- In winter, a thermostat set at 68 degrees or lower during the day when the home is occupied is recommended. Your kilowatt-hour usage for heating increases approximately 3% for each degree of temperature setting above 68 degrees.
- Wear layers of clothing and use extra blankets.
- Lower the thermostat a degree or two before you entertain a large group of people.
- Keep your fireplace chimney damper closed when you are not using the fireplace.
- Open window shades, drapes and/or blinds that receive direct sunlight during the day.
- Use bath and kitchen exhaust fans only when needed during the heating season. Fans draw heated air out of your home.
- Close shades, drapes and/or blinds at night.
- Use space heaters as little as possible, as they are very expensive to operate.
- In summer, a thermostat set at 78 degrees is recommended if the home is occupied. Your kilowatt-hour usage for cooling increases approximately 3% for each degree of temperature setting below 78 degrees. During unoccupied hours, turn off the air conditioner.
- Use ceiling fans which allows for setting the thermostat at a higher temperature.
- Leave window shades, drapes and/or blinds down (closed) during the day to keep out direct sunlight during hot periods.
- Run kitchen and bath exhaust fans only long enough to rid the house of unwanted vapor, smoke and odors during the summer. Running them too long allows cool air to escape.
- Avoid using evaporative coolers or humidifiers at the same time an air conditioner is running.
- Try to use the oven, dishwasher and other appliances that produce heat during the late evening and early morning.
- Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes.
- Set the temperature control on your water heater to 120 degrees F. If you have a dishwasher, suggested
temperature setting is 140 degree F. The higher the temperature of the water sitting in the tank waiting for you to use, the more heat it loses.
- Encourage family members to take short showers instead of tub baths. The average person uses about half as much hot water in a shower as in a tub.
- Turn off running water when shaving or brushing your teeth.
- Fill a dishpan with rinse water instead of letting the faucet run while you do dishes by hand.
- Use cold water when operating your garbage disposal. It saves energy and solidifies the grease, which is then ground up and flushed away.
- Wash clothes in cold water when possible. To wash a load of clothes, takes on the average, about 30 gallons of water.
- Replace showerheads and faucets with type limiting flow to 2.5 gallons per minute.
- Turn off electric water heater at breaker or set back gas water heater to “pilot,” “vacation,” or lowest heat setting when your home is vacant for 2 days or more.
- Set your dishwasher to “air-dry”
Saving Energy in the Kitchen
- Dishwashers use an average of 15 gallons of hot water per load plus electricity needed to operate the machine. Washing and rinsing dishes by hand three times a day uses more hot water and energy than one load a day in an automatic dishwasher.
- Use energy-saving cycles. Apply the no-heat, air-dry feature. If your dishwasher does not have this feature, turn it off after the final rinse cycle and open the door so that the dishes can air dry.
- Wash full loads only.
- Proper amounts of detergent can eliminate a second wash. Fill your dishwasher according to the manufacturer’s instructions so that proper water flow will clean dishes thoroughly.
- Always choose the shortest washing cycle that will clean your dishes and scrape off heavy food accumulated before loading dishes into the dishwasher.
- Use your dishwasher’s “power-saver switch” if it has one to automatically eliminate the drying cycle.
- On hot days, wait to use your dishwasher until night. You will avoid adding heat in the house during the hottest time of the day.
Ranges and Ovens
- Use a toaster-oven, crock-pot, or small microwave when cooking small to moderately sized meals.
- Use the smallest pan possible. Smaller pans require less energy.
- For ranges with differently sized burners, match burners to pots of the same size. Cover pots to avoid heat loss.
- With electric burners, turn off just before cooking has completed and the burner will continue to heat the food.
- For ovens, keep pre-heating to a minimum.
- Avoid opening the oven door during baking. A large amount of heat escapes every time you open the door.
- Use oven thermometers and timers to avoid overcooking.
- Turn the oven off a few minutes before you expect the food to finish cooking and allow the residual heat to complete the job.
Refrigerators & Freezers
- Keep your refrigerator and freezer at the right temperature. The refrigerator should be between 38° F and 42° F and the freezer between 0° F and 5° F.
- Vacuum condenser coils in the back or at the bottom of your refrigerator every three months or so. Dust-covered coils impair the efficiency of compressor operation and increase energy use.
- Discard old or extra refrigerators.
- Don’t open the refrigerator longer or more often than necessary. Decide what you want before you open the door.
- Let hot items cool before placing them in the refrigerator.
- Defrost the freezer regularly.
- Make sure refrigerators and freezers have tight-fitting door gaskets to prevent infiltration to warm air.
- Keep refrigerators and freezers filled to capacity but don’t overcrowd to the point where air cannot circulate freely around food.
- Empty or nearly empty refrigerators do not operate efficiently. Use water containers or bags of ice cubes to fill empty space.
- Turn down your refrigerator and remove perishables before going on an extended vacation.
- Refrigerator or freezer in the garage or outside can be a real energy hog. High temperatures make your refrigerator or freezer use much more energy, which adds to your electricity bills. Consider disconnecting them at least for the summer or moving them to an air-conditioned area.
- Use pots and pans with absolutely flat bottoms on your range. To cook efficiently, heat must transfer directly from the surface element to the pan. Warped bottoms leave an air gap which provides an escape route for heat.
- Select pots and pans that are the right size to completely cover the surface element. When any part of the surface element is exposed, you’re wasting heat and energy.
- Keep reflector pans beneath surface elements shiny and clean. Shiny pans reflect heat rays onto pan bottoms; dull pans absorb the heat.
- Develop the habit of "lids on" cooking. Tight-fitting lids help keep heat in a pan, permitting you to use lower temperature settings and shorter cooking times.
- Heat only the amount of water you need for cooking. The water will boil faster if you cover it with a lid.
- Start vegetables on high heat in a covered pan. When steam appears around the lid, lower the heat setting and allow food to simmer until done.
- Plan one-dish meals in a slow cooker. Such meals require less energy than those calling for the use of the oven plus two or three surface elements.
- Make more use of your pressure cooker. It cuts cooking time to one-third that of conventional methods.
- Consider cooking small quantities of food in appliances such as an electric toaster oven, skillet or grill instead of your oven. Portable appliances generally use about one third the electricity of your oven. Also, consider using smaller coffee makers if you only want one or two cups of coffee.
- Use your microwave oven instead of your conventional electric oven whenever possible. Microwaves can cook food in one-fourth or less the normal cooking time.
- Prepare your whole meal in the oven at the same time. Often you can simultaneously cook foods that have different cooking temperatures. Variations of 25 degrees usually produce favorable cooking results.
- Carefully time your preheat period when baking. Generally, five to eight minutes is sufficient. There is no need to preheat for broiling, roasting or cooking most casseroles.
- Rearrange oven shelves before turning on the oven to prevent wasteful heat escape.
- Avoid opening the oven door for a “peek” when baking. Each time you open the door, a considerable portion of the heat escapes.
- Activate the self-cleaning cycle on your electric oven only when the oven is heavily soiled. Start the cycle right after using the oven while it is still hot.
- Never use an oven to heat the kitchen or dry clothing. It wastes energy and can be hazardous.
- Use the outside barbecue grill whenever possible. This will keep the heat out of the kitchen. Barbecuing can also be a fun time for the whole family.
Saving Energy with Laundry
- Sort clothes and schedule laundry so you can wash only full loads. It takes almost as much electricity to run a small load as it does a full one.
- Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible. Not only does it save on water heating costs, it keeps your home cooler.
- Always use cold water for rinse cycles.
- Select the correct water level for each load. Don’t use too much detergent. Over-suds make your washer work harder and may require a second wash to remove the excess soap. Avoid a second wash by using a presoak product on heavily soiled fabrics.
- Separate heavier clothes (towels, heavy cottons) from the lightweight fabrics (synthetics) for more efficient drying.
- Dry only full loads in your dryer but don’t overload. It causes excessive wrinkling.
- Avoid over drying. This wastes energy and harms fabrics as well.
- Dry two or more loads in a row.
- Use automatic dryer settings, which save energy, when compared to timed cycle.
- Remove clothes from the dryer as soon as it stops, before wrinkles have time to set. Clothes you promptly fold or place on hangers require little or no ironing so you can save electricity as well as your own energy.
- Don’t add wet clothes during the drying cycle.
- Clean the lint filter after each use and you can maximize airflow and efficiency.
- Keep dryer vents free of lint. A clogged vent wastes energy.
- Select the proper setting and time for the type and size load.
Saving Energy General Tips
Lighting and Appliances
- Turn off appliances and lights when not in use, including the television and radio.
- When purchasing new appliances, look for new appliances with automatic shut-off switches.
- Choose light colors for furniture. Light colors reflect light. Dark colors absorb light and require higher bulb wattages.
- Clean lighting fixtures regularly. Dust on lamps, reflectors and light bulbs impairs lighting efficiency.
- Iron fabrics that require a cooler iron first and work up to those requiring higher heat. An iron heats faster than it cools, so it’s quicker to go from low to high than the reverse. You’ll use less energy.
- Turn off the iron a few minutes before you finish ironing and complete the rest of your clothes with the heat remaining in the iron.
- Dry your hair with a towel instead of blow drying it. Many hair dryers consume as much energy as an electric toaster, plus you use them for longer periods.
- Unplug infrequently or seasonally used power supplies.
- Consolidate multiple power supplies on a single power strip so that the power can be turned off easily with one switch.
- When leaving for extended time from home, unplug TV’s, cable boxes, PC’s, and other devices that won’t be in use while you are away.
- The recommended thermostat control setting for your furnace is 68 degrees F during the heating season or a range of 65–72 degrees.
- Set back your thermostat by 5 or 10 degrees when sleeping or when your house is empty for four hours or longer.
- Provide your home management with timely access to change furnace filters and provide furnace service.
- Open drapes and blinds to allow sunlight to enter your home during the day. Close drapes and blinds on overcast days and at night when no warm sunlight is shining.
- Keep heating vents clear of furniture and draperies and keep dampers open. Vacuum dust and pet fur from warm-air registers and cold-air returns.
- Remove dust and lint from registers, vents, and baseboard heaters.
- Don't let heated air escape up your chimney. Make sure the damper is closed when your fireplace is not in use.
- Get into the layered look. Put an extra sweater on, another blanket on the bed. It's the easiest way to keep the cold at bay.
- Use kitchen, bath and other ventilating fans sparingly. In just one hour, these fans can exhaust a house of warm air.
- Close vents and doors to unused rooms. Avoid heating un-insulated areas such as garages and crawl spaces. Keep your garage door closed as much as possible.
Water Heater Tips
- Your water heater is an energy glutton. The recommended thermostat setting is to a range between 110 and 120 degrees, or to the “warm” setting.
- Set your water heater temperature control to the pilot position when your home is vacant for two days or longer.
- Operate washers and dishwashers with only full loads.
- Take five-minute showers.
- Reduce usage of hot water while cleaning and bathing.
- Do not replace low flow showerheads.
- If warming baby bottles or defrosting food products, fill a pot with hot water once instead of keeping hot water running for several minutes over the bottle or food and down the drain.
- Do not leave the oven on preheat for an extended period of time and keep stove top burner flames as low as possible.
- Gas flames from your stove should burn with a clear blue color. A yellow flame may indicate that your burner isn’t operating efficiently.
- Wash clothing using cold water cycles whenever possible.
- Close dampers on unused fireplaces.