- Clean the lint from the clothes dryer after every load. The efficiency of the dryer goes down when lint collects over the dryer filter. Run full loads and use the moisture-sensing setting. Save 5% on your electric bill.
- Line-dry clothes whenever possible. This can save up to 5% of your energy costs.
- Buy an ENERGY STAR clothes washer, which uses 50% less energy and 40% less water per load than a conventional machine. Save as much as $113 annually.
- Choose a clothes washer with a "mini-basket." A mini-basket is a small tub that fits over the agitator, allowing you to wash very small loads.
- Select a gas clothes dryer if possible. Gas dryers cost on average 15 to 20 cents per load to operate, while electric dryers cost on average 30 to 40 cents per load.
- Close drapes, blinds and shades to keep sun's rays out of the home during the warmer months, particularly for south and west-facing windows.
- Turn off fans when you leave the room. Remember that fans cool people, not rooms, by creating a wind chill effect.
- Remove and clean room air conditioner filters monthly. Dirty filters reduce the efficiency of the air conditioner.
- Consider planting trees and shrubs in strategic locations to help reduce the temperature and airflow in your house. Deciduous trees planted on the west and south sides of your home help to keep the house shaded during the season's peak heating times.
- If your old central air conditioner is more than 10 years old, consider replacing it with an ENERGY STAR model, which uses 20% less energy than a standard new model. Look for a SEER rating of at least 12.
- Install an ENERGY STAR programmable thermostat away from natural cool and hot spots. An ENERGY STAR thermostat can save as much as $115 per year, provide more flexibility than standard models and perform one or more of the following functions: Save and repeat multiple daily settings, which you can change when needed without affecting the rest of the daily or weekly program; store four or more temperature settings a day; and adjust heating or air conditioning turn-on times as the outside temperature changes.
- Adjust the refrigerator temperature settings. Optimum refrigerator range is 37 to 40°F and freezer range is 0 to 5°F. If the temperature control system does not specify degrees, check the manual for corresponding settings.
- Keep the refrigerator full. A full refrigerator retains cold better than an empty one. If the refrigerator is nearly empty, store water-filled containers inside. The mass of cold items will enable the refrigerator to recover more quickly after the door has been opened. On the other hand, don't overfill it, since that will interfere with the circulation of cold air inside.
- If you have an old style, inefficient refrigerator, it may be costing you as much as $280 a year in electricity in areas with high electrical rates. That means that a new, more efficient energy star model will pay for itself just from the energy savings alone.
- Keep your refrigerator's coils clean. Brushing or vacuuming the coils can improve efficiency by as much as 30 percent.
- Before going to buy compact fluorescent lamps (CFL), write down the light output of the standard A-shaped incandescent bulbs you want to replace. Then check the lumens rating on the CFL package and buy lamps that provide approximately the same amount of light. For example, most 60-watt incandescents provide around 800 lumens, so look for ENERGY STAR CFLs that provide 800 lumens or more.
- Consider using 4-Watt mini-fluorescent or electro-luminescent night-lights. Both are much more efficient lights than regular low-wattage night-lights. The luminescent lights are cool to the touch.
- If you have torchiere fixtures with halogen lamps, replace them with ENERGY STAR compact fluorescent torchieres. Halogen lamps generate excessive heat that can create fire hazards. Compact fluorescents are cooler, use 60% to 80% less energy.
- Install ENERGY STAR compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) in the fixtures you use most frequently. CFLs are most efficient when they operate for two or more hours at a time. CFLs use at least 66% less energy and last 10 times longer than incandescent lights. Replacing four of the most often used incandescent light bulbs with CFLs can save you $35 annually.
- Use task lighting; instead of brightly lighting an entire room, focus the light where you need it. For example, use fluorescent under-cabinet lighting for kitchen sinks and countertops.
- Open blinds and shades. Turn off lights in unoccupied areas or in spaces with sufficient natural lighting.
Water Heating Tips
- Install aerating, low-flow faucets and showerheads.
- Lower the thermostat on your water heater to 120°F.
- Insulate the first 6 feet of the hot and cold water pipes connected to the water heater.
- If you are in the market for a new dishwasher or clothes washer, consider buying an efficient, water-saving ENERGY STAR model to reduce hot water use.
Click here to view the Dept. of Energy’s Energy Savings Booklet