Saving Tips

A two drawer DishDrawer dishwasher.

Image via Wikipedia

Refresh your air filter

When it comes to improving the energy efficiency of your heating and cooling system, replacing a dirty air filter is probably the simplest, most inexpensive and most often overlooked maintenance job there is.

Air filters don’t just keep the air fresh. They save you money on your energy purchases by making it easier for the system to work and improving the system’s performance. Clean filters also prolong the useful life of your heating and cooling equipment by keeping dirt and dust off diffusers and coils and out of fans and motors.

Most air filters are disposable, although an electrostatic filter can be cleaned with water. Either way, air filters should be replaced or cleaned once a month. If you have a difficult time keeping up with the monthly routine, get in the habit of checking your air filter each month.

Adjusting your thermostat

  • Set the thermostat and then forget it. If you change the temperature often during the day, you are more likely to waste energy.
  • During the summer, try setting the thermostat at 78° or above. If you have a ceiling fan, you may be able to raise the temperature to 80° or higher.
  • In the winter, try setting the thermostat at 68° or below.

Use efficient heating & cooling equipment

Even the best insulated home will waste energy unless special attention is given to the efficiency of its mechanical equipment. Have your equipment checked by a qualified dealer each year before the heating or cooling season begins.

When you are faced with continuing major repairs of your equipment, inevitably the question comes up: Should I continue to repair my existing equipment or buy new equipment? If your equipment is more than 15 years old, replacement may be your best option. Today’s energy-efficient equipment can save enough in operating costs to make up quickly for the initial expense. Consider a heat pump, the most advanced and efficient heating and cooling system available today.

Be a Fan of the Fan

Fans can also be used in conjunction with air conditioning to help reduce energy costs. The “wind chill” effect allows the air conditioner thermostat to be set slightly higher while maintaining the same degree of comfort for room occupants. For example, you can adjust the setting on your thermostat from 78° to 80° F and still keep the occupants comfortable. This increase of 2° F can result in a reduction of up to 10% in air conditioning energy use, and the cost of running the ceiling fan is minimal.

Most ceiling fans are also designed to be reversible for winter operation. In this mode, room air is pulled from floor level, circulated through the warmer air near the ceiling, and directed back down toward the floor level. This mode of operation allows the warmer ceiling air to be directed downward without blowing directly on the occupants.

Using Hot Water Wisely

Your water heater is the second-largest energy user in your home. By insulating your electric water heater and using hot water efficiently, you will save energy and money each month.

Insulating your electric water heater

  • Insulate your electric water heater with one of several insulating blankets on the market. The blankets generally have an R-value of 4.5 and fit easily around the tank. You can also use paper-backed or foil-backed fiberglass batts. These batts are sold in a variety of thicknesses and are available at most building supply stores.
  • Increase the insulation around your electric water heater to decrease heat lost to the surrounding air. The thicker the insulation you use, the more energy you will save.

Cutting hot water consumption

One of the most efficient ways to lower water heating costs is to use less hot water. Here are some energy-saving tips to curtail your hot water consumption:

A Menu of Savings in the Kitchen

Because it contains many large and small appliances that are used daily, the kitchen is a good place to manage energy.

Your dishwasher

Dishwashers use an average of 15 gallons of hot water per load plus electricity needed to operate the machine. Washing and rinsing dishes by hand three times a day uses more hot water and energy than one load a day in an automatic dishwasher. Here are some tips for operating your dishwasher efficiently:

Choosing a new refrigerator or freezer

Here are some useful energy features and tips to consider when buying a new refrigerator or freezer:

Making sure your refrigeration appliance operates efficiently

Cook up some energy savings

Oven cooking is more economical than surface cooking. When you have both a large and a small oven, use the small one whenever possible. Use these tips for efficient oven cooking:

Cooking on the range uses energy continuously so its important to follow these energy-saving tips:

Saving Energy in the Laundry Room

Washer wisdom

  • Knowing what water temperature to use is key to saving energy while doing the wash. Cold water cleans many fabrics and soils just as well as warm water. Heavily soiled fabrics may require hot water.
  • Don’t use too much soap. Oversudsing makes your washer work harder and may require a second wash to remove excess soap. Avoid a second wash by using a presoak product on heavily soiled fabrics.
  • Try to wash full loads whenever possible. It takes as much energy to wash a single item as it takes to wash a full load.

Energy-saving ideas for your dryer

Producing the high temperature air in the dryer is the major energy demand of automatic dryers. Never use more heat than you need, and remember that excessive heat can damage some fabrics.

No-waste Lighting

Making it a habit to turn off lights that are not being used is a good way to avoid wasted energy. Here are some more energy-saving tips for lighting:

Easy Energy-saving Projects

When temperatures start to moderate, it may be a good time to tackle some of the easier, more inexpensive energy-saving projects around the house. In many homes, adding or increasing attic insulation and sealing air leaks around windows and doors is a great way to increase your home’s energy efficiency and comfort level.

Most local building supply stores stock a variety of insulation, caulking and weather-stripping products. And it really is amazing how these little energy-efficiency upgrades can add up to big energy savings.

Attic insulation

Most older homes don’t have enough insulation — but insulation can be added to any home. Insulating an attic is usually a “do-it-yourself” project that reaps big energy rewards.  Increasing attic insulation can save up to 30 percent on your heating and cooling costs.


Caulking should be applied wherever two different materials or parts of the house meet. It is available in a variety of forms. Select the caulk best-suited for the part of the house you are improving.




One response to “Saving Tips

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