Year-Round Energy Saving Tips

There are a number of simple things you can do around the house to save money on energy costs all year-round.

  • Make sure your new electronic gadgets don’t suck your wallet dry! Many TVs, DVD players, cell phone chargers, power adapters, computers and other electronics use vampire power, or standby power, even when they’re turned off. Although individually these devices typically draw only a very small amount of power, together it adds up, especially when left plugged in 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To combat these energy vampires and reduce your consumption, unplug the appliances when not in use. Using a surge protector with multiple sockets will allow you to turn off multiple devices with one switch.

  • Replacing battery powered devices, such as cordless phones or rechargeable razors, with corded alternatives also cuts down on the standby power required to charge the battery and reduces energy lost in battery charging.

  • Heating and air conditioning your home accounts for more than 50 percent of your electric bill. To keep cool during summer's heat, set your air conditioning thermostat at 78 degrees. When you leave your house, turn it up a few notches to 85 degrees or higher. In the winter, set your thermostat at 68 degrees and turn it down on your way out.

  • Installing ceiling fans throughout your home will help you stay comfortably cool. With the constant air flow, you can turn your thermostat up a few notches without feeling much difference. Be sure to turn fans off in unoccupied areas.

  • Close those curtains! Or mini-blinds, or shutters—and you'll keep the summer's heat out. During winter months, open your shades again and let in the warm sunshine. For extra shade, plant plenty of trees and shrubs near the house (but AWAY from power lines!)

  • Looking for a snack? Try to figure out what you want before you head for the fridge. Frequently opening and closing the refrigerator door can waste energy and increase your electric bill. For extra energy savings, clean the condenser coils behind or underneath the refrigerator every six months.

  • Change or clean heating and air-conditioning filters every 1-3 months. Dirty filters put an unnecessary strain on the unit and can increase operating costs.

  • Check air handler and ductwork for leaks and weather-strip or caulk around windows, doors, plumbing and other gaps so that heating and cooling energy won't escape. Check for water leaks, too.

  • Run your clothes or dishwasher only when you have accumulated a full load. You'll save on the electricity that heats the water and runs the appliances. Also, wash your clothes in cold water and be sure to clean the dryer lint filter after every load.

  • Water your lawn before 10:00 a.m. during warmer months. This saves water from evaporation. Don't overwater and avoid watering the street and sidewalk by aiming your sprinkler away.

  • Try replacing incandescent lights with fluorescent. Fluorescents give you the same light output, but for one-third to one-half the cost. They also produce less heat for your air conditioner to cool.