Simple tips to help you save

Did you know? Appliances account for about 13% of your household's energy costs. Things we rely on every day — refrigeration, cooking and laundry — are at the top of the list. Here you'll find tips and advice for how to use your dishwasher, oven, washing machine and other common household appliances more efficiently.

 Around the house – 
energy efficiency tips

Learn how you can lower your energy costs by simply making a few adjustments to your appliances and other energy users around your house.

    • Choose "sleep" over "screen save." While effective in preserving your computer monitor, screen savers require the same amount of energy as when you use the computer.
    • Let it hibernate. Set up your computer to go into "standby" mode after 15 minutes of nonuse and let it hibernate or sleep after 45 minutes of nonuse. These energy-saving modes reduce your computer's electric usage down to just a few watts.
    • Switch it off. The monitor consumes over half of the energy used by a computer. Turn off your monitor when it is not in use.
    • Trim down and downsize. Laptops use 10% or less of the electricity consumed by typical desktop computers. Flat panel monitors use less energy than standard monitors.
    • Think before you print. Printing can be very energy-intensive. Edit documents on-screen and use print preview to reduce the number of drafts you actually print.
    • Recycle and reuse. It takes approximately seven times more energy to produce a piece of paper than to print on it. Reduce the energy consumed in paper manufacturing by choosing recycled paper options, printing on both sides and reusing paper printed on one side.
    • Press "send" instead of stamping it. When possible, opt for emails and digital files over regular mail, fax machines or copiers.
    • Don't take cover. Avoid using cover sheets when faxing. Instead, use stick-on fax labels to send transmission details.
    • Choose the right size burner for your pot. Using a small pot on a large burner wastes energy and adds unnecessary heat to the kitchen.
    • Open the oven door as little as possible. Your oven loses 25 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit each time you open the door. This makes it work harder to maintain its temperature.
    • Cover pans for faster cooking. This can reduce cooking times, as well as the amount of heat needed.
    • Turn off the stove or burner a few minutes early. Electric stovetops and ovens — as well as many newer gas burners — stay hot for many minutes after you turn them off.
    • Use smaller appliances for smaller portions. Crockpots, toaster ovens and electric skillets can cook food just as fast but require one-third less energy.
    • Use a microwave. A microwave oven cooks food up to six times faster and draws one-third the electricity. It can also help keep your kitchen cool on hot summer days.
    • Bake in glass or ceramic dishes. You can lower your oven temperature by 25 degrees Fahrenheit and your food will cook just as quickly
    • Cook with aluminum or copper bottom pans for even heat conduction. Pans with straight sides and flat bottoms reduce cooking time and heat loss.
    • Preheat ovens only when necessary. Unless you’re baking breads or pastries, you may not need to preheat the oven at all.
    • Keep range-top burners and reflectors clean. They will reflect the heat better and save energy.
    • Set your thermostats. The recommended temperatures are 37 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit for your refrigerator and zero degrees for the freezer section.
    • Keep it cool. Position your refrigerator away from a heat source such as an oven, a dishwasher or direct sunlight from a window.
    • Defrost regularly. Manual and partial automatic defrost refrigerators and freezers should be defrosted at least twice a year or when the ice is more than a quarter of an inch.
    • Check your door seals. Make sure the refrigerator and freezer doors close tightly.
    • Pack it up. A full freezer performs better than a nearly empty freezer.
    • Cover liquids and wrap foods. Uncovered foods release moisture and force your appliance's compressor to work harder.
    • Avoid putting hot foods directly into the refrigerator or freezer. Let them cool to room temperature first.
    • Whenever possible, choose an energy-saving cycle. Use the air dry or overnight dry setting.
    • Run the dishwasher only when it is full. In the summer, run the dishwasher during cool parts of the day, such as early morning and late evening.
    • Do not pre-rinse dirty dishes. Soak or pre-wash dishes only in situations that involve burned or dried-on food.
    • Do not use the rinse hold setting for just a few soiled dishes. This feature uses 3 to 7 gallons of water each time.
    • Wash your clothes in cold water using cold-water detergents. Laundry detergent — not the water temperature — whitens your clothes.
    • Clean the lint filter after every dryer load. Clothes will dry faster and you will save energy.
    • Wash full laundry loads rather than multiple small loads. You'll save water, detergent and energy.
    • Don't add wet items to a load that is partially dry. It will require more energy to properly dry everything.
    • Don't over-dry clothes. Removing clothes from the dryer before they begin to wrinkle can eliminate ironing and save energy.
    • Make sure the dryer is properly vented. Inspect the outside vent opening to be sure it is clear of lint and that the damper will close when the dryer is off.
    • Have a professional inspect your dryer vent pipe. Lint can accumulate in these pipes and reduce airflow.
    • Repair leaky faucets. A faucet that leaks a single drop of hot water each second can waste up to 200 gallons of hot water per month — as well as the energy used to heat it.
    • Insulate your water heater and pipes. Non-insulated hot water pipes reduce water heat by 2 to 4 degrees, causing your hot water heater to work harder and use more energy.
    • Install a low-flow showerhead. Low-flow showerheads typically use 0.8 to 1.5 gallons per minute. At 1.5 gallons per minute, a 10-minute shower uses 15 gallons. On average, a bath uses 15 to 25 gallons of water.
    • Turn the faucet off. Don't let hot or warm water run continuously when performing activities such as washing dishes or shaving your face.
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