No-Cost Energy Saving Tips
These solutions won't cost you a bit, and are simple things you can do around your home to save energy and money.
- Run only a full dishwasher and use your dishwasher's automatic energy-savings cool-dry cycle. If your dishwasher doesn't have this feature, turn it off after the final rinse and let the dishes air dry. Doing this can reduce dishwasher energy usage by 40 percent.
- Wash your laundry in cold water when possible. In top-load models, about 90 percent of the cost per load is to heat the water.
- Do laundry after 7:00 p.m. to reduce unwanted heat and humidity in your home or dry clothes outside on a line to save energy and avoid the heat a dryer generates.
- Wash only full loads in your washing machine and adjust the water level as needed.
Heating and cooling:
- When winter comes, set your thermostat to 68 degrees--and lower when it makes sense. Your heating system will operate less and use less energy. Turn your thermostat down another 5 degrees at night or when leaving your home for an hour or more to save even more on energy costs.
- Let natural sunlight into your home by opening window coverings on south-facing windows to warm your home. Keep window coverings closed in rooms that receive no direct sunlight to insulate from cold window drafts. At night, close window coverings to retain heat.
- Set the temperature on your hot water tank to 120 degrees. Extremely hot water can lead to higher energy costs and even scalding accidents.
- Keep showers short and use low-flow showerheads. A shower takes less hot water than a bath, but only if it is short in duration.
- Check the condition of your hot tub cover and check for escaping steam. Insulation blankets help keep the tub toasty for your use.
- Stagger pans on upper and lower oven racks to improve air flow because food cooks more quickly and efficiently in ovens when air can circulate freely. Don't lay foils on racks.
- Use glass or ceramic pans in ovens. With those types of pans, you can turn down the temperature about 25 degrees and foods will cook just as quickly.
- Watch the clock or use a timer instead of opening the oven door frequently to check the food. Each time you open the door, the oven temperature drops by 25 degrees.
Other things you can do:
- Turn on your old, inefficient fridge in the garage only for those few occasions when you need extra refreshments.
- Keep your refrigerator closed while deciding what to eat. Each time you open the fridge door, the compressor has to run for eight to ten minutes to keep the cold inside.
- Make sure you and all your family members turn off the lights when leaving a room.
- View more no-cost and low-cost home energy savers.
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Do-It-Yourself energy saving tips
These low-cost energy saving tips are also very simple things you can do to cut into your energy usage. These tips often require spending a little money on energy-efficient products.
Check your equipment:
- Clean or replace your furnace filters monthly throughout the heating season and every three months the rest of the year.
- Install a programmable thermostat to adjust temperature settings according to a preset schedule.
- Fix any leaky faucets. A small drip can be the equivalent of wasting a bath tub full of hot water each month.
- Insulate water pipes. It's easy and will prevent heated water in the pipes from cooling down too quickly.
Prevent cold drafts:
- Find and plug those leaks. Just wet your fingertips and run them around the door or window frame to feel a draft, or hold up a tissue and see if it waves. Seal leaks next to moving parts (between a door and its frame) with weather stripping. Fill leaks between non-moving parts (a window frame and wall) with caulking.
- Seal light switches and electrical sockets. Low-cost, high-density foam gaskets is a good way to do it.
- Make sure your fireplace is properly vented. If you do not have a proper amount of outside air for combustion, your fireplace will draw heated air from inside your house.
- Remove, clean and store window air conditioning units when possible; otherwise they will be conduits for cold air.
- Put in a ceiling fan with an option to reverse the air flow. Most models will allow you to set the direction the motor turns so you can blow the warm air back down into the living space.
- Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents (CFLs). Even though they cost more than incandescent bulbs, CFLs pay for themselves with the energy savings. Plus they can last six to ten times longer.
- Install lighting controls like dimmers, timers or motion sensors.
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Contractor-Assisted Energy Saving Tips
These tips may take a little more time and resources to complete. We recommend you consult a professional contractor.
To prevent heat loss:
- Have drafty doors and windows replaced. This will not only reduce energy consumption for years to come, but will increase the value and beauty of your home.
- Call an insulation contractor to determine the insulation levels in your walls, ceiling or attic. Insulation is designed to resist heat flow both into and out of your home.
- Seal air ducts to prevent heat loss. A qualified contractor will inspect your system, perform pressurization tests and complete any repairs necessary.
When it comes to equipment, remember to:
- Replace older furnaces and water heaters with energy-efficient models. We offer energy-efficiency equipment incentives available for those who qualify.
- Consider getting rid of your ten-year-old refrigerator or freezer in favor of an energy-efficient model of the same size. The new unit can cost you considerably less to operate than the old.
- Have your contractor install energy-efficient windows. Compared to uncoated, single-pane windows, double-pane windows with low-e coating can reduce your heating bills substantially in cold climates.
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