Managing Home Energy Costs
No Cost Energy savings tips
- Turn down the thermostat. Set your thermostat to 68 degrees or lower to heat your home. Each degree that you lower the thermostat can reduce your heating costs by as much as three percent. Dress for the season, and use sweaters and extra blankets when it's cool outside.
- Heat only when home and awake. If you have resistance heat such as ceiling heat, wall heaters, or baseboards, turn down the thermostat before you go to bed at night and when you are away from home. You will significantly reduce your electric use by heating your home for only eight to 10 hours per day instead of 24.
- Use zonal heat efficiently. Only heat rooms in use if you have baseboard, ceiling or wall heat.
- Seal drafts. Keep doors and windows closed and block all gaps, cracks and openings to the outdoors. Keep woodstove and fireplace dampers and fireplace doors closed when not in use.
- Clean heat sources. Clean furnace filters regularly during the heating season and follow manufacturers' recommendations for replacing filters. Forced-air furnace filters trap dirt and dust, clean the air you breathe, and help the furnace operate more safely and efficiently.
- Maximize warm air flow. Make sure that furniture and window coverings are not blocking the flow of heat.
- Get to know your meter. Learn how to read your meter so that you can troubleshoot before receiving an expensive bill. During the heating season, check your meter (typically located on an exterior wall of your home) twice each month. Compare your current usage to previous years' usage to identify potential problems.
- Reduce hot water use. Heating water is the second largest use of energy in the average home. Lower the temperature of your water heater to 120 degrees. Run the clothes washer only when full, and wash in cold water whenever possible. Do household cleaning with cold water, if possible.
- Turn off lights. Turn off unnecessary lights and use light emitting diodes (LEDs) that are energy efficient. Clean bulbs occasionally so the light isn't blocked by a layer of dust. Use task lighting; if you only need light in one corner of a room, only light that corner and not the entire room.
- Turn off electronics. Turn off power to computers, TVs and all electronic devices when not in use to avoid wasting standby power, which can account for as much as 10 percent of home energy use. Plug multiple devices into a power strip with a surge protector so you can turn them all off with the flip of one switch, while also protecting them from damage.
- Use water wisely. Turn water off when not in use, such as while brushing teeth and shaving. Make sure the dishwasher is full before you run it, and use the energy-saver mode and/or air-dry setting. When washing dishes in the sink, fill the sink with only as much water as you need and plug it with a stopper instead of letting the water run constantly. Use the pre-soak cycle for heavily soiled loads to avoid two clothes washings.
- Increase your refrigerator's efficiency. Refrigerators and freezers run more efficiently when full; try using water jugs to take up space. Set the refrigerator temperature to 35 to 40 degrees and the freezer temperature to zero to 10 degrees. Unplug units and vacuum the coils under or behind the cabinet twice yearly to allow the motor/compressor to run less often and for shorter periods of time. Clean door gaskets occasionally to ensure a tight leak-proof seal. Eliminate a second refrigerator or freezer, especially if it is an older model.
- Keep your home cool. Keep windows and doors closed during the hot part of the day and open the windows at night. Open multiple windows to increase cross ventilation and provide a cooling draft. If you choose to keep your windows open at night, even if you are home, take precautions to ensure your safety. On hot days, avoid using the stove and indoor clothes dryer. Try to use an outdoor grill or microwave oven for cooking, and dry clothes on a line or use the dryer at night. Use a fan instead of air conditioning. People tend to feel cooler when air around them is moving.
Energy Efficiency Links: