Tips to Reduce Your Home Energy Use
For most people, the heating system is the single largest energy user in their home. Home heating alone often accounts for more than 60% of your total energy bill.
- Set your thermostat as low as is comfortable in the winter and as high as is comfortable in the summer.*
- Clean or replace filters on furnaces once a month or as needed.*
- Clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators as needed; make sure they're not blocked by furniture, carpeting, or drapes.*
- Bleed trapped air from hot-water radiators once or twice a season; if in doubt about how to perform this task, call a professional.*
- During the heating season, keep the draperies and shades on your southfacing windows open during the day to allow the sunlight to enter your home and closed at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.*
- If you replace your heating system, consider purchasing ENERGY STAR® labeled equipment, properly sized and installed by a professional.
- Keep the warm air in by adding insulation, caulking and weather-stripping around doors, attic access, windows, outlets and any area that can let the warm air out. Attics are typically the easiest place to insulate and it’s also where you’ll see the greatest energy savings.
- If you have a fireplace, keep the damper tightly closed to prevent heated air from escaping up the chimney.
- If you have a window air conditioning unit, remove it for the winter months to prevent heat from escaping through and around the unit. If it can't be removed, buy a cover to prevent drafts.
- Ceiling fans can keep you comfortable in the winter too. Reversing the direction of the blades pushes warm air down in to the room.
- Installing a programmable thermostat is an inexpensive way to enjoy energy savings and maintain comfort automatically. You can program it to turn the heating system up and down at pre-set times.
- Place heat resistant reflectors between radiators and walls. In the winter, this will help heat the room instead of the wall.
- Make sure storm windows are down and secure.
Inefficient appliances often waste more energy–and money–than we realize. After home and water heating, your appliances are the next largest energy cost you have.
- Match the size of the pan to the heating element.
- Use small electric pans or toaster ovens for small meals rather than your large stove or oven. A toaster oven uses a third to half as much energy as a full-sized oven.*
- Use pressure cookers and microwave ovens whenever it is convenient to do so. They will save energy by significantly reducing cooking time.
- Dry 2 or more loads in a row.
- Clean the lint trap in your dryer.
- Don't keep your refrigerator or freezer too cold. Recommended temperatures are 37° to 40°F for the fresh food compartment of the refrigerator and 5°F for the freezer section. If you have a separate freezer for long-term storage, it should be kept at 0°F.*
- Regularly defrost manual-defrost refrigerators and freezers; frost buildup decreases the energy efficiency of the unit. Don't allow frost to build up more than one-quarter of an inch.*
- Make sure your refrigerator door seals are airtight. Test them by closing the door over a piece of paper or a dollar bill so it is half in and half out of the refrigerator. If you can pull the paper or bill out easily, the latch may need adjustment, the seal may need replacing, or you might consider buying a new unit.*
- Cover liquids and wrap foods stored in the refrigerator. Uncovered foods release moisture and make the compressor work harder.*
- In natural gas appliances, look for blue flames; yellow flames indicate the gas is burning inefficiently and an adjustment may be needed. Consult the manufacturer or your local utility.*
- Many home appliances, such as TVs and VCRs, use electricity even when they are turned off but still plugged in. Unplug these appliances when you are done using them. The average cost per household is around $20 per year.
- Look for the Energy Star label when purchasing new appliances. Appliances bearing the ENERGY STAR® label can use up to 50% less energy than comparable appliances.
- Lighting costs can account for 10 to 25 percent of the average home’s electricity costs. Turning lights off when you leave a room – even for 5 minutes – saves energy.
- Make sure your faucets are completely turned off. Hot water dripping from a faucet can cost you hundreds of dollars a year.
- Taking a bath uses much more water than an average length shower.
- Lower your water heater temperature to 120 degrees.
- Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible.
- Use a covered kettle or pan to boil water; it's faster and it uses less energy.*
For more tips from the Department of Energy's Energy Saver Tips page.