While the price of energy is unpredictable and based on many factors, you can control the amount of energy you use each month by taking small steps that can lead to big savings.
Saving Energy Around the House
Seal the Leaks
- Check the insulation levels in your attic, exterior and basement walls, ceilings, floors, and crawl spaces. More attic insulation tips...
- Check for holes or cracks around your walls, ceilings, windows, doors, light and plumbing fixtures, switches, and electrical outlets that can leak air into or out of your home. Seal leaks with foam caulk or weather stripping.
- Close fireplace dampers when not in use.
- More leak sealing info...
In the Kitchen
- Keep your refrigerator at 37°- 40° F and your freezer at 5°F.
- Vacuum the condenser coils (underneath or behind the unit) every three months or so.
- Reduce your refrigeration electricity usage by 40 percent by replacing a 12-year-old or older unit with a new one. An Energy Star® unit will lower usage even more.
- Wash only full loads of dishes - but do not overload dishwasher.
- More appliance info...
- Use energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) in fixtures throughout your home to provide high-quality and high-efficiency lighting. Fluorescent lamps are much more efficient than incandescent (standard) bulbs and last about 6 to 12 times longer.
- Controls such as timers and photo cells save electricity by turning lights off when not in use.
- Dimmers save electricity when used to lower light levels. Be sure to select products that are compatible with CFL bulbs; not all products work with CFLs.
- When remodeling, look for recessed downlights, or "cans", that are rated for contact with insulation (IC rated).
- Outdoors use Light Emitting Diodes, or LEDs, which thrive in outdoor environments because of their durability and performance in cold weather. Look for LED products such as pathway lights, step lights, and porch lights for outdoor use.
- More lighting tips...
- You can reduce your water heating costs by simply lowering the thermostat setting on your water heater to 120 ºF. For each 10 ºF reduction in water temperature, you can save between 3 to 5 percent in energy costs.
- Unless your water heater's storage tank already has a high R-value of insulation (at least R-24), adding insulation to it can reduce standby heat losses by 25 to 45 percent. This will save you around 4 to 9 percent in water heating costs.
- Insulating your hot water pipes reduces heat loss and can raise water temperature 2º to 4ºF hotter than uninsulated pipes can deliver, allowing for a lower water temperature setting. You also won't have to wait as long for hot water when you turn on a faucet or showerhead, which helps conserve water.
- More tips on efficient water heating...
- In the summer, set your thermostat at 78 ºF while you are home and 85 ºF while you are gone or at night. The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be.
- Avoid placing lamps or TV sets near your air-conditioning thermostat. The thermostat senses heat from these appliances, which can cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary.
- Use power strips to minimize your plug load - the energy consumed by any electronic device that's plugged into a socket.
- Be cautious of what is plugged into your outlets. Appliances that are not in use are still drawing energy, costing you money. Small electronics and appliances like toasters, printers, cellphone chargers should be unplugged when not in use.