Saving energy saves money and helps the environment. The first step in saving energy is to understand how you use energy at home. The best way to do this is to record and monitor your energy bills.
- Close doors in your home to separate heated from unheated rooms.
- Heat your rooms to less than 70oF.
- Turn down your heat overnight and when you are out during the day.
- If you have gas heaters, turn off heater pilot lights during the warmer months.
- Try to use a portable heater instead of central heating, if only one room needs heating.
- When your family is buying a heater, choose heaters with thermostat controls and timers.
- When your family is buying a heater, choose one that carries the ENERGY STAR® label.
- Keep your heaters clean and regularly serviced.
- Remember to close windows and doors and shut curtains, drapes and blinds when you are heating a room.
- Use a ceiling fan if you have one, to move the warm air around.
- Make sure your windows are well shaded from the summer sun by putting up outside blinds, awnings or growing shade trees.
- Open windows and let the fresh air in when it’s cooler outside than inside.
- On hot summer days, close all of your blinds, curtains, windows and doors to keep out the heat.
- Regularly clean your air conditioner or cooler to keep it free from dust.
- Cool your rooms to no less than 75oF.
- Turn off the air conditioner overnight and when you are out during the day.
- Buy an air conditioner with the ENERGY STAR® label.
- Use fans to create nice cool breezes.
- Wear light clothing to keep your body cool.
- Turn off lights when you leave a room.
- If you can, use fluorescent lighting in rooms where lights are on for more than four hours each day.
- Try to use timers and sensors to control outdoor and security lighting.
- Try to use the lowest wattage globes possible when lighting an area.
- Try to open curtains and use natural light when possible.
- Make sure your hot water taps are in good condition – no leaks or drips.
- Check your hot water unit and make sure it is at the right temperature — not too hot.
- Use cold water to rinse your clothes and dishes.
- Turn off your water heater when you go on vacation for a week or longer.
- Use a water efficient showerhead in your shower.
- Take a short shower instead of a bath.
- When your family is buying a water heater, choose one with an ENERGY STAR® label.
- Defrost and clean the inside of your refrigerator and freezer at least once every six months.
- Keep the temperature in your refrigerator between 37oF and 41oF, and the temperature in your freezer between -4oF and -5oF.
- Check that the door seals on the refrigerator and freezer are tight fitting.
- If you have a frost-free refrigerator, pack items so that the cool air can move freely around the inside. Also make sure that there is good circulation around the back of the fridge.
- Put your refrigerator in a shaded and cool location.
- Don’t leave the refrigerator door open. Think about what you want before you open the fridge.
- When your family is buying a new refrigerator, choose one with the ENERGY STAR® label.
- Make sure your clothes washing machine and dryer are full when you use them.
- Wash your clothes in cold water when you can.
- Dry your clothes on a clothesline whenever possible — this uses no electricity at all.
- Keep your dryer clean and remove the lint from the filter each time you use it.
- Turn off your dryer as soon as the clothes are dry. Don’t let it keep going when it has done its job.
- Dry heavy clothes separately from light clothes.
- When your family is buying a clothes washer or dryer, choose one that has an ENERGY STAR® label.
- You can save energy while cooking by: using only the water you need; keeping lids on pots; simmering instead of boiling; and keeping cooking times to a minimum.
- If you have smaller appliances such as toaster ovens, use these instead of larger appliances when cooking small portions.
- Try to cook several dishes at the same time in the oven.
- Remember to use the thermometer or timer on your oven to avoid over-cooking.
- Ensure the seals on your oven are in good condition.
- Only open the oven door when you have to during cooking.
- Remember to thaw frozen food before cooking it.
- Turn off appliances at the power source when they are not being used.
- If you use an electric blanket, switch it on about half an hour before you go to bed and then switch off again just before you are in bed.
- When you are finished watching a movie, turn off your TV, rather than just using the stop button on the remote control.
- Switch off computers and printers at the power source.
- Activate your computer’s energy-saving “sleep mode”.
- Only run your dishwasher when you have a full load of dishes, and use the lowest suitable temperature setting.
- Use a solar pool heater to heat a swimming pool or hot tub, and cover with a pool blanket when not in use.
- Keep the swimming pool water temperature less than 80oF.
- Use a timer to turn the swimming pool filter pump on and off.
- When going on vacation, use timers to switch lights and appliances on and off, rather than leaving them on all the time.
General Home Tips
- Homes can be built that use less energy. Insulation keeps the heat in, and windows can be placed in areas to keep the heat in or out. Some houses now have solar panels for heating water.
- Some electricity companies give you the option of choosing whether the energy you use comes from burning fossil fuels or from cleaner energy sources, like wind turbines. Check with your local electricity company to see if you can switch to a cleaner type of energy.