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Energy-Saving Tips

Save Energy At Home

Much of our residential energy, about half (49%), is used to heat and cool our homes. An additional 13 percent goes for heating water, the second-largest individual home energy user and expense. Lighting uses 10 percent of our energy. Most refrigerators  use 5 percent, while home electronics use 7%. The remaining 16 percent goes into cooking, washing and drying clothes and running other appliances.

We can cut our energy use and help control living costs by making our homes energy efficient, even if we have to spend some money to do it. The money we spend now can help hold down energy costs.

Caution: Some older people may require higher indoor temperatures -- above 65 F at all times -- to avoid accidental hypothermia, a potentially fatal drop in body temperature. People with circulatory problems or those taking certain types of medications (e.g., phenothiazines, commonly used to treat anxiety and nausea) may also be vulnerable. In such instances, follow a physician's counsel on both winter and summer thermostat settings in your home.


Here are 40 things you can do to conserve electricity.

  1. Turning down the thermostat 6 degrees can save up to 20 percent of your heating bill.
  2. Moving furniture away from warm air registers gives a more even room temperature.
  3. Open drapes on sunny days t allow warmth from the sun and close them at sundown.
  4. Use lined or insulated drapes on windows.
  5. Turn off the lights when not in use.
  6. Keep light bulb and fixtures clean.
  7. Use one 100-watt bulb instead of two 60-watt bulbs.
  8. Use florescent fixtures when possible.
  9. Keep water heater temperature at the lowest recommended setting (120-140 degrees).
  10. Correct leaking faucets.
  11. Use cold water whenever possible.
  12. Don't leave faucets running.
  13. Turn off electric ranges immediately after use.
  14. Use flat bottom utensils which cover the entire element.
  15. Use steamer or pressure cooker when possible for faster cooking.  Consider purchasing an energy efficient convection oven.
  16. Don't open the oven door unnecessarily.
  17. Thaw frozen food ahead of time.
  18. Use the self cleaning feature of your oven while the oven is still warm.
  19. Use high heat only to start the cooking process.
  20. Buy manual defrost refrigerators when possible rather than self-defrosting.
  21. Defrost refrigerator when frost is one quarter inch thick.
  22. Vacuum cooling coils beneath refrigerator at least every month.
  23. Check gaskets occasionally on both refrigerators and freezers.
  24. Do not open refrigerator or freezer any more than necessary.
  25. If buying a freezer, select a chest type, ENERGY STAR rated.
  26. Place foods to be refrigerated or frozen in small, shallow containers, 3 inches tall or less, and cover them completely.
  27. Buy multi-door units on refrigerators.
  28. Use dishwashers for full loads only.
  29. Stop the dishwasher before the dry cycle begins and air dry the dishes (modern dishwashers should have an energy saving cool dry).
  30. Select a clothes washer large enough to handle big loads.
  31. Use cold water to wash most clothes in.
  32. Use the soak cycle on heavily soiled clothes to prevent double washings.
  33. Clean lint filters on clothes washer and clothes dryer often.
  34. Place your clothes dryer where it gets plenty of ventilation (non-humid air).
  35. Dry rugs and/or clothes outside whenever possible.
  36. Be sure and vent your dryer when possible to the outside air.
  37. Hang clothes immediately to prevent ironing.
  38. Do ironing all at once to avoid heating the iron several times.
  39. Match temperature setting to fabric.
  40. Unplug all appliances or drop cords that are seldom used.

Suddenly Spiking Bills?

If you are experiencing a sudden increase in your bill, this may be sign of a problem. Please check out our "Why is my electric bill so high?" guide for more information.

1 Winter holiday energy-saving tips
2 Home Energy Analysis