101 Low-Cost / No-Cost
Home Energy-Saving Measures
Your Touchstone Energy® Cooperative has compiled this list of low-cost / no-cost energy-saving measures to help you better manage your home's energy costs.
Top Ten | Lighting | Electronics | Kitchen
Water Heating | Laundry | Heating / AC
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Here are the top ten tips that any good energy saver should do first.
1. Replace any light bulb, especially ones that are on more than one hour per day, with a light-emitting diode (LED) bulb.
2. Close shades and drapes during the day to help keep heat out in summer.
3. Plug electronic devices such as cable boxes, printers and TVs into power strips to turn off during vacations or long periods without use.
4. Outside your home, caulk around all penetrations including telephone, electrical, cable, gas, water spigots, dryer vents, etc.
5. Change HVAC air filters monthly.
6. Use dishwasher's air-dry cycle instead of the heat-dry cycle to dry dishes.
7. Keep your garage door down. A warmer garage in the winter and cooler garage in the summer will save energy.
8. Set water heater temperature no higher than 120oF.
9. Make sure dryer vent hose is not kinked or clogged.
10. Ensure refrigerator door seals are tight.
Traditional lighting can amount to 11% of your monthly energy use. Energy saving light bulbs can slice lighting costs by 75%.
11. Replace outdoor lighting with its equivalent outdoor-rated LED bulb. LEDs work well in cold weather.
12. Use fixtures with electronic ballasts and T-8, 32 Watt fluorescent lamps.
13. Use outdoor security lights with a photocell and/or a motion sensor.
14. Turn off unnecessary lighting.
Other plug loads around the home can add up to be 8-15% of monthly energy use.
15. Turn computers and monitors off when not in use.
16. When buying a new computer, select an ENERGY STAR® model. Consider buying a laptop as it uses less energy than a comparable desktop.
17. Turn large-screen TVs off completely when not in use.
18. Check for energy saving settings on flat-panel TVs like automatic brightness control and a power saving sleep mode.
19. Request an ENERGY STAR® set-top box from cable or satellite provider.
20. Turn off stereos and radios when not in use.
21. Enable auto power down feature on gaming consoles.
22. If you don't unplug them, use energy-saving modes or automatic sleep functions on electronics.
23. Remember to turn off hair irons.
24. Make sure electric blankets are turned off in the morning.
25. Ensure all new appliances, electronics and lights are ENERGY STAR® labeled.
26. Turn off pool pumps and heaters when not needed.
27. Verify livestock water tank heaters are off when not needed.
28. Make sure heat tape is off when not needed.
29. Unplug battery chargers when not needed.
The kitchen can amount to 15-20% of your monthly energy use, which includes appliance use and refrigeration.
30. Turn off coffee makers when not in use.
31. Use refrigerator's anti-sweat feature only if necessary.
32. Switch your refrigerator's power-saver to "ON," if available.
33. Clean refrigerator coils annually.
34. If not frost-free, regularly defrost refrigerator or freezer to avoid ice buildup.
35. Set the refrigerator temperature to 34º - 37ºF and freezer temperature to 0º - 5ºF.
36. Unplug unused refrigerators or freezers. Recycle them if you do not need them.
37. Use microwave for cooking when possible.
38. When cooking on the oven range, use pot lids to help food cook faster.
39. If you are heating water on the stove, use hot tap water instead of cold.
40. Remember to use the kitchen exhaust fan when cooking. Turn it off after cooking.
41. Use a slow-cooker instead of simmering foods on the stove.
42. If rinsing dirty dishes before putting them into the dishwasher, do so with cold water.
43. Use cold water for garbage disposal.
44. Only run dishwasher when fully loaded.
Water Heating can amount to 12% of your annual energy use.
45. For households with 1 or 2 members, a 115ºF setting may work fine.
46. Install a water heater wrap, also known as a water heater blanket, per manufacturer's instructions.
47. Drain 1-2 gallons from bottom of water heater each year to reduce sediment build up.
48. Install heat traps on hot and cold water lines when it's time to replace your water heater.
49. Insulate exposed hot water lines.
50. Limit shower length to 5-7 minutes.
51. Install water saving shower heads.
52. Fix dripping faucets.
53. Don't let the water run while you are shaving or brushing your teeth.
Laundry can amount to 5-9% of your monthly energy use.
54. Wash clothes in cold water. Use hot water only for very dirty loads.
55. Only do full laundry loads.
56. If you must do smaller loads, adjust the water level in the washing machine to match the load size, especially when using hot water.
57. Always use cold-water rinse.
58. Use bath towels at least twice before washing them.
59. Clean dryer's lint trap before each load.
60. Make sure the dryer's outdoor exhaust door is not blocked or clogged.
61. Verify dryer vent hose is tightly connected to the inside wall fitting.
62. Check that the dryer vent hose is tightly connected to dryer.
63. Minimize clothes drying time by using an auto moisture sensor, if available.
64. Dry consecutive loads to harvest heat remaining in dryer from last load.
65. In hot weather, avoid running the dryer during the heat of the day.
66. Consider using a "solar-powered" clothes dryer: an old fashioned clothes line.
HEATING | A/C
Heating & Air Conditioning are usually the largest loads in a home and responsible for 40-50% of your annual energy spend.
67. Set thermostats to 78º F in summer, 68º F in winter.
68. Install a programmable thermostat to save even more.
69. Run ceiling paddle fans on medium, blowing down in summer and paddle fans on low, blowing up in winter.
70. Turn off ceiling fans when leaving the room. Fans cool people, not rooms.
71. When installing new air filters, make sure they are facing in the correct direction (look for arrow on side of filter).
72. When heating or cooling, keep windows shut and locked.
73. Insulate electric wall outlets and wall switches with foam pads.
74. Caulk along baseboards with a clear sealant.
75. Caulk around plumbing penetrations that come through walls beneath bathroom and kitchen sinks.
76. Caulk electrical wire penetrations at the top of the interior walls in the attic.
77. Close shades and drapes at night to keep heat in during the winter.
78. Make sure drapes and shades are open during the day to catch free solar heat in winter.
79. Ensure attic access door closes tightly and is insulated.
80. Make sure insulation in your attic does not block soffit vents.
81. Do not close off unused rooms that are conditioned by forced-air systems.
82. Do not close supply air registers.
83. Check to be sure return air grilles are not blocked by furniture or bookcases.
84. Ensure windows and doors are properly weather-stripped and use door sweeps.
85. Make sure outside soffit vents are not blocked.
86. Do not use roof-top power ventilators for attic exhaust as they may draw conditioned air from your home.
87. Have your HVAC system serviced once per year by a NATE-certified technician.
88. Monitor your home's relative humidity in the summer. If it consistently stays in the 60 percent range or higher, ask your HVAC technician about lowering your central air conditioning unit's indoor fan speed.
89. Ensure window A/C units are weather-stripped. Remove the unit in the winter and close and lock the window.
90. Remove and clean window A/C filter monthly.
91. Keep "fresh-air" vents on window A/C units closed.
92. Use heavy-duty, clear sheets of plastic sealed tightly on the inside of windows to reduce the amount of cold air entering your home during the winter.
93. Minimize use of electric space heaters, except for limited or temporary spot heating. Turn space heaters off when leaving the room.
94. Ensure your outdoor heat pump/air conditioning unit is kept clean and free of debris.
95. When using the fireplace, turn down your heating system thermostat.
96. When using the fireplace, open the outside air vent (if provided) or open the nearest window slightly.
97. Keep fireplace dampers closed unless a fire is burning.
98. Ensure floor registers are not blocked with rugs, drapes or furniture.
99. Caulk around storm windows and basement windows.
100. Turn off bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans 15 minutes after the job is complete or install 15-minute timers on bathroom ventilator fans.
101. Plant trees and shrubs to provide shade on the east, south and west sides of your home. Evergreen trees and shrubs can provide a windbreak on the north side.
Home energy use is different for everyone and hinges on several factors, including size of home, members in your household, your location and preferences. Knowing how your energy spend is divided will help you prioritize your energy saving habits. Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration. www.EIA.gov.