Home energy savings is not just a wintertime concern. Save money in every season and improve the energy efficiency of every room in your house with these smart tips for home energy savings.
- Check your thermostat control: To work most efficiently, your water heater should be set between 120 and 130 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Keep it warm: If your water heater doesn’t have a water-heater blanket, you may need one. To find out if you need a water-heater blanket, place your hand against the outside of your water heater. If it feels warm, then you should consider buying a water-heater blanket to heat up your home’s energy savings.
- Run the dishwasher: By running it once a day (or less) you’ll use around 17 gallons of hot water each time, compared to the 10 gallons you’ll generally use each time you wash the dishes by hand.
- Install insulation: Installing insulation is generally one of the best things you can do to reduce your home’s cooling costs and improve home energy savings. That’s because up to 20 percent of your home’s air conditioning can be lost to the great outdoors.
- Shade your home: Use landscaping, awnings and overhangs to provide shade around the outside of your home. A shaded house is easier to cool than one in direct sunlight.
- Set it and leave it: The best temperature for your air-conditioner thermostat is 78 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. A setting of 78 degrees Fahrenheit instead of 72 degrees Fahrenheit can help you save up to 12 percent on your cooling costs.
- Use a fan instead: An average central air conditioner can cost up to 58 cents per hour to operate. In contrast, a fan (ceiling or portable) costs only one cent an hour to operate.
WASHER & DRYER
- Wash and dry full loads: More than 70 percent of the cost of washing a load of laundry is in heating the water. So get the most for your money and improve home energy savings by making every effort to wash full loads. A load dried for 30 minutes can cost from 14 cents (gas dryer) to 36 cents (electric dryer). Since you’re going to spend that much, you might as well dry a full load!
- Use cold water when possible: Washing in cold water will get most clothes just as clean. Besides, they’ll fade less and have fewer wrinkles. You might even save on ironing (which costs another 7 cents per hour). Save washing in warm water for whites or hard-to-clean items. Above all, always rinse in cold.
- Get the lint out: Clean your dryer’s lint screen after every use.
- Dry for free: Use the sun to dry your clothes. It’s free, and the only energy it requires is your own.
REFRIGERATOR & FREEZER
- Keep it in good shape: A refrigerator works best when it’s kept in good condition, so check the door seals. If a seal is cracked, or you feel cold air leaking out, the seal should be replaced.
- Use the correct settings: Check your thermostat controls. To work most efficiently, your refrigerator should be set between 38 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The freezer temperature should be set at zero.
- Defrost regularly: If you have a manual defrost freezer, don’t forget to defrost regularly. More than 1/4 inch of frost makes your freezer work harder to keep your food (and the frost) frozen.
- Keep it clean and level: Dirty condenser coils could lead to higher operating costs and hamper your home energy savings. Coils, found on the back or bottom front of your refrigerator, should be checked and cleaned at least twice a year. A refrigerator that’s not level may cause the door gasket to seal improperly, letting cold air leak out.
- Keep it full: Refrigerators operate most efficiently when they are full, but not overloaded.
- Let the sun in: Open blinds and curtains during the day to take advantage of nature’s light.
- Use timers: If you sometimes forget to turn off the lights, think about buying a timer.
- Save watts: Use watt-saving bulbs to improve your overall home energy savings. They give off the same amount of light as regular bulbs, but use 10 percent less energy.
- Use only what you need: Do you ever go into a room and turn on all the lights? Or leave landscape lighting on all night? Inside and outside, use only as much light as you need.
- Don’t touch that dial: The best temperature for your heater’s thermostat is 68 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Before bedtime, turn it down to 55 degrees Fahrenheit or lower (or even off) for more savings.
- Use your vents: They’re adjustable and you can control where heat goes. Try closing a few of the rooms you don’t use, along with the heating vents. But don’t close off too many rooms, or your furnace won’t operate as efficiently.
- Don’t let heat escape: Seal your home energy savings efforts by keeping doors and windows closed on chilly nights.
- Insulate your home: Up to 20 percent of your heating can be lost through your ceiling. Proper insulation will keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer
OVEN & RANGE
- Don’t keep opening the door: Every time you open your oven’s door, you lose approximately 25 degrees of heat.
- Use leftovers: Your oven and range have leftovers, too. A gas oven can retain heat up to 15 minutes; an electric oven up to 30 minutes. Even your electric range-top burner can stay hot for an extra 3 to 5 minutes. Take advantage of this extra heat to warm up desserts or rolls.
- Watch your pots: They can make a difference. Pans with flared sides or bottoms that are smaller than your burner let heat escape. If pots and pans are too big or have warped bottoms, your food won’t cook evenly.
- Keep it clean: An oven or range that’s free of grease and baked-on residue will work more efficiently and contribute to overall home energy savings.