North Carolina Change Location

Home Appliance Tips

The tips below can help you save money and extend the life of your household appliances. Review our Appliance FAQs and Appliance Calculator for more information.

Show / Hide All

Water Heater

  • Repair leaky faucets promptly. 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.
  • Wrap your water heater and pipes with insulation. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure safety.
  • Install a low-flow shower head and take showers rather than baths. Low-flow shower heads will typically use from 0.8 to 1.5 gallons per minute. At 1.5 gallons per minute and a 10 minute shower, 15 gallons of water are used. That’s compared to a bath that uses 15 to 25 gallons of water.
  • Don't let the hot water run continuously when you wash dishes or shave.

Washer/Dryer

  • Wash your clothes in cold water using cold water detergents whenever possible. Laundry detergents -- not the water temperature -- whiten 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 washing multiple small loads. You'll save water, detergent and energy.
  • Don't add wet items to a near-dry load.
  • 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 the damper will close when the dryer is off.
  • Have a professional inspect the dryer vent pipe. Lint can accumulate in these pipes and reduce airflow.

Dishwasher

  • Operate your dishwasher with a full load and select an energy-saving cycle whenever possible. Use the “air dry” or “overnight dry” setting.
  • In the summer, use the dishwasher in the cooler parts of the day, such as the early morning and late evening hours. Don’t pre-rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher.
  • Don’t use “rinse hold” on you machine for just a few soiled dishes. It uses 3 to 7 gallons of water each time.

Oven/Range

  • Cook with the right size pot on the right size burner. Energy is lost up the sides of a small pot on a large burner 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, making it work harder to maintain its temperature.
  • Cover pans to reduce the cooking time and amount of heat needed.
  • If you cook with electricity, turn the stovetop burners and oven off several minutes before the allotted cooking time.
  • Use smaller appliances such as crock pots, toaster ovens and electric skillets whenever possible to save energy.
  • Try to do most of your cooking in the microwave or on top of the range instead of in the oven.
  • You can lower your oven temperature by 25 degrees Fahrenheit when baking with glass or ceramic dishes.
  • 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 burner and reflectors clean; they will reflect the heat better and save energy.

Refrigerator/Freezer

  • Don’t keep your refrigerator or freezer too cold. Recommended temperatures are 37 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit for the fresh food compartment and 0 degrees for the freezer section.
  • Place your refrigerator and freezer away from heat sources.
  • Keep refrigerator motor and coils clean and unobstructed.
  • Defrost freezers when the build up of ice is more than a quarter of an inch.
  • A full freezer will perform better than a nearly empty freezer.
  • Cover liquids and wrap foods stored in the refrigerator. Uncovered foods release moisture and make the compressor work harder.
  • Make sure the refrigerator and freezer doors close tightly.
  • Avoid putting hot foods directly into the refrigerator or freezer. Let them cool to room temperature first.

Computer & Other Home Office Equipment

  • In your computer’s Power Options, set up your PC to go into standby mode after 15 minutes of non use and set it to hibernate or sleep after 45 minutes of non use. These energy saving modes cut your PC's electric usage down to just a few watts.
  • Screen savers, while effective in preserving the monitor, use the same amount of energy as when you are using the computer. 
  • Turn off your monitor when it is not in use. The monitor consumes over half of the energy used by a computer.
  • Flat panel monitors use less energy than standard monitors.
  • Printing can be the most energy-intensive step, so print only pages you need. Edit documents on-screen and use print preview to reduce the number of drafts you actually print.
  • Use electronic mail instead of fax machines or copiers whenever possible.
  • Laptops use 10 percent or less of the electricity consumed by typical desktop computers.
  • Copiers use more energy than any other type of office equipment. If you need only a couple of copies, use your printer or fax machine instead.
  • Use double-sided copying whenever possible.
  • Try to avoid using cover sheets when faxing. Stick-on fax labels can be used on the front page with transmission details. Check with your manufacturer to make sure the labels are compatible with your fax machine.
  • It takes approximately seven times more energy to produce a piece of paper than to print on it. You can help reduce the energy consumed in paper manufacturing by using recycled paper, double-sided copying, or reusing paper printed on one side.