easy home energy saving tips
Of course, you want your home to be cool and comfortable during the dog days of summer, and toasty during winter's chilly days. But you also want to keep your energy bills under control, too.
While you can't do much about the weather outside, you can control the amount of energy you home is using.
And there's power and cold cash to be saved in coming clear on your home's major systems and appliances.
While owners' manuals provide the most information on maintaining appliances and heating and cooling systems, this list will show you how a little cleaning time can save you a (mildly) shocking amount of energy and money.
home energy saving tips for the refrigerator
To keep the fridge chilling nicely and efficiently, try these home energy saving tips:
- Clean the coils every three months or so. Accumulated dust and lint can reduce cooling performance - which translates to higher energy usage. Remove the toe grille and vacuum the coils underneath with the hose nozzle; roll away from the wall to clean the coils behind.
- Regularly pull the refrigerator away from the wall and vacuum or sweep away lingering lint, dust and stray crumbs.
- Regularly defrost manual-defrost units; don't allow frost to build up more than 1/4 inch thick. The harder your refrigerator has to work to keep food chilled, the more energy is required.
heating and cooling systems
Regular maintenance, whether by you or a professional, is essential to keeping these systems running at peak performance. After all, a clean, lubricated, properly adjusted furnace can save you up to 5 percent of heating costs. So don't skimp on a service call and month maintenance.
- Vacuum heating vents and ducts (including toe-kick floor heaters) regularly to keep air circulating freely and to save energy.
- Clean or replace filters as needed. Forced-air heating system filters should be replaced monthly during the heating season, unless they are metallic-mesh electrostatic filters, in which case they should be cleaned.
- Oil-fired boilers should be professionally cleaned and tuned once a year.
- Gas-fired heating systems need to be checked every other year.
home energy saving tips for the laundry room
Here are some tips designed to save energy and cash without sacrificing clean shirts and socks:
the washing machine
- Set the water heater thermostat at 120 degrees F. Each 10-degree reduction will cut the cost of washing clothes by up to 13 percent.
- Wash most clothes in warm or cold water - and always select cold for the rinse. (Detergent and bleach work best in warmer water - but any temperature will wash away suds.)
- Use hot water only if it is absolutely necessary to kill germs. Switching the washer temperature setting from hot to warm could reduce a load's energy use in half.
- Read the laundry detergent directions - use only the amount recommended. Oversudsing makes your machine work harder.
- Select settings carefully. Delicate clothes don't need as long a wash cycle as the children's dirty play clothes. Over-washing clothes is an energy and cash drain, and also makes clothes wear out faster.
- Presoak or use the soak cycle when washing heavily soiled garments. You'll avoid two washings and save energy.
the clothes dryer
- Make sure your dryer is vented properly vented. If you vent the exhaust outside, use the straightest and shortest metal duct available. Skip the flexible vinyl duct - it restricts air flow, is easily crushed and may not withstand high temperatures from the dryer.
- Check the outside dryer exhaust vent periodically to see that it closes tightly. If not, replace it.
- Clean the lint filter after every load.
- Dry only full loads, as small loads waste energy. Separate clothes and dry similar types together. Lightweight synthetics, for example, dry much more quickly than bath towels and cotton robes.
- Dry in batches (two or more loads in a row) to take advantage of the already warm dryer drum.
final home energy saving tips
- Keep heat-producing appliances (like washers, dryers, and refrigerators) away from your thermostat - the hot air will make your cooling system work harder.
- Check and clean the dishwasher drain as necessary. Solid food waste can build up over the dishwasher drain.