60 watts in lamps.
- Installing timers and motion detectors for some indoor lights and most outdoor lights can save up to 30 percent of lighting energy use.
- Refrigerators use more energy than any other single appliance in your home. If your refrigerator is 10 years old or older, consider replacing it with an Energy Star qualified refrigerator - it will use less than half the energy of your old unit.
- Keep the refrigerator door closed as much as possible.
- Don't overfill your refrigerator/freezer - cool air needs to circulate freely.
- For greater efficiency, keep your refrigerator at 37°F to 40°F for the fresh food compartment, and your freezer at 5°F. If you have a separate freezer for long-term storage, keep it at 0°F.
- Defrost regularly - frost buildup increases the amount of energy needed to keep the motor running.
Cooking / Kitchen
- Use your microwave to cook as often as possible - it's more efficient than stove cooking.
- Match each pot or pan to the appropriately sized heating element on your stove. A six-inch pan on an eight-inch element, for example, wastes 40 percent of the element's output.
- Keep range-top burners and reflectors clean; they will reflect the heat better and you will save energy.
- Use a covered kettle or pan to boil water; it's faster and it uses less energy.
- Use small electric pans or toaster ovens for small meals rather than your large stove or oven - a toaster oven uses a third to half as much energy as a full-sized oven.
- When washing dishes, always run a full load for maximum savings.
- If your dishwasher allows you to adjust your water temperature, set it at a lower temperature to save hot water.
- Don't use the "rinse hold" setting on your dishwasher if you're washing only a few dishes - it uses 3 to 7 gallons of water with each wash.
- Let your dishes air dry. If you don't have an automatic air-dry switch, turn off the control knob after the final rinse and prop the door open slightly so the dishes will dry faster.
- When washing clothes, always run a full load for maximum savings - or set the controls for smaller loads.
- Dry towels and heavier cottons in a separate load from lighter-weight clothes.
- Make sure you don't waste energy by over-drying your clothes.
- Clean your dryer's lint filter after every load to improve air circulation.
- Using your dryer's cool-down cycle will allow clothes to finish drying with the lingering heat.
- Periodically check your dryer vent to make sure it's not blocked - this saves energy and may prevent a fire.
- If you're drying multiple loads, dry them one right after the other - you'll use less energy since the dryer is already heated.
- To save energy, wash full loads in the coolest water possible, and always rinse clothes in cold water.
When shopping for appliances, look for the most energy-efficient model in your price range. Federal law requires that yellow Energy Guide labels be placed on all new furnaces, refrigerators, freezers, water heaters, dishwashers, clothes washers and heat pumps. Use the labels to estimate annual energy costs when comparing models. And remember, Energy Star qualified appliances are the most efficient on the market.