Low and No Cost Household Energy Savings Tips
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average U.S. consumer spends more than $3,477 a year (or 7% of their total income) on home utilities. The good news is there is a lot you can do to save energy and money at home simply by following some basic energy conservation tips that cost little or no money. Energy-efficient improvements not only make your home more comfortable and help our environment, they can yield long-term financial rewards. Here are some suggestions for no-cost, and low-cost actions you can take today for energy savings.
No-Cost Ways to Conserve Energy
- Lower the thermostat on your hot water heater to 120 degrees. About 15 percent of an average home energy bill goes to heating water.
- Fix leaky faucets: thirty drips a minute of hot water wastes 50 gallons of water a month.
- Don't run water continuously for rinsing dishes, shaving, tooth brushing, etc.
- Take shorter showers, 5 minutes or less. For baths, keep water levels below three inches.
- Dryer - Clean the lint filter after every load. Be sure the vent hose isn't clogged.
- Washing machine - Always wash a full load - if you must, use a half load or economy program if available. Always use the low temperature setting; with modern detergents this will be just as effective.
- Air Conditioning - Clean or replace air filters as needed. Dirty filters block air flow through your heating and cooling systems, increasing your energy bill and shortening the equipment life.
- Heater - Set the thermostat back as low as you can while allowing the temperature to remain comfortable. Setting it back low enough to allow you to wear a sweater or layer your clothing could save even more money.
- Refrigerator - Vacuum coils behind or underneath refrigerator or freezer twice a year. Set the refrigerator to 38-40 degrees and stand-alone freezers to 0 degrees F.
- Stove - When cooking, keep the lids on pots (cooks food faster), and use only the minimum pot size you need. Use an electric skillet, microwave oven or toaster oven whenever possible in place of the oven or stove.
- Oven - Combine dishes or casseroles, cook multiple meals in the oven at one time. Preheat the oven only when baking bread and cakes.
- Dishwasher - Air dry your dishes rather than using the dishwasher's drying cycle and only run full loads.
General Household Items
- Turn off everything when not in use: lights, fans, television, stereo, computers, etc.
- Keep bulbs and fixtures clean. Dirty fixtures reduce light intensity by as much as 25 percent.
- Close the fireplace damper when not in use. Close fireplace or stove doors if installed to reduce heat loss through the chimney.
- Plug home electronics, such as TVs and DVD players, into power strips; turn the power strips off when the equipment is not in use. TVs and DVDs in standby mode still use several watts of power.
- In the summer, keep window coverings closed on the south, east, and west windows. In winter, let the sun in by day, close your curtains at dusk to stop heat escaping through the windows.
Low-Cost Ways to Conserve Energy
- Windows and Doors: Seal and weatherstrip your windows and doors to ensure that you're not wasting energy on heat or air conditioning that escapes through leaks to the outdoors.
- Water: Install low-flow showerheads, toilets, and sink aerators to reduce water use.
- Hot Water Heater: Buy and install a hot water tank insulation wrap or blanket. Add pre-cut pipe insulation to exposed pipes going into your water heaterit is also cheap, and easy to install.
- Appliances: Look for the ENERGYSTAR label on home appliances and products.
- Lights: Use dimmers, timers, and motion detectors on indoor and outdoor lighting. Replace light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs.
- Heater/AC Units: Install a programmable thermostat that is compatible with your heating and cooling system.
Every day you make choices that affect how much energy you use and pay for. These recommendations require only simple changes in how you use energy for hot water, appliances and lights and you can save money without too much sacrifice or discomfort. Besides putting money in your pocket, conservation of energy is good for the planet. With a little care from everyone, weŽll leave cleaner air, more fish in our rivers and more resources for future generations.