DIY Savings Tips

How to live an energy-efficient life at home.

Those chores you do every day? The dishes. The laundry. The cooking. They all help determine the amount of your energy bill. Here's some tips to help manage your usage usage.

  • Stagger pans on upper and lower oven racks. The improved air flow allows food to cook more quickly and efficiently because air can circulate freely.
  • Use glass or ceramic pans in ovens. Then you can turn down the temperature about 25 degrees and foods will cook just as quickly.
  • Use a timer. Don't open the oven door frequently to check the food, because each time you do the oven temperature drops by 25 degrees.
  • Run only a full dishwasher on the automatic energy-savings cool-dry cycle. If it doesn't have this feature, turn it off after the final rinse and let the dishes air dry.
  • Refrigerator/freezer:
    • Keep your refrigerator closed while deciding what to eat. Each time you open the fridge door, the compressor has to run for eight to ten minutes to keep the cold inside.
    • Set the temperature in your refrigerator between 37 degrees and 40 degrees.
    • Keep your freezer section at 5 degrees. If you have a separate freezer for longer-term storage, it should be kept at zero degrees.
    • Vacuum your refrigerator's coils, located on the back or underneath your appliance. Regular cleaning can improve your refrigerators efficiency up to 15% or more.

Download our Energy Savings Guide to learn more.

  • Turn your air-conditioning off in summer. Use box fans to keep cool.
  • If you do use air-conditioning:
    • Increase the setting on your thermostat. This is the best way to save the greatest amount of energy in the summer.
    • Programmable thermostats can be used to adjust temperature settings several times per day on a preset schedule.
    • Set your thermostat as high as you can and still maintain comfort.
  • Keep drapes and blinds closed during the day. Block out heat from the sun.
  • Use heat producing appliances such as dishwashers, ovens, ranges, and dryers after 7:00 p.m., if possible.
  • Remove, clean and store window air conditioning units when possible; otherwise they will be conduits for cold air.
  • Use your outdoor BBQ instead of cooking on your range.
  • Be sure your attic, walls, and crawlspaces are adequately insulated.
  • Use small electric appliances or a microwave for cooking instead of your stove or oven.
  • Landscape with shade trees or vines or install awnings on south-facing windows to reduce heat from the outside.
  • Ceiling and other fans:
    • Fans can provide additional cooling and better circulation so you can raise the thermostat and cut down on air conditioning costs.
    • Look for ENERGY STAR® certified ceiling fans that can do an even better job, moving air up to 20% more efficiently than conventional models.
    • Most fans have a switch to change the fan direction. Make sure ceiling fans are blowing downward (in a counterclockwise direction) to send air past your body.
  • Set your thermostat no higher than 68 degrees. Lower it an extra five degrees at night or when leaving your home for an hour or more.
  • Let natural sunlight into your home. Open window coverings on south-facing windows. Keep window coverings closed in rooms that receive no direct sunlight to insulate from cold window drafts. At night, close window coverings to retain heat.
  • Clean or replace your furnace filters monthly. During non-winter months, every three months is sufficient.
  • Install a programmable thermostat. Adjust temperature settings according to a preset schedule.
  • Find and plug draft leaks. Seal leaks next to moving parts (between a door and its frame) with weather stripping. Fill leaks between non-moving parts (a window frame and wall) with caulking. Seal light switches and sockets with high-density foam gaskets. Consider having drafty windows replaced.
  • Check your fireplace. Make sure it's properly vented. Your fireplace will draw heated air from inside your house if there isn't a proper amount of outside air for combustion.
  • Put in a ceiling fan with an option to reverse the air flow. Set the direction the motor turns so you can blow the warm air back down into the living space.
  • Set the temperature on your hot water tank to 120 degrees. Extremely hot water can lead to higher energy costs and even scalding accidents.
  • Check your hot tub cover for escaping steam. Insulation blankets help keep the tub toasty.
  • Keep showers short and use low-flow shower heads. A short shower uses less hot water than a bath.
  • Fix leaky faucets. A small drip can be the equivalent of wasting a bath tub full of hot water each month.
  • Insulate water pipes. It's easy and will prevent hot water in the pipes from cooling too quickly.
  • Wash laundry in cold water. In top-load models, about 90 percent of the cost per load is to heat the water.
  • Do laundry after 7:00 p.m. This reduces unwanted heat and humidity in your home.
  • Dry clothes outside on a line. Less heat from a dryer for less energy usage.
  • Wash only full loads in your washing machine. Adjust the water level as needed.
  • Clean the lint filter in your dryer after every load.