A large portion of the energy used in the home each month can be saved by making smarter energy use choices in your home. Each week, we'll post a new tip or idea for simple changes you can make to help reduce your energy use and save money each month.
- Only wash full loads of dishes. The amount of water used is the same whether you have a full load or just a few dishes.
- Save a load! Wash your laundry in cold water and clean your dryer's lint filter after every load. Your dryer takes longer to dry when it's trying to push air through lint.
- Use the cool-down cycle of the clothes dryer to allow the clothes to finish drying with the residual heat in the dryer.
- Cook with small appliances. Cook with your toaster oven, electric skillet and slow cooker for specialized jobs, rather than the range. Small appliances use less energy.
- Use the microwave. Microwave ovens shorten cooking times, which saves energy.
- Older refrigerators and freezers use two to three times more energy than models that are 10 years old or newer.
- Clean or replace air filters. Replace filters on exhaust hoods, humidifiers, vacuums, etc. Clogged filters impair performance and cause the units to run longer.
- Run cold water for disposal. Hot water requires energy to warm the water. Cold water saves energy and solidifies grease, moving it more easily through the garbage disposal and pipes.
- Shade your windows with light-colored shades to reflect heat.
- Repair and weather strip air leaks in the home; about 10-25 percent of energy used to cool homes escapes via leaks.
- Close draperies and shades on south-facing windows to block sunlight and heat during the day.
- Install a programmable thermostat; set it higher when you are away.
- Install ceiling fans to circulate cool air throughout the house.
- Have your HVAC system tuned up at least once per year to insure it operates at peak performance.
- Change the filters on your system every month.
- Use the light bulb that lasts 10 times longer. An ENERGY STAR qualified CFL will save about $30 over its lifetime and pay for itself in about six months.
- Turn lights off when not in use. Make it a habit to turn lights off when you leave a room or when you leave your home.
- Consider buying a laptop for your next computer upgrade; they use much less energy than desktop computers.
- Plug small appliances and electronics like phone chargers into a power strip and only turn the power strip on when using the appliance. This can help save energy because even phone chargers and coffee makers draw energy when not in use.
- Unplug devices that use standby power, such as DVD players, video game systems, printers, scanners, and set-top cable boxes.