10 things to start doing today
- Change or clean your furnace filter once a month. Dust and dirt can quickly clog vital parts, making your furnace run harder and eventually break down.
- Test your water heater temperature with an inexpensive digital thermometer from a hardware store. Then, if needed, adjust your water heater temperature up or down, wait a few hours and test it again. The correct temperature will save energy, prevent scalding and keep unhealthy bacteria from growing.
- Use smaller kitchen appliances whenever possible. Microwaves, toaster ovens and slow-cookers can use 75 percent less energy than a large electric oven.
- Vacuum the refrigerator coils about twice a year to keep the compressor running efficiently.
- Run the dishwasher only with full loads, and use the air-dry cycle. If your dishwasher has a "booster" water heater, use it; this will heat the water to the 140 degrees recommended by manufacturers, while maintaining an energy-saving 120 degrees on your primary water heater.
- When washing clothes, use hot water only for very dirty loads, and always use cold water for the rinse cycle.
- Clean the lint screen on the dryer every time you use the machine. A clogged lint screen can make your dryer use up to 30 percent more energy - and it can be a fire hazard.
- Dry one load of clothes immediately after another. This will minimize heat loss, reducing warm-up and drying times.
- Dust light fixtures regularly. A heavy coat of dust can block up to 50 percent of the light output.
- Unplug any electrical device that's not being used. Many appliances, especially computers, video game systems, televisions and DVD players draw power even when turned off.
How much can you save?
Install LED light bulbs in five of your most-used lighting fixtures.
Install an advanced learning thermostat and lower your energy bill by 8-10%.
Install weatherstripping and caulk around your window and door frames.
Recycle your second refrigerator, freezer or room air conditioner.
Wash your clothes in cold water instead of hot water.
Lower your thermostat by 3 degrees in the winter and raise it by 3 degrees in the summer.
Tune up your air conditioner in early spring and your furnace in early fall.